Wischusen, Boler's, Hausman, Hollis, UC Rock Shore Coaches

Jimmy Wischusen after his Varsity F victory at Shore Coaches, 15:22.

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Jimmy Wischusen won an epic, red-hot battle with Brian Boler in one of the greatest races in meet history, some big stars made impressive season debuts, Union Catholic swept the overall team merges, and several teams made huge statements at Saturday's Shore Coaches Invitational, which was held in blustery and rainy conditions at Holmdel Park.

The race of the day came in the boys E Division, as expected, when Wischusen, a junior at Union Catholic, dug down deep and mounted a big charge coming out of the woods and onto the final straightway to overtake Boler, a senior at Delbarton. Wischusen then held off a late surge by Boler before stopping the clock at 15:22! Boler, who made a bold move coming out of the bowl to take control of the race up front, was a step behind in 15:23, and Collin Boler, Brian's twin, was third in 15:28.

Just how fast was this race?

It marked the first time in meet history that three runners went sub 15:30 in the same race, and all three runners are now in the top 20 all-time on Holmdel's current historic layout, which has served as the state championship course since 1978. The time by Wischusen ties him for No. 11 in course history and equals the Union County record that his former teammate Shane Brosnan ran last year. Brian Boler is now No. 14 all-time at Holmdel, and Collin Boler's time places him No.19 on the list.

If they can go this fast in subpar conditions at this point in the season, how fast will these three run when they hookup again next month at both the State Non-Public A Championships and the Meet of Champions?? Could we see a sub 15?? With the amount of talent they possess, I wouldn't rule it out!

While the Wischusen-Boler showdown was the biggest individual highlight of the meet, there were several other memorable moments and standout performances.

Let's take an inside look at all 13 varsity race


A DIVISION - Interview - Race Video - Photos

Junior Nick Kuenkel dropped a massive Holmdel PR bomb of 15:56 to finish first and ignite No. 11 ranked Cherokee to an 80-89 victory over No. 2 ranked Westfield. CBA, the No. 1 team in the state, held out its top seven runners and still placed third with 117. CBA, coming off a big win at Bowdoin last week, kept out their top guns to keep them fresh for next Saturday's Manhattan Invitational. 

Kunkel, who slashed more than two minutes off his Holmdel PR of 18:12 that he ran at this meet last year when he suffered from dehydration, led a 1-5-8-31-35 finish for Cherokee, who averaged 16:37 and had a 1-5 gap of 1:28.

Westfield was led by first-year runner Avery Keith, a junior who placed second in 15:59. The Blue Devils placed 2-9-21-23-34, averaged 16:41 and had a spread of 1:25.

CBA, who averaged 16:59 and had 1-5 split of 47 seconds, were led by the Mastroly brothers, senior Matt (13th in 16:40), and sophomore Alex (14th in 16:41).

B DIVISION - Interview - Race Video - Photos

This race featured a great Skyland Conference showdown between No. 5 ranked Ridge and No. 6 North Hunterdon. 

North Hunterdon, with senior David McKinnon winning the race with a huge Holmdel PR of 16:09, held a 37-49 lead after each team had four runners across, but Ridge junior Dmitry Cole finished 12 places in front of North Hunterdon's No. 5 man to give the Red Devils a 69-72 comeback victory.

Ridge, led by Patrick Doran's third place finish in 16:24 (No. 8 in school history) went 3-8-17-19-22 and had a 1-5 spread of 49 seconds and averaged 16:56. North Hunterdon finished 1-5-12-20-34, averaged 16:54, and had a 1-5 split of 1:3. 

C DIVISION - Interview - Race Video - Photos

Summit ruled this race as the Hilltoppers, ranked No. 13 in the state, received a 1-2 finish from senior Jackson Levine (16:24) and Nate Roberts (16:36), packed its seven runners in the top 23, and averaged 16:56 on the way to a 32-131 victory over Ocean City. Levine's 16:24 is a 35 second PR at Holmdel, and is the fourth fastest time ever for a Summit runner at Holmdel.

D DIVISION - Interview - Race Video - Photos

Ryan Beegle had been waiting for this race for a long time. Since this time last year to be exact. 

Last year, Beegle's XC season ended after the Shore Coaches meet when he had to stop running because of two stress fractures in his foot. He didn't race again for five months.

So he was determined to make his mark when he returned to Holmdel for the first time on Saturday, and he certainly did that when he controlled the race up front the whole way on his way to victory in a Holmdel PR of 16:31.

With Beegle leading the charge, No. 7 ranked Chatham edged Lower Merion of Pa., 28-36, to win the team title. Chatham packed five runners in the top 16, put its fifth runner ahead of Lower Merion's fourth runner, and averaged 17:15.

E DIVISION - Interview - Race Video - Photos

Despite missing its No. 1 runner (Ben Connell), Bernards, which received several clutch performances, overcame a 1-2 finish by Cinnaminson to defeat Cinnaminson, 67-78.Bernards averaged 17:55, had a 1-5 spread of 49 seconds and put their sixth runner ahead of Cinnaminson's No. 4. Bernards, which put six runners in the top 24, was led by sophomore John Richardson, sixth in 17:37.

Cinnaminson suffered some misfortune when on of its top runners, Derek Coceano was in third place with 300 meters left before he down as he approached the finish line. He valiantly got to his feet and showed a lot of heart to finish the race. He collapsed again right after the crossed the line.

Cinnaminson ran a great race as Alexander Boyko (16:25) and Matt McCarron (16:41) became the first teammates from South Jersey to finish 1-2 at the Shore Coaches meet since 2014.

