Kellner, WW-P South had CVC's best year

Like many younger siblings, Caroline Kellner looked up to her sister and wanted to follow in her footsteps while she was growing up.

I started running a little bit when I was in fourth grade, because my sister (Katie) and my dad would run around the neighborhood to practice for her middle-school cross country team, said Kellner, now a junior member of the West Windsor-Plainsboro South High girls' indoor track and field team.

Being the younger sister, I wanted to be just like my older sister.

Caroline has picked up right where Katie, an all-state runner now starring as a sophomore at Cornell, left off as she continued to carve out a great career of her own this past season, showing that success certainly runs in the family.

After a cross country season that saw her earn a berth to the Foot Locker National Championships, Kellner ripped off a number of impressive victories and fast times to lead the Pirates to their best season.

For her efforts, she is The Times' Colonial Valley Conference Performer of the Year.

At the NJSIAA Group III Championships, Kellner won the 3,200 in 10:53.62 and was second in the 1,600 in 5:07.43 to spark WW-P South to its first state title, 46-44 over Winslow Township.

Kellner also won the 1,600 in a meet-record 5:10.09 and the 3,200 in 11:14.76 when the Pirates captured the NJSIAA Group III Central Championship.

Kellner capped off her memorable campaign by placing third in the 3,200 in a Mercer County record 10:44.11 at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions. The old record of 10:45.38 was set in 2008 by Clare Buck of Hopewell Valley.

The highlight of my season was definitely winning the Group III team championship, Kellner said. From the start of the season, I never would have guessed that it would have happened, but everyone kept training hard and improving. Each week, we kept getting better and better and achieving our goals of being county and sectional team champions.

We have never won groups before, so it was extremely exciting, because it came down to the last relay race, and everyone really performed their best.

Kellner said she is very proud of breaking the Mercer County record.

I was really excited when I found out that I broke the Mercer County record, she said. I did not know what it was before the race, but afterwards my coach told me that he thought I broke it, and I was really surprised.

The time at Meet of Champs was only a second off my PR (outdoors), and I was very happy to run that time indoors. I know that Mercer County has had many good distance runners in the past from all over, and it is a great feeling to have the record.

All-Star teams selected by Jim Lambert.