Christina Allen and Lindsay Hausman produced another instant classic in a sizzling showdown between two of the state's best, and the No. 3 North Hunterdon boys, No. 19 Kent Place girls, and Jacob Heredia of Clifton all came up with huge victories at Saturday's Back To The Mountain Invitational at Garret Mountain in Woodland Park.
Allen, a sophomore at River Dell, and Hausman, a junior at Kent Place, once again delivered an epic finish.
Just like their classic battle at the Meet of Champions on the track last June, the two All-Staters were separated by the narrowest of margins with Allen again emerging victorious in 19:07 in the Pod 1 race. Hausman was a half step behind in second in 19:08. In the 3,200 at the M of C, Allen was first in the 3,200 in 10:46.36, and Hausman second in 10:46.41.
The Pod 1 girls race also produced the most impressive team performance as Hausman led Kent Place to 34-53 victory over runner-up Old Tappan. Kent Place, which went 2-3-6-10-13 and averaged 20:39, also led the merge of the three races, 65-101.5 over No. 13 Northern Highlands. Look for Kent Place, which had senior Miranda Lorsbach (fourth in 19:53) in its lineup for the first time this season, to make a big move in the state rankings this week.
Clifton junior Remy Dubac won the girls Pod 2 race in a Garret PR of 19:31, and Northern Highlands defeated Ridgewood, 34-54, for the team title. Ridgewood, the top ranked team in the state, didn't run its top runners. Look for the Maroons to let their top guns loose at the Bowdoin Invitational this Saturday
On the boys side, North Hunterdon crammed four runners in the top 10 and averaged 17:38 to defeat runner-up and No. 15 Clifton, and No. 10 Ridgewood, 47-68-84. Those three teams also went 1-2-3 in the merge with North Hunterdon first with 64, Clifton second with 97.5, and Ridgewood third with 127. It must be noted that Ridgewood, which finished ahead of Clifton at the Season Opener, ran without Mick Barbi, who was the No. 1 runner for the Maroons at the Season Opener.
Clifton's very strong performance was led by Heredia. The senior star won going away in 16:01, 39 seconds ahead of runner-up Amiri Whittle of Hackensack.
In the boys Pod 1 race, Demarest went 3-7-12-17-35 to capture the team title, 74-100 over No. 14 ranked Delbarton. Delbarton was missing its top runners. River Dell sophomore Alex Saldana finished first in 17:35.
The Pod 3 race saw the Leonia boys come out on top, 36-76 over Pompton Lakes, and Secaucus junior Younes Abada take the individual title in 17:35. In the girls race, Cedar Grove senior Tara Smurla finished first in 20:55, and Villa Walsh packed its first five in the top nine to roll to a 27-66 win over Leonia