Clifton's Stars Continue Hot Start at Back to the Mountain

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Clifton's star individuals led the way on Saturday at Garret Mountain during the second annual Back to the Mountain Invitational. North Hunterdon boys and Westfield girls both showed strength in their depth leading the meet in both their Varsity A divisions and the merge. 

Junior Mia Dubac set the meet record and a course PR with her 19:31 performance, winning the Varsity A with a 38 second lead and the meet as a whole by 17 seconds. Her teammate Andrea Dubbels made it a one-two finish for the team in Varsity A where they finished third out of 14 teams gathering 103 points and a 21:58 average, they held onto fourth in the merge.

For Dubac this is her second race win of the season invitational wise hitting big course PRs at both Darlington and now Garret Mountain. 

Westfield, who also led the meet merge by a large margin, won Varsity A with a 42 point total splitting 59 seconds among their top five averaging 21:16 on the tough course. They were led by Caroline Collins running third at 20:43 with junior Samantha Salz and senior Grace Morgan also running top ten in the division. 

Westfield's Team Performance

20:43.003rdCaroline Collins
21:07.006thSamantha Salz
21:23.0010thGrace Morgan
21:26.0012thElizabeth Bielen
21:42.0014thJordyn Ament
21:53.0016thLouise Sur
22:07.0018thMadeleine Learner

The Varsity B race actually brought us the second and third fastest times of the meet thanks to Lakeland Regional sophomores Angelina Perez and Abigail Horevay who finished close at the line with times of 19:48 and 19:51. The team title would ultimately go to Robbinsville who had a comeback scoring 5-6-7-13-15 for 46 points to led second place NV Demarest at 77 and Lakeland at 93. 

When you go to the team merge on the girls side Westfield, as mentioned, led the way with 67 points, Academy of Holy Angels second out of Varsity A with 115, and Robbinsville, the Varsity B winners, third at 119. 

The boys side saw another star from Clifton continue his stellar start in 2019. Sophomore Jacob Heredia has dropped nearly two minutes off his 2018 performances at the same Season Opener and Back to the Mountain Invitationals. 

Last week Heredia won the Season Opener with a 16:15, he was 26th last year running 18:04. This week he won the Back to the Mountain invite with 16:26, dropping over two minutes from his 2018 run of 18:32!

When asked about what the difference has been Heredia stated, "I worked really hard over the summer, really boosting my miles and giving myself harder workouts," he continued, "running is whatever you put in, is what you get out so I knew that if I worked really hard it would show."

This win wasn't easy though as it came in a photo finish between Heredia and Livingston senior Philmon Mehari at the line. Both were timed at 16:26 on the official results which rank tied for second all-time in the meet's short history. Luis Peralta, who won a National title in the 800m on the track, has the meet record of 16:13. 

For Mehari this was also a course PR, out running his previous Garret Mountain best of 16:28 which earned him third at North 1 Group 4 Sectionals last fall. This race is a great preview of what's to come in that second and group as they'll see each other multiple weeks in a row by season's end. 

In terms of team wins North Hunterdon boys took the Varsity A and merge lead, scoring 37 points in their division and an impressive 48 in the meet merge. They averaged 17:04 splitting just 59 seconds among their top five. This was without their usual number one Gavin Richards in the mix. 

North Hunterdon's Varsity A Performance

16:30.003rdJohn Ignacz
16:56.005thBrian Pedretti
17:14.009thZachary Decker
17:14.0010thAdam Mugavero
17:29.0015thAaron Wysocki
17:41.0020thCarter Beswick

North Hunterdon was led by John Ignacz who had the third fastest time of the meet running 16:30. 

Jesse Campoverde of Lakeland Regional made it a Varsity B individuals sweep for the school with his win of 16:48. That ranked him as the fourth fasted time of the day at Garret Mountain. It also led his squad to a team victory with 53 points to Robbinsville's 72. Zachary Voll finished third at 17:26, Mason Murphy ninth, Ethan Lehr 20th, and Owen Gibson 24th to make up their scoring five. 

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