St. Benedict's, Schaller Repeat, Montclair, Little Win Essex


The Montclair girls celebrated its first title in more than two decades, St. Benedict's Prep and Anna Schaller of Montclair Kimberley repeated as champs, and Ramsey Little of Millburn captured his first title at Friday's Essex County Championships at Brookdale Park in Bloomfield.

Montclair,  third last year, used a strong frontal attack and PR's from five runners to to defeat defending champion Millburn, 51-66. Montlcair, which nearly won the title in 2014 when it was second on a tiebreaker to Millburn, finished 2-7-9-15-18 and averaged 20:01.

The Mounties were led by senior Meghan Hessler, who placed second for the second straight year with a personal best of 18:49, one second faster than she ran last year.

Schaller, a senior, ran away with her second straight individual girls title by running a huge PR of 18:20, 27 seconds faster than her previous PR that she ran to win a year ago.

In the boys competition, Little, second last year, became the fifth runner from Millburn to win the county XC title in the past 12 years. Little finished 14 seconds ahead of Livingston junior Philmon Mehari, second in 15:37.

Little, who ran a PR of 15:23, joined Peter Murphy (2007), Tyler Udland (2008),  Robert Stone (2013), and two-time winner Matt Grossman (2015 and '16) as individual boys champs from Millburn in the last dozen years. 

In the boys team competition, St. Benedict's dominated with a 1-5-9-11-12-20 finish, a 16:24 average, and  and a 1-5 split of 48 seconds as the Gray Bees outscored runner-up Montclair, 57-118.  St. Benedict's was led by senior Jackson Burnett, fifth in 16:05.