- 5,000 Meter Run - Megan Curham (Villa Walsh Academy) 17:50.03 SB; Kerry Dyke (Mount St. Mary Academy) 18:37.98; Michaela Keegan (Blair Academy) 18:55.14; Dana Klein (Gill-St. Bernard's School) 19:10.46; Emily Quinn (Gill-St. Bernard's School) 19:19.36 SB; Eliza Lawless (Blair Academy) 19:36.66;
- 5,000 Meter Run - Edward Cheserek (St. Benedict's Prep) 14:42.84; Liam Mullett (The Pingry School) 16:13.20;
GirlsThe Girls Group Championships at Holmdel Park on Saturday featured plenty of fast times and strong team performances.The tone was set for the day in the very first race, as Megan Curham of Villa Walsh won Non-Public B in 18:17, the 17th fastest time ever at Holmdel Park."I was really surprised," Curham said. "My goal was to get 18:30, so I'm really happy with that."
Curham’s time ended up as the fastest mark of the day, and also tied Ann Gladue of Bayley Ellard for the fastest time from a Morris County runner at Holmdel Park. Curham finished ahead of Kerry Dyke of Mount St. Mary’s, who ran 18:51. Dyke helped lead Mount St. Mary’s to the Non-Public B team title. Mount St. Mary’s edged out Gill St. Bernard’s, with a score of 50-58. The title marks the first time since 2003 that Mount St. Mary’s won a Group Championship, and its third overall.
In Non-Public A, Mount St. Dominic defeated two-time defending Group champion Red Bank Catholic in a close battle, 51-57. Mount St. Dominic’s 2-5 runners all finiished exactly one spot ahead of Red Bank Catholic’s 2-5 runners, and were led by freshman Juliet Kohli, who finished third overall. “It’s crazy,” Kohli said. “We knew we could win, but to actually know we did it, it’s crazy.” The Group Championship is the first state title won in Mount St. Dominic’s program history, and became just the second Essex County team to win a Group Title Individually, St. John Vianney junior Tara Connelly won the race with a personal-best of 18:40.
In Group 1, Colette Richter defended her title, finishing first in a Holmdel Park personal-best of 18:42. She finished nine seconds ahead of South Hunterdon freshman Kelly Shaffer. "Holmdel is one of my favorite courses, and I got my Holmdel PR which I'm really happy about and wasn't expecting it," Richter said. "I never thought I'd win it two years (in a row) so it's a really good feeling."
On the team side, Metuchen won its first Group championship since 2006, and second all-time. “I’m almost speechless,” Metuchen coach Kelli Holleran said. “They just went after it today.” Metuchen edged out Pitman, 86-98, mainly due to its tight pack. Just 37 seconds and 12 places separated Metuchen’s first runner, Courtney Marraro, and its fifth runner, Anna Lignell.
In Group 2, Voorhees won its ninth Group championship ever, tying them with Mater Dei for third all-time. They finished by running the fastest team average of the day, 19:17, and placed five in the top 15. Clarissa Modde and Nisa Cicitta led the team, placing second and third, respectively.
“Our goal was to win the meet,” Voorhees coach Justina Cassavell said. “A couple of girls stepped up today and hopefully we can put it all together for (Meet of Champions).” Modde and Cicitta ran 18:43 and 18:49, respectively, but could not catch High Point’s Sarah Disanza, who won the individual title in 18:29.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Disanza said. “I’ve been working so hard.” Disanza’s first-place finish gives her a conference, county, sectional, and state title for this season.
In Group 3, Mackenzie Barry won her second straight Group title, and led Mendham to win its first Group championship since 2010. “I’m really excited for our team,” Barry said. “We have such a stronger team than last year and we keep getting better and better.” Along with Barry, Abby Seel and Regan Kolakowski led Mendham with a strong pack of three, as they finished fourth and seventh, respectively, and helped Mendham run the third-fastest team average of the day, 19:35. Barry’s time of 18:26 was the third fastest of the day. Tenafly’s Josette Norris and Nottingham’s Grace Dwyer, finished second and third and ran 18:44 and 18:54, respectively.
