The Old Bridge boys, South Brunswick girls, Caroline Schleif of Metuchen, and Vidhur Polam of South Brunswick ruled the day at Saturday's Greater Middlesex Conference Championships at Thompson Park in Jamesburg.
Old Bridge simply crushed the boys race and made a huge statement as the Knights returned to the winner's circle for the first time since 2015 and extended its record to 17 GMC titles overall with a 32-81 victory over East Brunswick. South Brunswick, the champs the last two years, placed third with 86.
Individually, Polam, a junior who played J.V. soccer last year, continued his amazing rookie season on the trails by blowing the race apart on his way to a 34 second victory in a school record 15:49, No. 4 in course history for a Middlesex County runner, and the fastest time at the meet since Tim Ball of Piscataway ran 15:35 in 2010. Ball won two Meet of Champions titles in his career (one in XC and one indoors in the 3,200)
In the girls race, South Brunswick, which graduated its top four runners from last year, edged Metuchen, 54-59, to capture its fifth straight title, and Schleif ran away with individual honors with a time of 19:13, 28 seconds ahead of runner-up Eleni Alvarez, a junior from St. Thomas Aquinas.
Schleif, who finished fifth in 19:41 as a freshman last year, joined Rachel Suss, the winner in 2014 and '15, as the only runners in Metuchen history to win GMC XC titles.
The victory by the South Brunswick girls raised its total to 12 GMC titles overall, the second most in meet history behind Old Bridge's 15.
South Brunswick, which averaged 20:08 and had a 1-5 split of just 33 seconds, was trailing Metuchen by six points after three runners crossed, but the No. 4 and No 5 runners for the Vikings combined to pick up 12 spots on the No. 4 and No. 5 from Metuchen to secure the championship.
"For the girls to buy in and work hard and win our fifth in a row is a testament to the hard work and culture that has been established here over the years,'' said South Brunswick coach Wil Rivera.
The boys race featured a pair of dominating performances that are sure to grab the attention of the state.
South Brunswick Coach Wil Rivera knew Polam had the potential for a good XC season, but he's surpassed all the expectations.