WAPPINGERS, FALLS, N.Y. - New Jersey flexed its distance running prowess by putting on another remarkable show at Saturday's Nike Northeast Regional meet at Bowdoin Park.
The girls race was all Jersey up front as NJ#1 North Hunterdon won its fourth straight title over runner-up and NJ#2 Ridgewood, and Charlotte Bednar of Lawrenceville led a 1-2-6 finish by the Garden State with a sizzling 18:00 as she shattered the NJ course record on the challenging 3.1-mile layout.
And on the boys side, NJ#1/US #6 Christian Brothers Academy kept its remarkable streak alive by qualifying for the Nike National Championships for the 10th straight year with its runner-up finish.
The top two teams and first five individuals not on a qualifying team automatically qualified for the Nike Nationals, which will be held next Saturday (Dec. 7) at the Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland Oregon.
In addition to the North Hunterdon and Ridgewood girls, CBA, and Bednar, Middletown South freshman Reese Fahys and Southern junior Jackson Braddock also punched their tickets to the Nike Nationals as individual qualifiers.
Fahys, the state Group 3 champ, was sixth in the girls race in 18:56.7, and Braddock, the state Group 4 winner, placed fifth in the boys race in 15:57.6.
The girls race featured the first meeting of the season between the state's top two runners, Bednar and Chloe Gonzalez of North Hunterdon, and marked the third straight week that North Hunterdon and Ridgewood clashed.
In their eagerly anticipated showdown, Bednar, fourth in the Regional and 12th at Nike Nationals as a freshman at Hun last year, outdueled Gonzalez (second in 18:15.9) as both runners ran under the old NJ record for Bowdoin of 18:16.1 that was set in 2012 by Sarah Disanza of High Point.
The Georgetown-bound Gonzalez, also second in the NE Regional last year and placed first at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions last week, sparked North Hunterdon to a 81-125 victory over Ridgewood. North Hunterdon, which also defeated Ridgewood to win the state Group 4 and Meet of Champions titles the previous two weeks, put four runners across the line before Ridgewood's second runner to secure the victory. NJ#3 Middletown South, the State Group 3 champs, finished fourth with 138 points.
North Hunterdon received great races from its whole pack. In addition to Gonzalez, North Hunterdon's scorers were junior Magdalyn Hoffman, 11th in 19:10, sophomore Addison Schmidt was 28th in 19:45, sophomore Sophia Reich finished 31st in 19:51, and junior Alexandra Carlson placed 47th in 20:12.
The Ridgewood girls, which qualified for Nike Nationals for the firs time ever, were led by sophomore Annamarie Tretola, 27th overall in 19:44. Also scoring for Ridgewood's all underclassmen pack, were sophomore Lily Williams NJ, 30th in 19:51, sophomore Olivia Shattuck, 34th in 19:57, junior Claire Hamlet, 38th in 20:01, and junior Sarah Policano, 55th in 20:23.
In the boys race, CBA came up short in its attempt to repeat as champions, but did what it had to in order to advance to the Nike Nationals for a 10th straight year by placing second to US#8 LaSalle Academy of Providence, Rhode Island, 74-105. LaSalle had a 1-5 compression of 49 seconds.
CBA, coming off its third straight NJ Meet of Champions title last week, was led by senior Shaw Powell, the State Non-Public A champion, who placed fourth in 15:55. CBA's other four scorers were junior Ben Santos, 24th in 16:41, junior Chris Desousa, 25th in 16:42, sophomore Jack Moran, 31st in 16:49, and senior Troy Hill, 39th in 16:54.
- NJ #4 Cherokee, the state Group 4 champ, placed sixth in the boys race with 221 points. Cherokee was led by senior Ethan Wechsler, eighth in 16:06.
- Group 2 state champion and NJ#3 Haddonfield, was eighth in the boys race with 244. Martin Riddell was Haddonfield's top finisher in 19th place in 16:34.
- Oliver Adler of Cherry Hill East capped off a great season by finishing 18th in the boys race in 16:34 to lead his team an 11th place finish with 356 points.
- Will Loggia of Westfield, the NJ Sec. 2 Group 4 champ, placed 37th in 16:53.
- Sophomore Lilly Shapiro of Colts Neck, the Monmouth County and Shore Conference champion, completed her first XC season after giving up soccer with a very strong eighth place finish in the girl race in 19:05 to lead he team to a sixth-place finish.
- Kingsway senior Allison Pierontoni was 16th in 19:23 to help her team place eighth.
- How about the performance by Westfield junior Katie Hamilton! In her first XC ever, Hamilton, who played soccer for Westfield this past fall, finished 17th in 19:24. Hamilton ran 2:12.85 for 800 and 4:53.16 for 1,600 last spring.
- Sophomore Miranda Lorsbach of Kent Place finished 23rd in 19:38.
- Lakeland sophomore stars Abigail Horevay and Angelina Perez finished their seasons with very strong races. Horevay was 24th in 19:38, and Perez placed 37th in 19:37.
- Senior Sydney Todd of Monmouth was 29th in 19:49.