Group 4 had one of the fastest races of the day, with Bridgewater-Raritan’s Marisa Ruskan running 18:22 to beat Hillsborough’s Kelly Janokowicz, who finished in 18:26. Ruskan has now won seven straight races this year, and it was her first Group championship victory.
“"I knew I would have a pretty decent field today," Ruskan said. "My game plan was to stay with them the whole time and hopefully toward the end if I had it in me to pull ahead and maintain the lead. And that plan really did work out for me."
On the team side, Hillsborough won its third straight Group 4 title, averaging the second fastest time of the day, 19:28. "It's exciting," Janokowicz said. "This is when you want to win as a team, so I'm happy with how we performed today, everyone did their part." Hillsborough placed two in the top five, with freshman Stephanie Mauer coming behind Janokowicz in fifth place, with a time of 18:52.
I'm just so happy for these girls," Hillsborough coach Rich Refi said. “They got out well and just kept moving up."
Christian Brothers Academy took down two records as the No. 1 team in the nation produced the greatest performance in Holmdel Park history with a mind-boggling finish, Haddon Township and Holmdel repeated in comeback fashion, Kingsway and West Windsor-Plainsboro South won for the first time, Pingry won big, and Tom O’Neill and Shawn Wilson tore apart the course to highlight action at last Saturday’s NJSIAA Group Championships.
Here is a look at each race.
NON PUBLIC A
This was all about CBA, which once again showed why it may go down as the greatest team in U.S. history with a performance that really didn’t seem possible off a slow pace. After a 5:28 opening mile and a 5:16 second mile, CBA’s pack hammered the final mile and came charging across the line in rapid fire fashion, taking places 2-3-4-5-6 behind RBC senior Rob Napolitano, who won in 15:59.
CBA, led by runner-up Mike McClemens who was second in 16;00, had just a seven second spread from 1-5 as it averaged a course record 16:03.2, just under the old record of 16:03.9 set by CBA last year at the M of C.
CBA finished with 20 points, 40 ahead of runner-up and arch rival Don Bosco Prep, which averaged 16:23.8, the second fastest of the day.
It was the third straight title for CBA and state record 24th overall. CBA had shared the state record of 23 with Bernards.
The individual battle was the most dramatic of the day as Napolitano sat right on the leaders the whole race before using his superior wheels to get past McClemens with about 30 meters left to win his first state title and break the RBC school record with his 15:59.
Looking ahead, CBA and Don Bosco will meet again at the 41st Meet of Champions on Wednesday at Holmdel, but because both teams will also be running in Saturday's Nike Northeast Regional at Bowdoin Park in N.Y., there is a chance that neither team will send out its best lineups at the M of C. CBA has won the last two M of C titles and a state record 17 in all.
NON PUBLIC B
First-year cross-country runner Josiah Hanko of Trinity Christian avenged an early season loss when he knocked off defending champion Liam Mullett of Pingry, but Mullett still got to celebrate a victory as he led his team to its first title in six years.
Hanko, a junior who gave up soccer to run this season, turned the tables on Mullett, who beat Hanko by 45 seconds at the Shore Coaches meet at Holmdel last month. This time, Hanko didn’t go out as fast, and had much more left after the bowl when he made moved ahead of Mullett and pounded out a victory in 16:04. Mullett, a junior, was second in 16:11, 10 seconds slower than his Holmdel best.
Mullett’s second place finish ignited a 2-3-7 finish for Pingry, which rolled to a 62-93 win over Morris Catholic for Pingry's first state title since 2006, and its 8th overall, which tied for the sixth most in state history.
The rest of Pingry's top five all ran Holmdel PR's. They were junior Stewart Wood, fourth in 17:12, senior Cameron Gensch, 7th in 17:19, junior Justin LeAndre, 20th in 18:04, and soph. Harrison Boyajian, 41st in 18:59.