F DIVISION - Interview - Race Video - Photos

Union Catholic, ranked No. 3 in the state, made a big statement when the Vikings jammed six runners in the top 10 and averaged 16:18 to runaway with a 24-91 victory over Delbarton. UC, behind Wischusen's victory in 15:22, also won the team merge, 98.5 to 228.5 over Westfield. Cherokee came out third in the merge with 231.5.

Union Catholic, which fell to No. 1 CBA last week at the Bowdoin Classic, ran much better this week and received a big boost with transfers Alex Saldana and Sean Wilson in their lineup for the first time.

UC's scorers after Wischusen were Ryan Cichocki, 5th in 16:23, Saldana, sixth in 16:26, Evan Weber, seventh in 16:33, and Caudell Cajuste, ninth in 16:45. Wilson was 10th in 16:45, and Michael Devine finished 18th in 17:14.  

G DIVISION - Interview - Race Video - Photos

Colin Riley of Dayton and Paul VI dominated this race.

Riley, a senior, overcame his fogged up glasses that nearly caused him to veer off course to finish first in his season debut in 16:23, 32 seconds ahead of runner-up Ian Zalewski of Verona, and Paul VI defeated Kinnelon, 68-90.

Riley, the state Group 1 champion last season, said it was hard for him to see out of his glasses because of the heavy rain, and that he almost took a wrong turn in the back woods as a result. Riley also said after the race that he's visited Rutgers and will visit Villanova on Sunday.   

Paul VI averaged 17:49, placed its first five runners in the top 20 and put its No. 5 runner ahead of Kinnelon's No. 4 to secure the victory.

Emma Zawatski speaks about her strong season opener at Shore Coaches.


A DIVISION - Interview - Race Video - Photos

There has been a lot of speculation about just how strong Freehold Township would be when All-Stater Emma Zawatski joined the lineup.

Freehold Township answered that question with a stunning performance as Zawatski's victory in her season debut in 18:37 sparked the Patriots, ranked No. 16 in the state, to an 83-134 victory over No. 10 Cherokee, the defending Meet of Champions winner. No. 15 Hunterdon Central was third with 155. Freehold Township went 1-9-19-22-32 and averaged 20:21. 

Zawatski, who won the 1,600 at the Meet of Champions last spring, cut nine seconds off her Holmdel best of 18:46 that she ran to place 12th at the M of  C last fall. Zawatski's 18:37 is No. 2 all-time in Freehold Township history at Holmdel.

B DIVISION - Interview - Race Video - Photos

Clearview, No. 3 in the state, won this race as expected, but unranked Northern Highlands opened plenty of eyes with a very strong runner-up finish.

Clearview, on the strength of a 1-2 finish, came out on top, but its 73-83 victory was much closer than anticipated. No. 20 ranked Ridgewood finished third with 90. 

Senior Abigail Kotran won the first race of her career in 19:04 and teammate Abigail Waddington was second in 19:06 to spark Clearview, which went 1-2-13-28-29 and averaged 20:18.

Northern Highlands, which wound up second in the overall meet merge behind No. 1 ranked Union Catholic, countered with an impressive 43 second 1-5 split, placed 12-14-16-18-23, and averaged 20:27.

C DIVISION - Interview - Race Video - Photos

Lily Oliver wasn't satisfied with how she ran in the last few cross-country races last season.

So the Toms River South star was determined to run her fastest race ever at Holmdel on Saturday to give her added confidence heading into the championship portion of the season.

Oliver, who is headed to UPenn next year, got what she wanted by throwing down a Holmdel personal best time of 18:51 to finish first. That's 11 seconds faster than her previous best of 19:02 that she ran to place fifth in the state Group 3 race last November.

In the team competition, No. 17 Ocean City had a 1-5 compression of 55 seconds and placed its first five runners in the top 25 to defeated Old Tappan, 90-120.

D DIVISION - Interview - Race Video - Photos

No. 4 ranked Rumson put its first five runners ahead of the No. 2 runner for No. 8 Voorhees en route to a 46-94 victory over Voorhees. Rumson, led by runner-up Julia Shanes (19:26) went 2-7-9-13-15 and averaged 20:50.

Senior Lola Dinneen of Notre Dame Academy on Staten Island won the race in 19:16, her best time ever in three races at Holmdel.

E DIVISION - Interview - Race Video - Photos

Union Catholic, who moved up to No. 1 in the state rankings this past week, solidified its status as the top team in New Jersey by dropping another bomb as the Vikings went 1-2-3-6-11 and averaged 19:16 on the way to a 23-103 victory over Shore Regional. UC also blitzed the competition in the overall team merge, outscoring North Highlands, 92.5 to 299.

UC has now swept the top three places in all three of its races! How incredible is that!

UC's potent frontal attack features junior Peyton Hollis, who continued her remarkable rookie season on the trails by winning in 18:33, a school record and tied for the fastest time of the day. Senior Kaleigh Gunsiorowski was second in a big Holmdel PR of 18:46, and junior Courtney Kaiser, in her first XC season, was third in 18:51. Freshmen Ella Solorzano (19:56) an Emmy O'Hearn (20:17) were UC's other scorers 

F DIVISION - Interview - Race Video - Photos

The best team race of the meet and the fastest time of the day came in this one.

Senior Lindsay Hausman rolled to victory in 18:33, which equaled the top time of the meet, to lead a 1-2 finish for Kent Place (junior Addison McGoey was second in 19:35). Hausman just missed her Holmdel PR of 18:29 that she ran to place sixth at the Meet of Champions last year.

Despite the 1-2 finish by No. 14 ranked Kent Place, Villa Walsh was able to put five runners in front of the No. 4 runner for Kent Place to rally for a 74-75 upset victory. Villa Walsh, which averaged 21:16, also knocked off No. 7 ranked Pingry, third with 82.