Young runners of all ages from all over the state and beyond Jersey borders came flocking to Oak Ridge Park on Saturday in search of personal best times on the lightning fast 5K layout in Clark.
With a combination of great competition and ideal conditions, many of the 545 runners from the 27 club teams got exactly what they came for.
From the nine-year old rising stars that toed the line to the established high school studs that ran shoulder-to shoulder, red hot times came in fast and furious fashion in all six races on a sun-splashed day at the Oak Ridge Invitational.
Leading the parade of PR's was Miranda Lorsbach, who burned a course record 18:29 to win the girls Open race. Lorsbach, a junior at Kent Place who ran this season for the Garden State Track Club, broke the course record of 18:38 set last Saturday by Alexandra Carlson of North Hunterdon at the North Jersey, Section 2 meet.
Lorsbach, who has run 9:56.55 for 3K and 17:18.68 for 5K on the track this season, said she was using this race as a tune-up for the East Coast Invitational on Dec. 5 at Holmdel Park.
Lorsbach runaway from a very talented field.
Sophomore Lindsay Hausman of Kent Place, who placed third at the Union County Championships, was second in 18:57. Junior Madison Orlins of Mendham, the N.J. Sec. 2 Group 3 champ, finished third in 19:13, and Ocean County champion Lily Oliver, a sophomore at Toms River South, placed fourth in 19:18.
With Orlins leading the way, Mendham crammed four runners in the top 10 and averaged 20:03 on the way rolled to the team title, 42-80 over Hunterdon Central.
The top boys performance of the meet came from Nathan Armstrong, a senior at Pompton Lakes.
Armstrong led six guys under 16 by winning the boys A Division race in a personal best 15:48. Armstrong, who is scheduled to run at this Wednesday's Holmdel Invitational, has a had a huge season. He won the Passaic County title, the N.J. Sec. 1 Group 3 championships, and lowered his own school record at Garret Mountain to 15:50.
Senior Zach Hodges of Mendham was second with a PR of 15:53, Union Catholic junior Myles Plummer was third in 15:53, senior Mike Fama of Warren Hills finished fourth in 15:55, senior Brian Pedretti of North Hunterdon was fifth in 15:56, and sophomore Ayush Saran opened lots of eyes by taking sixth in 15:56. It was the first time under 16 on any course for Hodges, Plummer, Pedretti, and Saran. Fama missed his PR by just one second.
In the team competition, it was all North Hunterdon as the NJ#3 squad, led by the Pedretti twins (seniros Brian and Dan), went 3-4-8-13-19 and averaged 16:23 on the way to a 47-87 over the Top of the Hill Track Club (Summit High School).
Coach Tom Higgins picked up four PR's from his North Hunterdon pack, which put all five of its scorers under 17 on the way to the very impressive victory.
Brian Pedretti (15:56), his twin Dan (eighth in 16:01), junior Carter Beswick (13th in 16:22), and sophomore Dave McKinnon, 40th in 16:54, all droped massive PR's for North Hunterdon.
North Hunterdon will be loading up
It was the kind of meet that had coaches running all over Oak Ridge screaming about the super fast times their runners threw down.
Coach Leon Bunion nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw his crew picked up eight PR's, a school record average of 17:10.54, and school course record from senior Michael Laskowski (16:35).
UC coach Mike McCabe said all 14 of his guys ran PR's!!!
North Plainfield junior Ian Smith finished 17th in the boys A race in a school record 16:32 as the Canucks had several runners pick up big PR's.
It goes on and on with the amount of runners that had the best times of their life.
And check out this little gem. A little digging through the boys A results revealed one of the most impressive performances of the meet-Evan Weber of the Speed Skills TC . Weber, the fastest eight grader of the meet, threw down a 16:56!!
Another big PR bomb was dropped by Westfield sophomore Andrew Singer, who won the boys Open B Division race in a personal best 17:29. Singer's previous best was 18:18!!
While the high school stars naturally provided the fastest performances of the meet, the younger runners provided plenty of fireworks of their own as lots of rising stars made their presence felt in a big way.
Paige Sheppard of the Speed Skills TC ran 12:12.55 over 2.05 miles to win the girls 11-12 race. Sheppard, a sixth-grader at St. Bart's in Scotch Plains, won the 800 at the AAU National Championship last year.
In the boys 11-12 race, RJ Corcoran of the Our Lady of Mount Caramel, won a great duel with William Van Etten III of the Garden State Track Club, 11:50.25 to 11:57.12. Van Etten ran 5:06 for 1,500 in 2018, and 10:09 for 3K last week.
Jasmin Parran of the Speed Skills TC ran the top time of all the runners (boys and girls combined) in the mixed 9-10 year-old race in 12:15.81. Parran, a fifth-grader from Westfield, was third at the AAU XC Nationals last year.
Alexander Riley, a fourth-grader from Mount Vernon, N.Y, ran 12:29.61 to capture the boys 9-10 title. Riley was second in the 8-and-under division at the AAU and USATF National XC Championships last year.
The 13-14 age group race featured victories from Alex Mastroly (14:08) and Krista Purnell (16:32). Mastroly, will be a joining his brother, Matt, on the XC team at Christian Brothers Academy next year. Purnell will join the XC team at Mountain Lakes next fall.