West Windsor-Plainsboro South got the revenge and redemption is was seeking by wining its first state title, and Shawn Wilson of Cherokee got exactly what he was chasing by finishing first in 15:40.
West Windsor South, led by senior twins Dan and Jake Riff and junior Tom Vinci, finally got past nemesis Westfield with a 64-119 victory over Westfied, which had won the previous three titles.
West Windsor South, second the previous two years, attacked the trails right from the start and never fell back as Jake Riff finished fourth and Dan Riff was fifth, both in 16:11, and Vinci was 7th in 16:17 as coach Kurt Wayton's WW South pack averaged a school record 16:28.2, the 3rd fastest on the day behind No. 1 CBA and No. 2 Don Bosco Prep.
Meanwhile, Wilson, a senior who was second in Group 4 and fifth at the M of C last year in 15:45, left no doubt about the outcome as he hit the first mile in 5:12 and two miles in 10;20 to open a huge gap. His winning time of 15:40 broke the Holmdel school and Burlington County record of 15:43 set by current Cherokee assistant coach Marc Pelerin, who ran that time to win the 2001 M of C title.
Wilson felt so good about breaking Pelerin’s record that he announced after the race that because he broke that record he would skip Wednesday’s M of C to focus on this Saturday’s Foot Locker Northeast Regional at Van Cortlandt Park.
``If I didn’t break 15:43 I would have run Meet of Champions to try to break it,’’ said Wilson. ``But since I did break it I am not going to run at Meet of Champs. That record and making it to Foot Locker Nationals were my two biggest goals this season.’’
Tom O’Neill of Middletown North and Kingway stole the show in this one.
O’Neill, a junior, used a 5:06 final 1.1 to pull away from Shore Conference rival Kyle Kroon of Toms River South to win in 15:36, the top time of the day and tied for No. 15 in course history. Kroon, who missed most of the season last fall with a stress fracture, was second with a huge Holmdel PR of 15:53, the third fastest time of the day.
With Wilson opting to forego the M of C, O’Neill will be heavily favored to become the first champion from his school in the 41 year history of the meet. O’Neill will have a bust a week as he’s also planning to run at the Nike Northeast Regional next Saturday at Bowdoin Park in N.Y.
Meanwhile, Kingway, fourth last year, put two runners in the top 10 and ran its greatest race ever at Holmdel with a school record 16:55 average as it beat Morristown, 110-155, for its first state title ever.
Kingsway also advanced to the M of C for the first time it was third in Group 1 back in 1981.
The Holmdel vs. Wallkill Valley showdown was hyped as a potential instant classic. It didn’t disappoint.
Wallkill Valley got off to a great start in quest of its first state title when it packed three guys into the top 10 to grab a 16-24 lead over Holmdel. But but the back of Holmdel's pack came storming back.
Senior Eric Williams, the No. 5 man for Holmdel, sealed a second straight title for his team when he dropped a 20 second PR to finish 18th in 16:59 to beat Wallkill’s No. 4 runner by two places. That gave Holmdel a 56-63 win over Wallkill Valley for its fifth state title.
Holmdel's first six runners all PR'd as coach Sean McCafferty's team averaged a school record 16:41.
Individually, Wallkill Valley’s Craig Corti continued his amazing sophomore season by running a school record 16:07 to beat Travis Ellis of Morris Hills by four seconds to become the first state champion from Wallkill Valley.
The most impressive comeback victory of the meet belonged to Haddon Township as it won its second straight title in dramatic fashion.
Central Jersey champion Metuchen put three across the line before Haddon Township's first runner came in, putting the South Jersey champions in a big hole.
