Ridge Sweeps, Barna and Vanasse Win Somerset County Titles


Ridge continued its dominance with another sweep of the team titles, Nicole Vanasse of Pingry regained her title, and Jackson Barna avenged a recent loss with a huge victory at the Somerset County Championships on Wednesday at Pleasant Valley Park in Bernards Township 

For the second straight year, the NJ#8 Ridge boys and girls ran away with the team championships. The NJ#4 Ridge girls averaged 19:48 and outscored runner-up Hillsborough, 34-90, to capture its fourth straight title and 13th overall. Ridge also went 1-7 to win the girls JV title.

Led by Barna's sizzling school record victory in 15:53, the Ridge boys won its second straight title by throwing down the greatest race in school history at Pleasant Valley on the way to a 42-75 victory over Bernards for its second straight victory.

Barna, a sophomore, avenged his loss at the Skyland Conference Championships last week as he shattered the Ridge course record of 16:00 that Patrick Bayeux ran to win last year.

Last Thursday, Barna was second at the Skyland meet to TJ Harkins of Immaculata by 14 seconds. Harkins placed third at the county meet in 16:20. Pingry junior Henry Wood ran a sensational race to place second to Barna with a big PR of 16:13. 

Barna's victory fueled Ridge to a school record average for Pleasant Valley of 16:33, breaking the mark of 16:35 set by the 2010 team.     

The Ridge boys also had a 1-5 compression of 57 seconds as the Red Devils put its scoring five in the top 13. In addition to Barna, Ridge's top five runners were junior Will Pinto, 8th in 16:37, senior Chris Strain, 9th in 16:41, sophomore James Kisker, 11th in 16:43, and junior Jake Dobrowolski, 13th in 16:59.   

On the girls side, Vanasse, who won as a sophomore in 2017, regained her title by running 18:13 to finish first. Vanasse shared some big news after the meet when she announced that she committed to Columbia University.

In the girls team competition, Ridge packed five runners in the first ten places and all seven runners in the top 13, and averaged 19:48 on the way to the victory.

Ridge's scoring runners were senior Manon Stephen, 4th in 18:48, senior Katelyn King, 5th in 19:41, sophomore Grace LaCapra, 7th in 19:59, sophomore Jamie Melillo, 8th in 20:08, and sophomore Samantha Shimsky, 10th in 20:19.