For all those wondering why Mainland's Alyssa Aldridge hasn't raced yet this season, it's because she's been busy taking college road trips.
According to Mainland coach Dan Heyman, Aldridge, who last November became the 10th girl to win back-to-back cross-country Meet of Champions titles, has already taken official visits to Notre Dame and Michigan, and is visiting Georgetown this weekend. She's also been on unofficial visits to Brown and Harvard
When will Aldridge open her season? Heyman said her first race will be sometime in October. It could be the Shore Coaches Invitational on Oct. 7 at Holmdel Park depending on whether she takes a college visit that weekend.
Aldridge heads into her senior season with a great chance at becoming just the fourth girl to ever win three straight M of C titles. Monal Chokshi of Bridgewater-Raritan, the winner in 1989, '90, and '91, is the last girl to win three straight M of C titles.
At the Meet of Champions last November, Aldridge won her second straight title in 17:55, tied for No. 11 in Holmdel Park history, and won the race by 40 seconds. That's the largest margin of victory since Erin Donohue of Haddonfield won her second straight title by 46 seconds in 2000.
Then at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional at Van Cortlandt Park, Aldridge went wire-to-wire like she did at the M of C to win 17:40.3 to qualify for the FL National Championships for the second straight year. Aldridge became the first N.J. girl to win the FL NE title since Christi Constantin of Kittatinny in 1988, and her 17:40.3 makes her the third fastest N.J. girl in Van Cortlandt Park history. Only Janet Smith of J.P. Stevens (17:08.1 in 1983) and Michelle Rowen of Washington Township (17:28.7 in 1982) have run faster at Van Cortlandt than Aldridge.
Aldridge capped off her junior XC season by earning All-American honors at the FL Nationals in San Diego by placing 13th in 17:55.