A Quick Look @ Shore Coaches' Boys
Special to NJRunners.com
The top distance runner in the country won’t be running, and the No. 1 team in the nation is holding out its top guns. So what does the absence of national champions Edward Cheserek of St. Benedict’s Prep, who has yet to open his season, and Christian Brothers Academy’s A team mean for Saturday's Shore Coaches Invitational?
One thing it means is that there is now a great opportunity for other runners and teams to grab the spotlight at Holmdel Park. Among those looking to make a big splash on the state championship course will be Andy Adamovics of Montgomery and Tom O’Neill of Middletown North, who will square off in the A Division race. Adamovics and O’Neill, both off to great starts this season, are runners that the hard core running community may be familiar with, but they certainly qualify as guys who are a still a bit under the statewide radar.
But that would certainly change with a big performance on Saturday when the whole state is watching.
``Yeah, I can say that I’d like to be be to one of those people that everyone knows about, and it’s something to be motivated for,’’ said Adamovics, 28th as a junior at the Meet of Champions last year in 16:20..9. ``Obviously people you compete against and who really follow the results know who you are, but it’s not like you’re on the radar of everyone’s mined. I’d like to get at that point. It’s just another reason to be more motivated to get there. This is high scale meet, and if you were to do something spectacular they’d definitely consider you later on in the bigger meets. This will be the first real big meet of the start of the championship part of the season. It’s the most important meet of the season so far. It’s definitely a good meet to go out and prove a point.’’
Proving a point is something O’Neill will also be trying to do as he seeks to avenge his only loss this season. O’Neill, a junior, was second behind Adamovics by 11 seconds at the season opening Randolph Invitational.
``That was the first race of the season and I didn’t really run a well as I know that I could have,’’ said O’Neill, whose best time at Holmdel last year was 16:45. ``But I feel like that I am ready to run a fast race. I want to try to go under 15:50.’’
O’Neill is feeling pretty confident about the rematch because of what he did last week. At the Passaic Coaches Invitational last Saturday at Garret Mountain in Woodland Park, O‘Neill burned a 15:47, No. 10 in course history, to win the Group 4 race.
``I was trying to run as fast a I could last week,’’ said O’Neill. ``I will be trying to do the same thing on Saturday. The race last week gave me lots of confidence.’’ With O’Neill and Adamovics pushing the pace, one of them could produce the top time of the day. I think that would put them on everyone’s radar!
A guy who is firmly on the national radar will also be in action as 2011 Nike National finalist Ben Malone of Pascack Valley, third at the Meet of Champions last year, will hook up with Nick Costello of Delsea in the C race.
Malone, the national indoor champion in the 800 last winter, had a low key first month of the season while Costello has racked up some impressive wins at major invitationals, such as the South Jersey Open last Saturday where he burned a 15:33, No. 7 in course history at Delsea. There are also some talented runners in the Championship Division who could dip under 16, led by Non Public rivals Chris Hatler of Pope John and Rob Napolitano of Red Bank Catholic.
As far as the team competition is concerned, the boys Championship Division is loaded with many of New Jersey’s best going toe-to-toe with New York juggernaut Northport, ranked 15th in the nation. Among the top N.J. teams seeking to knockoff Northport are Pope John, Wallkill Valley, West Windsor-Plainsboro South, Holmdel, Morris Hills, Haddonfield, Old Bridge, Morristown, and St. Peter’s Prep. CBA will be running a B team in the Championship Division as its top runners prepare to defend its title in the Eastern States race at the Manhatan Invitational on Oct. 13 at Van Cortlandt Park.
Follow the action on the Shore Coaches Meet Page