PREVIEW: North 1 NJSIAA Sectional Championships 2022

Welcome to the 2022 preview of the NJSIAA North 1 Sectional Championships.

This article includes some just for fun winner predictions, some quick notes on team and individual battles, as well as a look at last year's winners. 

Those of us at NJ MileSplit want to wish all of our high school athletes and coaches the best of luck this weekend across the state. A lot of work has been put in by these athletes since summer and beyond for this point in the season.

Predictions tables by Robert Kellert, Jim Lambert, and Pat Montferrat.

Boys North 1 Sectionals

Individual Predictions

Team Predictions

Group 1KinnelonKinnelonKinnelon
Group 2Lakeland RegionalLakeland RegionalIndian Hills
Group 3Northern Highlands Northern Highlands Norhtern Highlands
Group 4Ridgewood (NJ#16)Ridgewood (NJ#16)Ridgewoood (NJ#16)

Quick Notes

Group 1

Individuals: Could end up being a good battle between Andrew Garcia of Kinnelon and Joseph Capuzzo of Waldwick if Capuzzo brings his A-game but we feel Garcia has the edge. Garcia is the top returner at Garret from last season in the North 1 Group 1 and is coming off a 9th place 16:33 at Morris County Champs and a career best 17:12 at Holmdel. More notables: Max Kahn, Patrick Tallman, Ben Raser

Teams: Defending champs Kinnelon will have their hands full with Glen Rock. More notables: Park Ridge/Emerson Co-op, Mountain Lakes.

Group 2

Individuals: Owen Horevay is the defending champ and a heavy favorite heading into Saturday. Outside of a laid back batch meet the Lakeland Regional senior is undefeated this season and has course PRs well beyond his competition to this point. More Notables: Nathan Caldwell, Colin Menier, Brayden Lowe-Massi.

Teams: Lakeland Regional and Indian Hills look to be the main battle up front. Lakeland has a strong 1-2 up front but will Indian Hills' tighter top five split prove to be the key on Saturday? Pascack Valley will also be in the mix. The final spots for Group advancement will be intense, top five teams move on.

Group 3

Individuals: Alex Pelov of Montville Twp has found even more pace his sophomore year and was already among top returners for the Section, he was fifth in this race as a freshmen in last season. Pelov improved his Shore Coaches (Holmdel) time by 61 seconds to run 16:42 and was fourth in a strong lead group at Morris County defeating some he'll see again Saturday. 

The defending champion does return however! Mount Olive's Ryan Melendez is back to defend his junior year title and while he has improved his times he hasn't had an answer for Pelov in recent head to head competition. This is why we head out there though, nothing is decided until that finish line. More Notables: Bryce Teto of Paramus along with Wayne Valley teammates Sean Matthews and Matthew Califf are on possible upset watch as well! Should be a great race. 

Teams: Northern Highlands likely to make it two straight here. Teaneck, Morris Knolls, Wayne Valley among other top teams. Final few team spots could swing multiple ways in this Section.

Group 4

Individuals: While we all went with the surging Dylan Decambre coming off his impressive Bergen County MOCs victory don't be surprised to see some others in the mix for a battle heading into the final 800m climb to the finish. Hisham Ettayebi of Clifton has run well this season and leads the Section's season bests at Garret Mountain with a 16:48. More Notables: Luke Pash, Markus Corredor, Lamarr Olive, Dylan Guarquila

Teams: NJ No. 16 Ridgewood is coming off a tough loss to Don Bosco at Bergen MOCs but we see them bouncing back strong here with that motivation behind them. Others in the mix: Montclair, Clifton, Bergen County Tech

2021 Winners - Individuals / Teams

Group 1: Aidan Carroll, SR, Glen Rock, 16:49 / Kinnelon (2nd straight, 5th overall)

Group 2: Owen Horevay, JR, Lakeland, 16:49 / Demarest (1st since 2017, 9th overall)

Group 3: Ryan Melendez, JR, Mount Olive, 16:50 / Northern Highlands (1st since 1991, 6th overall)

Group 4Jacob Heredia, SR, Clifton HS 15:40 / Clifton (1st since 1987, 2nd overall)

Girls North 1 Sectionals

Individual Predictions

Team Predictions

Group 1Glen Rock Glen Rock Glen Rock
Group 2NV-Old Tappan (NJ#19)NV-Old Tappan (NJ#19)NV-Old Tappan (NJ#19)
Group 3Northern Highlands (NJ#5)Northern Highlands (NJ#5)
Northern Highlands (NJ#5)
Group 4Ridgewood (NJ#6)Ridgewood (NJ#6)Ridgewood (NJ#6)

Quick Notes

Group 1

Individuals: The site picks all went with Danielle Tilp of Cresskill here, the senior was second in this race last year by only a second to defending champion Grace Mougalian of Kinnelon 20:37 to 20:38. Tilp is coming off a big course PR of 19:30 at Darlington Park to run 13th at Bergen MOCs and ran just a few seconds off a Garret Mountain best in early October while winning the NJIC Divisional.

