|Also Receiving Votes:|
|RBC (14) WW-P So. (10) TR No. (5) Morris Hills (3)|
|Ocean City, Hopewell Valley (2)|
Millburn, Roselle Cath., Freehold Twp. (1)
The Colts of Christian Brothers Academy (Lincroft) look to be ones standing atop the Holmdel Park podium this November. After a 4 year absence from the winners circle, CBA which is led by veteren head coach Tom Heath are the favorites to be there again. It will not be an easy assignment, it never is in NJ, but the Colts seem to have the horses (excuse the pun) to pull it off this year. Mike Mazzaccaro, who is as tough as they come is the leam leader and is the #3 returning athlete after the Rosa Bros. Mazzaccaro has thrown out some impressive numbers of his own both out on the trails (15:41 @ Holmdel / 12:43 @ VCP) as wll as on the track (4:09.53 / 9:02.46) and should be a force wherever he runs this season. Mazzaccaro has a most impressive supporting cast returning from LY led by Dan Mykityshyn and Conrad Lippert in the 2-3 spots. Mykityshyn ran 16:24 at MOC last year and both he and Lippert have broken 10:00 on the track over 3200m. In fact CBA boasts 6 guys under the 10:00 mark out of their returning 7. CBA has been ranked as high as #6 Nationally in some of the Internet XC rankings.
West-Windsor-Plainsboro North returns the you know who twins and with a potential 1-2 finish in any meet they enter, the Knights are a force. Coach Brian Gould lost arguably the best #3 runner in the state when Jon Squeri packed his bags for the frozen tundra of Syracuse, but has a solid program and senior Casey Dalrymple has progressed nicely along with junior Veer Bhalla who despite a middling Cross season ran very well on the track and is a battler..
Westfield coach Jack Martin is one of those unassuming guys who year in and year out produces quality teams and this year is no exception. The Blue Devils, who were 5th at LY's Meet of Champs bring back a solid pack of runners led by junior Jack Leahy. Leahy ran 16:18 at Holmdel and ran consistantly in the mid 16's all year. He is followed by a solid pack (1-5 spread is a little over 45 sec.)The achillies heel for Westfield may be that they are a little light on the back end. 3 of the returning top 7 had no Holmdel mark.
Defending champs, Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) took some big hits through graduation, but always seem to reload vs rebuild. Erik Lapinski will lead the way for the Ironmen.
The intersting thing about the Pre-season is that it seems that the rich stay rich. 9 out of the Top 10 are teams that finished in the top 10 at MOC and only 1 was not in LY's race.
|Also Receiving Votes:|
|Lenape (11) Delsea (9) Haddonfield (7)|
|Mt. St. Dominic, So. Bruns (5) Cherokee, No. Hunterdon (4)|
Holy Spirit, Senaca (3) Bishop Eustace (2)
|Pope John, SDA, Summit (1)|
There was a song by the Temptations back in the early '70's called "Ball of Confusion" and that is what the Girls XC outlook seems to be this year. There is no overwhelming favorite and there are most likely 4 or 5 teams who can emerge at the top on Nov. 13th.
Despite receiving only 1 first place vote, Hunterdon Central sits atop the pre-season poll with a lot of popular support. The Red Devils, who placed 5th at MOC last year, lose Rashmi Singh to graduation but return a a solid group led by senior Allison Payenski, who ran 19:42 at Holmdel (G4 race). Their 2-5 pack were all low to mid 20:00 performers, who should improve, with a 40 sec gap.
Holy Angels (Demerest) and defending Champs Hillsborough follow in a tie for the 2nd spot. Holy Angels took the 3rd spot in last year's MOC and bring back seniors Jen Molke and Emily Dunn who had Holmdel bests of 19:07 and 19:31 respectively. Holy Angels must count on big jumps from their 4 & 5 spots to hang in the upper echelon.
Coach Rich Refi and the Raiders of Hillsborough hope to repeat at the top of the podium thiis year despite losing standout Ashley Smolinka to graduation. Refi found Kelly jankowicz last year as a frosh (19:37 @ MOC) and she returns along with senior Julianna Miller (19:17 @ MOC) to give Hillsborough a solid 1-2 punch.
Even though the Caseys of Red Bank Catholic earned the 2nd highest number of 1st plae votes (3), there is such a spread of teams receiving overall votes (25) that coach Rob DeFillipis' charges are ranked 4th for the moment. Senior Molly McNamara will lead a talented squad that needs to close a substantial 1-5 gap.
Any conversation of top Girls teams in New Jersey must include Randolph. The Rams lost by a heartbreaking 1 point at MOC and must be returning with a mission. Senior Joelle Amaral, who was 6th at MOC last year will be the main cog in the Randolph wheel. She will be joined by 1st year harrier Samantha Jones. Jones, is a junior who has run 10:47.50 for 3200m on the track. Coach Len Pietrewicz appears to need a solid #5 to close a huge gap between #'s 4 & 5.
* Note - The panel that votes this poll is a group of dedicated, passionate fans who follow the sport religiously. It is made up of former coaches, athletes and one famous cleaner of clocks.
Photo: Start of 2009 MOC - Good Doggie Photo