West Deptford runs to S.J. crown

Posted: May 25, 2014

Kevin Cianfarini turned his head to the right as he entered the final stretch of the 800-meter run Saturday at Buena.

The West Deptford senior looked back and didn't see any competition, but that wasn't what he was looking for.

He turned so he could see teammate Dale Johnson, who was the next-closest runner.

Cianfarini didn't look back again until after he crossed the finish line. He saw Johnson take second place and pumped his right fist, knowing then he could celebrate the victory.

Cianfarini and Johnson's one-two finish at the South Jersey Group 2 championships helped West Deptford earn its first sectional title in school history.

"He's mainly a mile, 3,200 guy," said Cianfarini, who won the 800 in 1 minute, 56.08 seconds. "When he can bust out a great 800 like that, it's awesome.

"It's a gratifying feeling. It's humbling, actually, that everyone else around you works as hard as you do."

Shai Mumford won the 200 in 21.72 seconds and Nick Pulli was discus champion (168 feet, 10 inches) for West Deptford.

A good Gess. Haddonfield freshman Briana Gess never ran the 3,200 before Saturday, but she gave it a shot when coach Jason Russo asked her to do it to help the team gain points.

She ran the first five laps side-by-side with teammate Shelby Cain. Then Gess, who already had won the 800 in the morning (2:13.56), pulled away to win the 3,200 in 11:06.10.

"I was just trying to pace Shelby to get a good time," Gess said.

Gess also won the 1,600 Friday in 4:58.72, and Haddonfield took the top two spots in the 800 and the top three in both the 1,600 and 3,200 en route to winning its fourth straight South Jersey Group 2 title.

"It's awesome to be able to turn around and see two of my teammates finish right behind me," Gess said. "It's incredible just how deep we are as a team."

Winslow still on top. Torie Robinson ran around the track holding the wooden sectional championship trophy in her right hand.

Robinson won the 200 dash earlier in 24.74 and finished second in the 100 hurdles to teammate Cidae'a Woods, who set a personal best and won the 100 hurdles (14.15) and the long jump (18-113/4), as Winslow Township won its second straight title.

"We know that we're a main target," said Woods, a University of Tennessee recruit. "We use that as motivation, as well as each other."

Standing tall. The Timber Creek boys scored in 16 of the 18 events Friday and Saturday to win South Jersey Group 3.

Timber Creek's Larry Russell won the triple jump (43-10) and Jamaad Muse took the 200 (21.58) and anchored a championship 4x400 relay team (3:20.13) Saturday.

"This becomes a focus for us every season," said Timber Creek coach Chris Grottini, who won his first sectional title since earning four straight from 2008 to 2011.

"It's a whole other group of kids from when we won our first one in '08. There's a tradition now in our building. Let's go out and see what we can do and that we can be among some of the best athletes in New Jersey, and they are."


ncarroll@phillynews.com

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