But junior Andrew Shaw led an epic comeback when he came in 12th place as Haddon Twp. went 12-13-14-15 to cut the deficit to 12 points after Metuchen and Haddon Twp. each had four runners scored. So it was all up to the No. 5 runners, and that's when jr. Chris Loper, normally the No. 6 man for Haddon Township, became a hero, finishing 31st in 18:15, 26 places ahead of Metuchen's No. 5 to complete the rally as Haddon Twp. emerged with a 77-91 win over Metuchen. It's the 8th state title for Haddon Twp., tied for the sixth most in state history.
Individually, sophomore Ben DeVenezia ran Holmdel PR of 16:23 to finish first to lead a 1-2 finish for Mountain Lakes. Junior Chris Luciano came up with a huge Holmdel PR of 16:29 to get second for Mountain Lakes.
Last year, Stephen Lewandowski, now at Clemson, finished first for Mountain Lakes.
NJRunners.com held it's 2nd Annual XC Round Table on Wednesday at the Westfield Running Company store. our panel covered a Groups Preview in this segment..
|2nd Annual New Jersey XC Round Table - Part 1||2nd Annual XC Round Table - Part 3||Josiah Hanko - Non Public "B" Boys Champion||Rob Napolitano - Non Public "A" Boys Champion|
- 5,000 Meter Run - Megan Curham (Villa Walsh Academy) 18:17.00; Marissa Ruskan (Bridgewater-Raritan HS) 18:22.00; Mackenzie Barry (Mendham HS) 18:26.00; Sarah DiSanza (High Point Reg. HS) 18:29.00; Tara Connelly (St. John Vianney HS) 18:40.00; Colette Richter (Mountain Lakes HS) 18:42.00; Kelly Janokowicz (Hillsborough HS) 18:26.00; Clarissa Modde (Voorhees HS) 18:43.00; Josette Norris (Tenafly HS) 18:44.00; Kelly Shaffer (South Hunterdon HS) 18:51.00; Kerry Dyke (Mount St. Mary Academy) 18:51.00; Courtney Thompson (St. John Vianney HS) 19:01.00; Catherine Pagano (Ridgewood HS) 18:36.00; Grace Dwyer (Nottingham HS) 18:54.00; Nisa Cicitta (Voorhees HS) 18:57.00; Dana Klein (Gill-St. Bernard's School) 19:23.00; Rachel Belmont (Bishop Ahr HS) 19:23.00; Jillian Kelly (Montgomery HS) 18:45.00; Abby Seel (Mendham HS) 19:00.00; Meghan Malloy (Haddonfield Mem. HS) 19:13.00; Emily Quinn (Gill-St. Bernard's School) 19:29.00; Juliet Kohli (Mount Saint Dominic Academy) 19:29.00; Stephanie Mauer (Hillsborough HS) 18:52.00; Emily Bushey (Vernon Twp HS) 19:04.00; Erin Seiffert (Voorhees HS) 19:19.00; Ashley Strysko (Academy Of The Holy Angels) 19:31.00; Eve Glasergreen (North Hunterdon HS) 19:01.00; Ariana North (Northern Highlands Reg. HS) 19:13.00; Laura Quintana (Bernards HS) 19:27.00; Eryn Mills (Red Bank Catholic HS) 19:40.00; Natalia Ocasio (Lenape Reg. HS) 19:13.00; Reagan Kolakowski (Mendham HS) 19:14.00; Lauren Sapone (Red Bank Reg. HS) 19:29.00; Lydon Kersting (Academy Of The Holy Angels) 19:40.00; Chris Rutkowski (Middletown South HS) 19:14.00; Carole Harsch (Randolph HS) 19:19.00; Marin Warner (Holmdel HS) 19:30.00; Claudia DiSomma (Sparta HS) 19:20.00; Vickie Ajimoko (Williamstown HS) 19:22.00; Shannon