In a meet filled with personal bests and breakout performances, Jackson Barna of Ridge and Emma McGill of Voorhees stole the show with electrifying performances to ignite their teams to victories at the Roxbury Invitational on Saturday at Horseshoe Lake Park in Succasunna.
Barna, a sophomore, made a huge move near the start of the final mile and pulled away for a 12 second victory in the boys Fastest 4 race, stopping the clock at 15:38.7, a massive PR. Barna's victory spark a 1-3-5-11 finish for Ridge, which defeated North Hunterdon, 19-61.
Ridge's victory in the Fastest 4 race was part of a huge statement made the Red Devils, who won three of the four possible team titles (Fastest 4, Novice A, and JV B).
In the In the Fastest 4 race, Ridge picked up PR's from its top four runners (only four scored in this format) and averaged 15:55.9 over the 3.18-mile layout. In addition to Barna, junior Will Pinto was third for Ridge in 15:52.5, senior Sam Lewis placed fifth in 15:59.0, and senior Chris Strain was 11th in 16:13.5.
Barna, whose previous PR came when he ran 16:30 in the NJSIAA, N.J. Sec. 2 Group 4 race at Greystone last year, had a big freshman year last year, which included a 16:59 at Holmdel Park, the state championship layout, and times of 4:22.21 for 1,600m and 9:31.03 for 3,200m on the track last spring.
In the girls Fastest 4 race, McGill made a huge surge with just about 800m left to break away from All-Stater Daisy Liljegren of Northern Highlands and rising sophomore star Miranda Lorsbach of Kent Place to secure the victory in 18:12.4, a PR of 29 seconds. Lorsbach, with the best performance of her career, was second in 18:18.6, and Liljegren took third in 18:20.1.
This was a huge win for McGill, a junior whose previous best of 18:41.4 came when she placed third at this meet last year.
McGill was just hoping to break 19. But she said having Liljegren, who won the Bergen County Meet of Champions and was fourth at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions last year, and Lorsbach pushing the pace alongside her made the race much faster.
With McGill leading the charge, NJ#10 Voorhees won the Fastest 4 team title, 56-60 over Skyland Conference rival Ridge. Voorhees averaged 19:33.9 and went 1-5-12-38. Ridge, which held out its top runners, went 10-14-17-19 and averaged 19:58.7.
Keep your eye on Lorsbach, a sophomore who opened lots of eyes with her stunning performance. This was not only the first time Lorsbach broke 19 minutes, but the first time she ever went sub 20!!! Her previous PR was 20:11. Lorsbach showed signs last spring that she had the potential to be a star in XC when she won the Union County 1,600m title, and ran 5:12 for 1,600m and 11:11 for 3,200m.
In other highlights-
- Soph. Megan Smith of NJ#5 Mendham ran a big PR of 19:03.9 to win the Future 4 race and help her team win the team merge, 63-97 over Voorhees. Second in the Future 4 race was rising star Kathryn Power of Union Catholic, who ran 20:02, the top time by a freshman on the day.
- Soph. Dennis Fortuna of Triton runs a 64 second PR of 16:37 to win the boys Future 4 race!
- Freehold Township won the boys Future 4 race, 38-49 over Ridge, by going 3-7-9-19 and averaging 17:08.
- Soph. Kieran Brennan of St. Benedict's Prep outkicked soph. Forrest Miller of Triton to win the boys Novice B race by a couple steps, 8:18.8 to 8:20.4.
- North Hunterdon won the boys Novice B team title, 52-68 over Northern Highlands. North Hunterdon averaged 8:51.7 and went 3-4-6-16-23.
- Roxbury freshman Gabriella Daskalova won the girls Novice race (1.6 miles) in 9:26.3
- Rumson went 2-4-5-11-15 to win the girls Novice title, 37-51 over Chatham. Rumson averaged 10:29.1.
- Chatham freshman Ryan Beegle came storming across the line to win the boys Novice A race in 8:08.7 (1.6 miles). The Ridge boys Novice A team title, 45-56, over Memorial of W.N.Y. Ridge went 2-4-11-12-16 and averaged 8:45.9 Memorial went 6-9-10-13-18 and averaged 8:57.2.
- Junior Sonia Goya of Ridge won the girls JV race in 20:28. Ridge went 1-3-6-8-18 and averaged 21:25 to win the team title, 36-43 over Mendham.
- Soph. Cristian Roman of Freehold Twp. captured the boys JV A race in 17:43.8, a step ahead of Nyle Christian of East Brunswick. Bridgewater-Raritan claimed the team title, 51-70 over East Brunswick. Bridgewater went 6-9-11-12-13 and averaged 18:28.
- Soph. James Kisker of Ridge rips a PR of 16:59.4 to lead a 1-2-3-7 finish for Ridge in the boys JV B race!!!! Ridge averaged 17:52 and defeated West Morris, 21-36.