On Friday at Washington Crossing Park in Titusville, NJ the talent loaded Mercer County athletes took to the course. At the conclusion of the meet the Allentown girls made history, West Windsor Plainsboro North ran to an impressive 31 point win, and Liam Murphy and Charlotte Bednar both crushed their own course records.
The girls race kicked off the action and right from the start the Lawrenceville School star sophomore Charlotte Bednar took the lead and never looked back. She finished with a 17:29 crushing her own course record by 51 seconds and gapping the rest of the field by a minute and 47 seconds!! This is the second straight Mercer County title for Bednar.
Last year on this same course configuration, which was redesigned for 2018, she ran an 18:20 to win by 40 seconds.
Bednar now has eight wins at the high school level between her two short seasons, she's only finished behind New Jersey athletes one time during that span which occurred at the 2018 Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional race when she finished fourth. The following week she defeated all three of those New Jersey girls at Nike Cross Nationals earning All-American status in 12th.
With Bednar out front the Lawrenceville girls ran fifth as a team.
The girls team championship was a historic moment for Allentown. With a total of 52 points, a 1-5 split of 47 seconds, and 20:17 top five average they brought home their first ever Mercer County Championship.
Allentown's scoring five all finished in the top fifteen and were led by sophomore Andie Murray in sixth running 19:50. Seniors Jamie Crowe, eighth 20:00, Daniela Etzel, 11th 20:30, Isabella Walker, 12th 20:31, and Suzanne Zaugg, 15th 20:37, made up the rest of the scoring five.
Also finishing top five individually: Callia Cordasco of WWPNorth in second at 19:15, Charlotte Gilmore of Princeton third with 19:27, Salini Iyer of WWP North 19:36, and Jennifer Miller of WWP South 19:42.
The winning team on the boys side was NJ#2 ranked West Windsor Plainsboro North.
The Luke Johnson nj led North boys scored a low 31 points splitting just 50 seconds between their scoring five and averaging an impressive 16:09. Their top five were in the top ten and even their six and seven made the top 15 individuals of the race.
Seniors Luke Johnson and Ashrrith Rachakunta were out front in second and fifth running 15:36 and 16:08 respectively. From there the rest of the scoring five was a tight knit group of sophomores including Jeffrey Chen, seventh 16:17, Nikhil Makker, eighth 16:18, and Anish Agrawal, ninth 16:26.
This is WWP North's first Mercer County team title since they last won in 2009 led by a 1-2-3 sweep by Jonathan Squeri, Joe Rosa, and Jim Rosa.
On the individual side we saw a familiar face take home the win, Liam Murphy of Allentown HS. The star senior broke his own course record by 25 seconds with a time of 15:20. Murphy remains undefeated on the season with five straight invitational or championship level wins and he looks primed and ready for the NJSIAA state tournament coming up.
This was definitely a race of interest coming in with two of the best in the state once again racing head to head between Liam Murphy and Luke Johnson. We'll have plenty more chances to see these two battle it out with both Allentown and West Windsor Plainsboro North belonging to the Central Group 3.