There have been a lot great runners and teams that have toed the line at Warinanco Park's dual-meet course since it first started being used in 1988.
But there has never been a group of runners from one team who have blown apart the 3.19-mile layout the way the Union Catholic boys did at Thursday's 84th Union County Cross-Country Championships in Elizabeth.
Union Catholic, ranked No. 1 in NJ, dropped an absolute bomb as the Vikings put on a sizzling show by having two runners go under the course record on the way to demolishing the course record average at Warinanco!
It was a performance for the ages!
When the smoke cleared, UC's Shane Brosnan (15:28) and Jimmy Wischusen (15:39) became the two fastest runners in course history, and Myles Plummer (15:53) moved into the No. 7 spot all-time as he completed a 1-2-3 finish for UC, igniting the Vikings to a course record average of 16:03 and a second straight title.
UC junior Ryan Cichocki, eighth in 16:33, and junior Caudell Cajuste, ninth in 16:40, ran very strong races to put the finishing touches on UC's masterpiece as the Vikings defeated No. 7 ranked Westfield, 23-54. No. 10 Summit was third with 81.
The greatest team performance in course history was highlighted by the stunning races by Brosnan and Wischusen.
With his eye-popping time of 15:28, Brosnan, a senior who was third last year, took down the course record of 15:42 that Tim Styler of Cranford set at the Union County meet in 1998. Brosnan hit the first mile in 4:55 and two miles in 9:38, nearly identical to Styler's splits. Brosnan then poured it on over the final 1,200 meters to break the record.
Wischusen, a sophomore who also ran under Styler's record with his 15:39, has been one of the state's fastest rising stars this fall. Last year, Wischusen was second in the JV race at the county meet, and now he's No. 2 in course history at Warinanco! Amazing!
And how about Plummer. As a junior last year, Plummer won the county title in 16:24. This year, he slices 31 seconds off his winning time and places third. That's how insanely fast this race was! The 16:33 from Cichocki was a PR for any course, and Cajuste's 16:40 is a Warinanco PR.
Styler was at the meet working as the official timer as he's done for several years now. He congratulated Brosnan and Wischusen for breaking his record.
"I never thought the record would last this long,'' said Styler. "There have a few guys that came close, and I had a feeling that he (Brosnan) had a good chance to get it today because of how fast he's been running this season.''
UNION CATHOLIC AND LORSBACH WIN GIRLS TITLES
The girls race was loaded with drama as both titles came right down to the wire.
In the team battle, Union Catholic, ranked No. 12 in the state, and No. 13 Kent Place hooked up in a thriller.
But Union Catholic overcame Kent Place's formidable frontal power by putting together its best race of the season, and receiving a huge boost from the back of its pack to edge Kent Place, 54-56.
UC, which averaged 20:00, put its five scoring runners ahead of Kent Place's No. 4 runner to rally for the victory. UC went 5-8-10-14-16 and Kent Place went 1-4-12-18-21.
The top five runners for UC were junior Kaleigh Gunsiorowski, fifth in 19:15, sophomore Leilani Gibson, ninth in 19:55, senior Abby Granrath, 10th in 19:58, junior Maameyaa Nyinah, 14th in 20:23, and senior Jenna Keith, 16th in 20:31.
This is Union Catholic's second title in three years, and its fourth overall. The Vikings also won in 2014, '15, and '19.
Union Catholic also edged Kent Place, 47-50, to win the Watchung Division title at the Union County Conference Championships two weeks ago. But Kent Place ran that race without Hausman, who was out with a stress reaction. With Hausman returning to the lineup for the county race, it seemed like Kent Place would have the edge in the rematch
But the back of UC's pack surged late and closed hard as Granrath, Nyinah, and Keith all picked off multiple runners over the final quarter mile to give UC the title.
Individually, Lorsbach's victory came after a hard-fought battle with Oak Knoll senior Lily Murphy. Murphy, in her first season of XC, finished three seconds behind Lorsbach in 18:44. Lara Cota of Summit was third in 18:53.
The Yale-bound Lorsbach, third as a sophomore in 2019, is the first county XC champion from Kent Place since the legendary Hazel Clark captured the title in 1992. Clark, one of the greatest half milers in N.J. history, was a three-time Olympian in the 800 meters (2000, '04, '08).
Lorsbach was coming off a loss to Cota at the Union County Conference Championships when Cota finished first in 18:35, 21 seconds ahead of Lorsbach.
"I knew I had to run differently today to win, so I wasn't quite as aggressive up front in the early part of the race, and that helped me finish much stronger,'' said Lorsbach. "I've always wanted to be a county cross-country champion, so to come cross the finish line first really means a lot to me.''