Coming into this spring track and field season, Rumson-Fair Haven High School did not have very high expectations.
Rumson-Fair Haven’s girls’ team did not even expect to win dual meets, let alone championships.
The Bulldogs could not have been more wrong about themselves. Over the course of the spring, they have grown into one of the best track and field squads in New Jersey.
On May 31 and June 1 at Central Regional High School in Bayville, Rumson-Fair Haven won the NJSIAA Group 2 championship with a team score of 60. The Bulldogs dominated the field, too. Second-place Haddonfield Memorial High School finished with a team score of 39.
This came one week after the Bulldogs triumphed in the Central Jersey, Group 2 state sectional championship. On May 24 and 25 at Jackson Liberty High School, Rumson-Fair Haven racked up 95.5 team points, 9.5 more than runner-up Matawan Regional High School.
So the Rumson-Fair Haven squad is now associated with the best teams in central New Jersey and in the entire Garden State.
“As a team we have a lot of depth,” said Lily Orr, Rumson-Fair Haven’s junior sprinter.
Orr is spot on. The Bulldogs did not win any individual events at the state group championship. But they did take first in two relay events, the 4×100-meter relay and the 4×400-meter relay.
Senior Maddie Orr, senior Campbell Devlin, sophomore Marlee Dotts and freshman Chloe Dotts made up the 4×100-meter team, completing the race in 48.71. Maddie Orr, Lily Orr, Devlin and senior Olivia Rehder formed the 4×400-meter group, posting a final time of 3:55.57.
Altogether, six different runners contributed to Rumson-Fair Haven’s two first-place medals. Lily Orr, Rehder, Devlin and Rumson-Fair Haven’s 4×800-meter relay team also recorded top five finishes in the state group championship meet.
Lily Orr took second in the 100-meter dash and in the 400-meter dash. Devlin placed second in the 400-meter hurdles. The 4×800-meter relay squad, consisting of junior Eliana Swell, senior Alina Arko, senior Julia Tambaro and Rehder, earned a second place finish as well.
The victory was very much a team effort. Lily Orr thought it had everything to do with the Bulldogs’ attitude down the stretch run of the season.
“Everyone wants to finish as strong as they can,” she said. “No one’s trying to ease out of it.”
As the team’s top sprinter, Lily Orr gets a lot of attention when the Bulldogs succeed. But her older sister, Maddie Orr, was the standout at Central Regional. The senior led off two victorious relay efforts.
“Maddie has been doing it since her freshman year,” Lippart said.
Maddie Orr was also a big reason why Lily Orr chose to run spring track this year, instead of playing girls’ lacrosse, like she did as a freshman and sophomore. So Maddie Orr’s impact on this season has been immense in multiple ways.
“I was going to go for personal records,” Lily Orr said of her decision to run spring track. “I didn’t realize we’d do this well.”
“Maddie was a big influence,” Lippart added.