XC LADY CRUSADERS PREPARED FOR SECTIONALS
By Christina Babaro
Expectations are always high for Delsea Crusaders, and the girls cross country team is continuing to show off their full potential. They are currently ranked 8th in South Jersey, with a record of 5-1. Competing in SJ Group Three, the team lost their only dual meet to a very close race with Kingsway High School.
Summer training started up in the beginning of June; there was practice three days a week all the way through to September. The girls jumped right into conditioning and started adding on the miles with every practice. Coach Linda Marchese also incorporated plyo-metrics and lifting for strengthening. For additional workouts, the team practiced weekly at Gloucester County College’s course for hill training. The long summer practices have clearly been paying off.
Competing with a team of about twenty girls, this close knit group is under the leaders of Captain, Celine Mazzi, and seniors Sabrina Burrell and Christina Barbaro. The young team was fortunate to not lose any seniors last year. Top runners include senior Celine Mazzi, junior Danielle Hassinger and freshman Katie Raushcer. Celine Mazzi leads the pack, and took first place overall at the SJ Open, the GCC Open, and became the Tri-County champion, all in the past three weeks. “I feel like I worked hard to win both, but I was up against really talented girls” said Mazzi “so I was still a little surprised.” Delsea hosted the annual SJ Open meet on Saturday, October 12th, where the girls took second place behind Paul VI by just two points. At the GCC championships last Thursday held at Gloucester County College, Delsea placed third. Performances by the seven varsity runners have been showing quicker times with each race they run.
On October 30th, the Delsea girls competed in the Tri-County Open at Cumberland High School. The Crusaders were one of fifteen teams who raced from Gloucester, Camden, and Atlantic County. The girls came in second behind Kingsway by a mere three points. Celine Mazzi won the girls race, with a new personal record of 18:09.
The Crusader’s season is approaching an end, with only two races left, depending on how the team runs at sectionals. The girls are no longer increasing their mileage at practice, in preparation for the important races approaching quickly. “The girls have been improving with every meet” said Head Coach Linda Marchese. “Our goal is to tighten up our pack and for everyone to qualify for states.” Unlike other high school sports teams, for cross country, only five teams in each group can qualify to compete in the state competition. Come out and support the team at Sectionals on Saturday afternoon, November 9th at Delsea Regional High School!