The History of the Union County Cross-Country Championships

Boys Union County Rankings | Girls Union County Rankings

With the Union County Cross-Country Championships scheduled to celebrate its 80th anniversary on Wednesday at Warinanco Park in Elizabeth, I figured it would be good time to rewind the cross-country clock and give all of a history lesson about one of the oldest county meets in the state. 

Down below you will see a complete list of every team and individual Union County XC champion as well as the all-SUB-16 minute Warinanco club for the current 3.19-mile dual meet course. There sure are some legendary names that have come through this county.   

A big shout out and thanks goes out to Union County XC meet director Bill Kiimas for spending countless hours in the library digging through archives, microfilm, and dinosaur fossils to put this list together, and to NJ XC and track historian Ed Grant for his contributions.

One more thing before you go diving through this remarkable list of champions, this is a good place to mention that there are few people as passionate and knowledgeable as Klimas is about the sports of XC and track and field. 

Kilmas has done it all in this sport. For those don't know, Klimas was a great sprinter during his days at Roselle Catholic, coached the sport for several years, and is now a track and XC official as well as a meet director for several meets.

UNION COUNTY CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONS

BOYS

YEAR TEAM CHAMPION / INDIVIDUAL CHAMPION / WINNING TIME 

1938 JEFFERSON / NORMAN HOLTAWAY UNION 13:12.4
1939 JEFFERSON / HUGH SHORT HILLSIDE 13:26
1940 JEFFERSON / WALT MCGINLEY PLAINFIELD 13:23
1941 UNION / PARTINGTON UNION 14:02
1942 RAHWAY / PHIL THIGPEN RAHWAY 13:09.1
1943 UNION / TED BAUER UNION 14:30
1944 JEFFERSON / PHIL THIGPEN RAHWAY 13:26.6
1945 UNION / HAL WETZEL UNION 13:25.2
1946 PLAINFIELD / ED HOOS WESTFIELD 13:50.2
1947 PLAINFIELD / GORDON JEFFERSON 14:08.7
1948 WESTFIELD / BOB FREVERT CRANFORD 13:24.4
1949 PLAINFIELD / FRED VAN ECK PLAINFIELD 13:30.1
1950 JEFFERSON / FRED VAN ECK PLAINFIELD 13:28.8
1951 JEFFERSON / DON TOWNSEND JEFFERSON 13:27.5
1952 RAHWAY / TONY MOSKWA EDISON TECH 13:37.1
1953 JEFFERSON / GODFREY MATTHEWS ROSELLE 13:44.2
1954 JEFFERSON / FRED KREHBIEL UNION 13:38.5
1955 JEFFERSON / CURRAN CRANFORD 13:37.8
1956 JEFFERSON / LARRY ST. CLAIR JEFFERSON 13;05.9
1957 PLAINFIELD / STAN BLEJWAS HOLY TRINITY 13:15.1
1958 PLAINFIELD / BILL AUGUSTINE ROS. PARK 13:15.5
1959 PLAINFIELD / LENNY PHILLIPS RAHWAY 13:03.4
1960 PLAINFIELD / LENNY PHILLIPS RAHWAY 13:06.9
1961 HOLY TRINITY / DAVE COLEMAN WESTFIELD 12:49.2
1962 WESTFIELD / STEVE HARRIS SC. PLNS. 12:48.3
1963 WESTFIELD / STEVE HARRIS SC. PLNS. 12:36.3
1964 ROSELLE CATHOLIC / MIKE GARVEY ROSELLE CATH 12:29.9
