CBA, Wischusen, Union Catholic Girls Shine At Nike Nationals

Christian Brothers Academy, Jimmy Wischusen, Luke Pash, the Union Catholic girls and Westfield boys highlighted a great day of racing for New Jersey at Saturday's 18th Team National Championships, held on a very muddy and rain soaked Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland, Oregon.

In the boys race, CBA, ranked No. 1 in NJ and No. 2 nationally, finished sixth, Union Catholic's Wischusen finished seventh to earn First Team All-American honors with one of the greatest performances by a NJ runner in meet history, Ridgewood's Pash placed 33rd, and Westfield finished 19th. 

CBA, making its 12th straight appearance at the National Championships, capped off one of greatest seasons in NJ history by finishing sixth in the 22-team field with 202 points, and Westfield placed 19th with 431.  

CBA, who came into the race undefeated, was bidding to win its second national title to go with the championship it won in 2011. CBA's 6th place finish is the highest for a NJ at the Nike Nationals since CBA was second in 2013. 

The five scorers for CBA, the Northeast Regional champion, were senior Conor Clifford, 41st in 15:57.8, junior Joe Barrett, 59th in 15:59.2, senior Jack Falkowski, 16th in 16:11.2,  junior Alex Kemp, 105th in 16:24.5, and senior Brady Barber, 107th in 16:36.3

During CBA's remarkable 12-year run at Nike Nationals, the Colts finished fifth in 2010, first in 2011, fourth in 2012, second in 2013, 11th in 2014, 20th in 2015, seventh in 2016, seventh in 2017, 18th in 2018, 16th in 2019, 18th in 2022, and now sixth in 2023. In CBA's two other appearances at nationals, the Colts finished 11th in 2004 and eighth in 2005.

How about what Wischusen has done the last 2 weeks!! Simply amazing!!! 

After a hamstring injury forced him to drop out of the State Non-Public A and Meet of Champions races, the University of Virginia-bound Wischusen bounced back to place second at the Northeast Regional last week and today he dropped an electrifying seventh place finish in the field of 201 runners with a time of 15:25.5 to close out his amazing high school cross-country career.

Wischusen's 7th place finish is the highest for a NJ boy at Nike Nationals since the legendary Edward Cheserek of St. Benedict's Prep was second in 2010 and is the fourth highest finish in meet history for a NJ boy. Only Cheserek and the great Joe Rosa of West Windsor North  (third in 2009 and fourth in 2008) have finished higher than Wischusen at Nike Nationals. 

And the 15:25.5 by Wischusen makes him the third fastest runner ever from the Garden State on the Glendoveer Golf Course, which has bene used as the National Championship layout since 2014. Only Liam Murphy of Allentown, 8th in 15:12.0 in 2019, and Jack Stanley of Mendham, 19th in 15:20.8 in 2018, have run faster. 

Pash, a junior, was NJ's No. 2 finisher with a sensational performance, placing 33rd in 15:24.4. Junior Brenden McMahon of Ridge finished 118th n 16:29.9      

For the Westfield boys, making its second appearance ever (it also qualified in 2011) and running for the first time running at nationals under coach Chris Tafelski, senior Avery Keith led the way by placing 81st in 16:09.7, junior Ryan Daly was 120th in 16:30.1, senior Jimmy Gildea 145th in 16:45.4, senior Tage Mehta 146th in 16:49.0, and senior Eamon Mason was 179th in 17:13.4


When Westfield qualified for the National Championships in 2011, it did so as a wild card under legendary coach Jack Martin, who retired after that season. Chris Tafelski, who ran for Martin, took over as head coach at his alma mater in 2012.


The Union Catholic girls, ranked No. 1 in NJ and No. 6 in the country, put the finishing touches on arguably the best season by a girls team in state history, by placing 10th in the 22-team field with 282 points. It was the second appearance at the national meet for UC, which placed 22nd last year.

The Vikings, who won its second straight  NJ Meet of Champions title last month and captured its first Northeast Regional last week, were led by freshman star Paige Sheppard, 51st in 18:36.1. Senior Courtney Kaiser finished 71st in 18:67.4, freshman Cayleigh Kaiser was 74th in 18:58.8, senior Peyton Hollis finished 129th in 19:32.6, and sophomore Ella Solorzano was 159th in 20:04.6. 

Villanova-bound Rosemary Shay of Middletown South had a very strong race, finishing 60th in 18:45.9, the second best finisher from New Jersey.