Unfortunately we haven't seen defending champion Grace Mougalian since her October 1st performance at Shore Coaches running 22:45 in a downpour missing all of championship season. More Notables: Lily McNair, Sophie Walder, Iris Wikander, Krista Purnell.

Teams: This one is looking like Glen Rock for the victory. Kittatinny, Kinnelon, Mountain Lakes, Pompton Lakes, Saddle Brook, Pequannock, and Cresskill all battling to fit into those top five advancing positions to Groups.

Group 2

Individuals: This race will have a new winner for the first time in a few years with Angelina Perez having graduated last spring. That opens the door wide open for Christina Allen of River Dell who was second at Sectionals the past two seasons and is a Meet of Champions winner herself on the track.

Allen has yet to run Garrett Mountain this season but is the top return for the Section by almost a minute with her 18:55 at the 2021 Sectionals. She leads everyone from N1G2 at Holmdel by 23 seconds this season clocked at 19:59 and is fresh off a solid second place run at Bergen Meet of Champions. More Notables: Morgan Uhlhorn, Kristen Johnson, Kate Meeks, Zoe Merryman.

Teams: This could very well be one of the best team match-ups of the day between on the top 20 bubble Lakeland Regional and No. 19 NV Old Tappan. Very tough to try and guess this one ahead, going to come down to some tough mid-pack running from the three to five scorers on each squad. Lakeland is coming off their Passaic County Championship. Old Tappan took on a stacked Bergen County MOCs field finishing fourth behind three other top ten ranked squads. Other notables fighting for advancement: West Milford, NV Demarest, Morris County Tech, River Dell, Mahwah, and High Point Reg.

Group 3

Individuals: This is an intriguing race and we were split on the predictions. Autumn Ritter of Northern Highlands has made big gains this season on multiple courses and after missing Bergen Groups has rebounded well coming off a 6th place run at BMOCs. She leads the Section this season at Garret Mountain with a 19:55 and is third when comparing Holmdel with a 20:14. Her teammates Sadie Meloro and Allison Courtney will also be competing for that top individual spot while the team runs at the team title. 

Another major contender Amelia Keogh of Ramapo is ranked fourth at Garret in 2022 with a 20:29 from early season and led this Section at the Shore Coaches Invite by a good 15 seconds clocked at 19:58.

Another facet to this race is the return of defending champion Brianna Braver. Who will be among the lead pack making a run at title defense alongside her Ramapo teammate Keogh. More Notables: Rebecca Maclaren, Ivory Piskula.

Teams: The NJ No. 5 Northern Highlands girls are fresh off a 'return to form' win at Bergen MOCs where they defeated multiple top 20 teams head to head. We see them earning this victory but they can't take it easy with No. 8 Ramapo ready to pounce in a week removed rematch from counties. Both should advance no problem. Morris Hills, Mount Olive, Randolph, Morris Knolls, Wayne Hills, and others will be counting finishers for those final advancement spots.

Group 4

Individuals: All signs point to Remy Dubac of Clifton successfully defending her Sectional title from 2021. The senior leads her Sectional competitors statistically in almost every comparable list. But like we always say championships aren't won on a screen, that is only decided this Saturday when everyone toes the line. More Notables: Cellina Rabolli, Grace Delgiorno, Viktoria Green, Ayla Cooke

Teams: The NJ No. 6 ranked Ridgewood girls should take this one easily and defend their team title to bring home their 27th all-time. A solid battle for the final four advancement spots will ensue behind them including Clifton, Morristown, Montclair, Bergen County Tech, Livingston and potentially even more. Those mid-pack battles will turn out key in this deep Group 4 battleground of a race.

2021 Winners - Individuals / Teams

Group 1:  Grace Mougalian SO Kinnelon 20:37 / Park Ridge/Emerson (1st Title)

Group 2:  Angelina Perez SR Lakeland 16:54 / Lakeland (2nd straight title)

Group 3: Brianna Braver JR Ramapo 19:21 / Old Tappan (1st title since 2022)

Group 4Remy Dubac JR Clifton 18:58 / Ridgewood (6th title in 8 years,26th title overall)