1965 ROSELLE CATHOLIC / CHARLIE SCANELLA ROSELLE CATH 12:38
1966 ROSELLE CATHOLIC / GENE MAFFEY ROSELLE CATH. 12:34
1967 ROSELLE CATHOLIC / RICH STEIN ROSELLE 12:31
1968 ROSELLE CATHOLIC / ED BRENNAN ROSELLE CATH 12:35
1969 ROSELLE CATHOLIC / JOE SAVAGE ROSELLE CATH 12:37
1970 ROSELLE CATHOLIC / VINCE CARTIER SC. PLNS. 12:20
1971 WESTFIELD / TIM PROVOST SC. PLNS. 12:21
1972 ROSELLE CATHOLIC / JOHN ROSAS HILLSIDE 12:21
1973 ROSELLE CATHOLIC / SCOTT BUTTINGHAUSEN NEW PROV. 14:28.7
1974 CRANFORD / BOB AMITRANI CRANFORD 14:16
1975 WESTFIELD / BOB AMITRANI CRANFORD 14:27
1976 WESTFIELD / MIKE O'BRIEN WESTFIELD 14:36.5
1977 $-WESTFIELD / DAVE MILLER WESTFIELD 14:50
1978 WESTFIELD / GEORGE ABITANTE WESTFIELD 14:28
1979 WESTFIELD / CLIFF SHEEHAN WESTFIELD 16:31 (first year using Warinanco's 3.25-championship course) 
1980 WESTFIELD / CLIFF SHEEHAN WESTFIELD 15:50.9
1981 WESTFIELD / DAVE FITZGERALD WESTFIELD 16:47
1982 WESTFIELD / ANDY JACOB WESTFIELD 16:16
1983 CRANFORD / ANDY JACOB WESTFIELD 16:16
1984 WESTFIELD / HAL HAMILTON PLAINFIELD 16:48
1985 WESTFIELD / TIM YOCKEL WESTFIELD 16:43
1986 WESTFIELD / TIM YOCKEL WESTFIELD 16:51
1987 WESTFIELD / CRAIG RUSSELL WESTFIELD 16:58
1988 **ELIZABETH / DAN AVIS WESTFIELD 16:51 
1989 WESTFIELD / MIKE CLAVIN SC. PLNS. 16:30 (first year using 3.19-mile Warinanco dual meet course
1990 WESTFIELD / JEAN DESTINE ELIZABETH 16:20
1991 WESTFIELD / PETER CLAVIN SC. PLNS. 16:27
1992 WESTFIELD / ANTHONY DEBENEDICTIS ROS. PARK 16:41
1993 WESTFIELD / ANTHONY DEBENEDICTIS ROS. PARK 16:27
1994 WESTFIELD / ANTHONY DEBENEDICTIS ROS. PARK 15:58
1995 WESTFIELD / MATT ELMUCCIO WESTFIELD 16:16
1996 WESTFIELD / MATT ELMUCCIO WESTFIELD 16:36
1997 CRANFORD / GORDON KASLUSKY WESTFIELD 15:59
1998 CRANFORD / TIM STYLER CRANFORD 15:42 (current course record for 3.19-mile dual meet course)
1999 CRANFORD / FRANK DABROSKY CRANFORD 16:43
2000 CRANFORD / BOB WALLDEN SC. PLNS. 16:29
2001 CRANFORD / BOB WALLDEN SC. PLNS. 16:04
2002 CRANFORD / ED CLINTON CRANFORD 16:29
2003 CRANFORD / BRIAN KOPNICKI SC. PLNS. 16:27
2004 CRANFORD / JOE MCKENNEY CRANFORD 15:57
2005 WESTFIELD / JEFF PERRELLA WESTFIELD 15:59
2006 WESTFIELD / STEPHEN HANKINSON SUMMIT 16.06
2007 WESTFIELD / PAT DOLIBER SC. PLNS. 16:41.71
2008 SUMMIT / D.J.THORNTON UNION CATHOLIC 16:16.11
2009 WESTFIELD / D.J.THORNTON UNION CATHOLIC 16:34
2010 WESTFIELD / ANDREW KIRNA WESTFIELD 16:14
2011 WESTFIELD / JACK LEAHY WESTFIELD 15:50
2012 WESTFIELD / MATT LUPPINO WESTFIELD 16:06
2013 WESTFIELD / LELAND JONES SUMMIT 15:49
2014 SUMMIT / LELAND JONES SUMMIT 15:57.1
2015 WESTFIELD  / JORDAN PRICE, NEW PROVIDENCE 16:14.6
2016 WESTFIELD (record 34th team title)/ CHRIS HECKELMAN, SUMMIT, 15:53

SUB 16 CLUB

The following boys have broken 16 on the current 3.19-mile dual meet course, which has been used since 1989.

