New Jersey flexed its distance running strength and made its presence felt in a big way at Saturday's 47th running of the Manhattan Invitational on the hallowed grounds of Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.
With Liam Murphy of Allentown, Charlotte Bednar of Lawrenceville, and Christian Brothers Academy leading the charge, the Garden State threw down several red hot performances and picked up a total of six victories in the varsity races.
Murphy was the biggest star of the meet in the boys competition.
The senior at Allentown won the Eastern States Championship race in 12:15.2, which ties him for No. 11 all-time on the famed 2.5-mile layout. NJ #1 Christian Brothers averaged 13:10.8 and placed third in the team standings in the Eastern race, 20 points ahead of NJ#2 West-Windsor-Plainsboro North, which finished fifth and averaged 13:10.5.
Bednar, a sophomore at Lawrenceville, shattered the NJ course record and moved into the No. 9 spot all-time by running 14:01.2 to place fourth in the girls Eastern race.
Here's a rundown of the NJ teams and runners who joined Murphy as champions
- The 1-2 punch of sophomore Lucy Afanasewicz, first in 15:17, and freshman Reese Fahys (second in 15:19) led a young and talented Middletown South pack to a very impressive victory in the girls F Division race. The Eagles, with just one senior in its lineup, crammed five runners in the top 13 and averaged 15:46, the fastest by far by a NJ team on the day, en route to a 34-71 victory over Pearl River of NY. Middletown South came into this race unranked in NJ, but that should certainly change after this performance.
- Martin Riddell won the boys C Division race in 12:41.6 to spark NJ#7 Haddonfield to the team title with 66 points. The Dawgs went 1-8-12-25-28 and averaged 13:19.1, the third best NJ team average of the meet behind CBA and West Windsor North.
- The NJ#10 Kingsway girls averaged 16:16 and captured the girls B Division title, 81-89 over St. John's College of NY. Kingsway, led by junior Ashlynne Burke, sixth in 15:50.7, averaged 16:16 and edged St. John's College, 81-89. Kingsway received a huge boost from the back of its pack as the Dragons erased an eight point deficit by picking up a combined 16 points on St. John's in the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 spots.
Other NJ Highlights
- Nicole Vanasse of Pingry placed second in 14:43.2 and NJ#5 Haddonfield averaged 16:13.2 and placed third in the girls A Division race. Junior Payton Weiner was the leader of Haddonfield's pack, placing 11th in 15:45.7. Haddonfield had a 1-5 compression of 50 seconds.
- Senior Catherine Wimmer placed fourth in 15:50 to spark Red Bank to a third place finish in the girls D Division race
- Senior Robert Hannon of Point Pleasant Beach was seventh in 13:22.1 and senior Christian Cadmus of New Providence ran 13:28.1 to place 10th in the boys E Division.
- Senior Alec Gironda finished ninth in 13:34.4 for Chatham, which placed second to Champlain Valley in the boys D Division, 131-162.
- Junior Mike Fama placed second in 13:30 to lead Warren Hills, which averaged 14:12.5, to a runner-up finish in the boys F Division.