Christian Brothers Academy coach Sean McCafferty said his guys were fit and ready to throw down something big.
He was right on the money.
CBA, ranked NJ No. 1 and U.S. No. 8, left a lot of smoke on the trails with one of the greatest performances in course history when the Colts delivered a masterpiece at Saturday's 16th Bowdoin Park XC Classic in Wappingers Falls, N.Y.
With lots of hype and anticipation heading into their first all out effort of the season, CBA jammed its five scoring runners in the top nine and simply overpowered the field with an epic 16:07.8 bomb on the rugged layout!!! Just how fast is 16:07.8 at Bowdoin??
Well, it's the second fastest average ever at Bowdoin, which runs about 20-25 seconds slower than Holmdel. The only team that's run faster on the course is Fayeteville-Manilus of N.Y., who ran 16:02.4 at the 2013 Nike New York Regional. CBA destroyed the previous NJ CR average of 16:14.6 that was set by the 2012 CBA squad. The 2011 CBA team that won the Nike National title averaged 16:24 at Bowdoin.
CBA's performance capped off a sensational day for NJ as the Garden State ruled the meet by capturing all 4 varsity titles and both varsity individual championships.
CBA's fast and tight pack was sparked by junior Joe Barrett and senior Jack Falkowski, who led a 1-2-5-7-9 finish for the Colts, who had a very impressive 29 second 1-5 compression. CBA, which outscored runner-up Brookline of Mass., 24-55, put six runners ahead of Brookline's No. 4 man.
Barrett crossed first in 15:50.1, the third fastest time for CBA runner in course history, and Falkowski was a few strides behind in second in 15:54.8, No. 4 all-time for a CBA runner. Only Blaise Ferro (15:45 in 2015) and Mike McClemens (15:49 in 2013) have run faster at Bowdoin in CBA history.
CBA's other three scorers were senior Conor Clifford, fifth in 16:16.0, senior Alex Kemp, seventh in 16:18.2, and sophomore Wyatt Falkowski, ninth in 16:19.5. CBA also received strong races from its No. 6 man, senior Brady Barber, 12th in 16:26.0, and No. 7 runner junior Alex Mastroly, 18th in 16:37.9. What a huge drop for Barber, who ran 18:10 at this meet a year ago!
CBA had two more runners break 17 in the JV race as brothers Ryan and Gavin Schmitt went 1-2. Ryan, a junior, ran 16:49.1, and Gavin went 16:56.6 to beak CBA's CR for Bowdoin of 17:01 that was set by Barrett in 2021.
McCafferty said his guys followed the race plan perfectly.
"The boys did exactly what we asked them to do,'' said McCafferty. "They followed our plan, worked together and believed in each other. If they continue to work hard and care about CBA, they'll be ready for more.''
BLUE DEVILS ROCK
And they packed their five into the top 14 with a 28 split between its 1-5 runners on their way to a decisive 38-104 triumph over runner-up Xavier of Connecticut. NJ No. 8 Haddonfield was third with 116, and No. 16 Southern Regional, led by Santino D'Amelio's 8th place finish in 16:22, finished seventh with 166
Westfield's 16:22 is No. 4 all-time by a NJ team and smashed its school course record of 16:48 set by the 2011 team that qualified for the Nike Nationals. The only three NJ teams faster than Westfield at Bowdoin are all CBA squads - the 16:07 today, 16:14.6 in 2012, and 16:15.0 in 2013.
Keith, a senior, won the race in 16:03 to break Westfield's CR and spark a 1-4--10-12-14 finish for coach Chris Tafelski's crew. Keith took down the Westfield record of 16:08.9 that was run by Jack Leahy when he won the 2011 Nike Northeast Regional.
Westfeld's top five consisted of Keith, senior Jimmy Gildea, fourth in 16:16, senior Eamon Mason, 10th in 16:28, senior Tage Mehta, 12th in 16:30, and junior Ryan Daly, 14th in 16:32. Westfield put all 7 runners in front of Xavier's No. 3 runner as senior Graham Korins, 20th in 16:49, and junior Kaleb Stoeckmann, 24th in 16:55, ran strong races as Westfield's No. 6 and No. 7.
SOUTH JERSEY SWEEP
Haddonfield averaged 20:51 and won the Division 1 title in 3-way thriller over Pingry and Corning of NY, 81-85-86. Trinity Hall finished sixth with 204.
Haddonfield, led by sophomore Riley Austin and senior Riley Slootsky, put its five scorers in the top 25 with Austin 7th in 20:20.7, Slootsky 9th, senior Anna Stolarick 20th in 21:05, junior Katherine Asher 21st in 21:05, and junior Dylan Melcher was 25th in 21:18. Melcher finished one spot ahead of Pingry's No. 4 runner and three spots ahead of Pingry's No. 5 runner to clinch the win.
"The Rileys both opened really well in what was a relatively controlled effort,'' said Haddonfield coach Jason Russo. "Really blown away by how the other four responded on a bigger stage. Dylan and Anna did a nice job filling in and Katherine and Harper Benjamin (freshman who was the 6th runner) crushed their first big race. And JV was awesome! Nice to go out there and take over the race like they did. Really proud of all of them today. Just the beginning though!''
Pingry's Murray, a Champs National finalist last year, ran the top NJ time of the day with her runner-up finish in 19:09, two seconds behind the winner, Sarah Lawson of Corning.
Day, a junior, was second in 19:13 and Lovett, a senior, ran 19:50 for fourth as Mainland 2-4-12-14-28 and averaged 20:51, the same time as Haddonfield.