WARINANCO PARK'S SUB 16 LIST FOR THE 3.19-MILE DUAL MEET COURSE

15:42-Tim Styler, Cranford 1998
15:43-Jeff Perrella, Westfield, 2005
15:49,-Leland Jones, Summit, 2013
15:50-Jack Leahy, Westfield, 2011
15:53-Tim Styler, Cranford, 1998
15:53-Chris Heckelman, Summit, 2016
15:53-Nate Papachristos, Union Catholic, 2016 
15:57-Joe McKenney, Cranford, 2004
15:57-Leland Jones, Summit, 2014
15:58-Anthony DeBenedictis, Roselle Park, 1994
15:59-Gordon Kaslusky, Westfield, 1997 
15:59-Jeff Perrella, Westfield, 2005
15:59-Everett Price, New Providence, 2011

GIRLS UNION COUNTY CHAMPIONS

YEAR TEAM CHAMPION / INDIVIDUAL CHAMPION / WINNING TIME 

1977 PLAINFIELD / DORIAN ST. CLAIR, PLAINFIELD18:22 
1978 PLAINFIELD / DORIAN ST. CLAIR, PLAINFIELD, 18:00 
1979 PLAINFIELD / THERSA GSCHWIND ,SUMMIT, 18:39 
1980 CRANFORD / THERSA GSCHWIND  SUMMIT 18:25 
1981 PLAINFIELD / THERSA GSCHWIND  SUMMIT 18:10 
1982 PLAINFIELD / MICHELLE KRASKA UNION CATHOLIC 19:54 
1983 DAYTON / MARY PAT PARDUCCI DAYTON 20:08 
1984 PLAINFIELD / TRACY BIBER DAYTON 19:44 
1985 SUMMIT / TRACY BIBER DAYTON 19:19 
1986 SUMMIT / LORI CARPENTER NEW PROVIDENCE 20:04 
1987 SUMMIT / KATHLEEN CASTLES SUMMIT 20:29 
1988 WESTFIELD / LIZ PABST DAYTON 20:16 
1989 WESTFIELD / MAGGIE MORROW CRANFORD 20:43 
1990 SUMMIT / MAGGIE MORROW CRANFORD 19:43 
1991 WESTFIELD / AIMEE STOUT WESTFIELD 21:10 
1992 WESTFIELD / HAZEL CLARK, KENT PLACE 20:36 
1993 WESTFIELD / MARISSA DEFREESE RAHWAY 20:49 
1994 WESTFIELD / MARISSA DEFREESE RAHWAY 20:21 
1995 #WESTFIELD / SUZY KOZUB, WESTFIELD  20:27 
1996 #WESTFIELD / SUZY KOZUB, WESTFIELD  20:15
1997 WESTFIELD / ALEXIS ANZELONE, WESTFIELD 20:22 
1998 WESTFIELD  / CHRISTINA MORGADO, UNION 19:41 
1999 WESTFIELD  /CHRISTINA MORGADO, UNION 19:56 
2000 WESTFIELD / ALEXIS ANZELONE, WESTFIELD 19:47 
2001 WESTFIELD / JESSICA RODRIGUES, ELIZABETH 19:43 
2002 OAK KNOLL / MEGS DIDARIO, GOV. LIVINGSTON 19:35 
2003 WESTFIELD / LIZ HANKINSON, OAK KNOLL 19:37 
2004 SCOTCH PLAINS / LAURA GALLO, CRANFORD 19:22 
2005 CRANFORD / LAURA GALLO, CRANFORD 19:22 
2006 CRANFORD  / LAURA GALLO, CRANFORD 19:07 
2007 *A.L.JOHNSON KATHLEEN McCAFFERTY, OAK KNOLL 18:29.4 (current course record for 3.19-mile dual meet course)
2008 A.L.JOHNSON / INES SIMOES, ROSELLE  CATH.   19:04.5 
2009 SUMMIT / NICHELLE HARRIS, RAHWAY 19:33 
2010 SUMMIT / KATIE WATSON, SUMMIT 18:46 
2011 SUMMIT / GILLIAN McILROY, SUMMIT 19:28 
2012 SUMMIT / GILLIAN McILROY, SUMMIT 19:20 
2013 WESTFIELD (record 15th title)/ GILLIAN McILROY, SUMMIT 19:04 
2014 UNION CATHOLIC / CAITLIN GLYNN, UNION CATHOLIC 19:05.1
2015 UNION CATHOLIC/ JILLIAN TURNER, NEW PROVDENCE 18:49.8
2016 WESTFIELD/ VICTORIA VANRIELE, GOV. LIVINGSTON  19:21 

 

$-In 1977, the Westfield boys won with a perfect score of 15

**-In 1988, the Elizabeth boys won on a tiebreaker

#-In 1995 and '96, Westfield's girls, under coach Thom Hornish, won with a perfect score of 15
*-In 2007, Johnson won the girls team title on a tiebreaker over Scotch Plains.


Comments