Carney (Voorhees HS) 19:31.00; Lauren Zodl (Pinelands Reg. HS) 19:21.00; Brianne Roche (Freehold Twp HS) 19:29.00; Lennon Cooper (Holmdel HS) 19:36.00; Paige Macauley (Seneca HS) 19:23.00; Karah O'Halloran (Toms River North HS) 19:29.00; Zoe Wojtech (Bernards HS) 19:37.00; Julia Guerra (Indian Hills HS) 19:24.00; Kaitlyn Bedard (Hunterdon Central HS) 19:30.00; Jacqueline Gottuso (Rumson-Fair Haven HS) 19:40.00; Christine O'Kane (Morristown HS) 19:25.00; Ciara Roche (Freehold Twp HS) 19:30.00; Shelby Cain (Haddonfield Mem. HS) 19:43.00; Alexandra Christian (Mount Olive HS) 19:31.00; Erika Alzamora (Kearny HS) 19:33.00; Mary Kate Brelsford (Ocean City HS) 19:31.00; Julia Deen (W Windsor-Plainsboro So. HS) 19:36.00; Mara Schiffhauer (Seneca HS) 19:35.00; Sarah Decker (Watchung Hills Reg. HS) 19:44.00; Olivia Viparina (Roxbury HS) 19:45.00;
- 5,000 Meter Run - Tom O'Neil (Middletown North HS) 15:36.00; Shawn Wilson (Cherokee HS) 15:40.00; Rob Napolitano (Red Bank Catholic HS) 15:59.00; Josiah Hanko (Trinity Christian School) 16:04.00; Craig Corti (Wallkill Valley HS) 16:07.00; Ben Devenezia (Mountain Lakes HS) 16:23.00; Kyle Kroon (Toms River South HS) 15:53.00; Mike McClemens (Christian Brothers Academy) 16:00.00; Dylan Tarpey (Freehold Twp HS) 16:03.00; Travis Ellis (Morris Hills HS) 16:11.00; Liam Mullett (The Pingry School) 16:11.00; Chris Luciano (Mountain Lakes HS) 16:29.00; William Bragg (Christian Brothers Academy) 16:00.00; Robert Stone (Millburn HS) 16:08.00 SB; Matthew Luppino (Westfield HS) 16:10.00; Jack Baisley (Holmdel HS) 16:13.00; Tom Rooney (Christian Brothers Academy) 16:03.00; Jacob Riff (W Windsor-Plainsboro So. HS) 16:11.00; Greg Halla (Haddonfield Mem. HS) 16:13.00; Steve Maine (Highland Reg HS) 16:13.00; Fran Bogan (Christian Brothers Academy) 16:06.00; Dan Riff (W Windsor-Plainsboro So. HS) 16:11.00; Ryan Chiesa (Wallkill Valley HS) 16:14.00; Chris Marco (Toms River South HS) 16:18.00; Jack Boyle (Christian Brothers Academy) 16:07.00; Kevin Summonte (Freehold Twp HS) 16:15.00; Jimmy Daniels (Sterling HS) 16:17.00; Luke Dermody (Hightstown HS) 16:27.00; Kyle Levermore (Don Bosco Prep) 16:09.00; Thomas Vinci (W Windsor-Plainsboro So. HS) 16:17.00; Chris Montgomery (Lenape Valley HS) 16:25.00; Ryan Magnus (Kingsway Reg. HS) 16:30.00; Michael Higgins (Don Bosco Prep) 16:09.00; Nicholas McFarland (Hillsborough HS) 16:22.00; Robert Townsend (Don Bosco Prep) 16:17.00; David Folsom (North Hunterdon HS) 16:23.00; Kyle Kirk (Camden Catholic HS) 16:18.00; Kyle Leonard (Washington Twp HS) 16:24.00; Christopher Hatler (Pope John XXIII HS) 16:21.00; Eddie Cunningham (West Windsor-Plainsboro North HS) 16:28.00; Mike Flanagan (Don Bosco Prep) 16:23.00; Julian Greco (Lenape Reg. HS) 16:28.00; Aaron Liberatore (Christian Brothers Academy) 16:26.00;
Cover Photo: Voorhees HS Girls
Group 2 Champions, Top Team Performance
Photo by: Doug Tack for NJRunners,com