September 28 Report
Craig Forys of Colts Neck, one-half of New Jersey’s hopes for a sweep of Foot Locker honors this year, got his major cross-country season under way on a high note as he ran away with the Spiked Shoe Invitational in record time last Saturday at Penn State.
Forys won the race by some 200 yards in 15:20.6 and also led the Cougars to a 123-151 win over Abington Heights, Pa. Brandon Krewer was 9th for Colts Neck in 16:29 and Jason Weiner 20th in 16:56. The Colts Neck girls got seconds in both individual and team action with Ashley Higginson finishing 125 yards behind Hannah Davidson of Saratoga Springs in 17:49.7 in a 32-127 loss to the upstate New Yorkers. The Cougars ran without soph star Brianna Jackucewicz.
The Passaic County Coaches Invitational at Garret Mountain, West Paterson, provided the highlights on the instate action. In the girls’ meet, Roxbury and Morris Knolls began another season of almost weekly meetings with the Gaels, defending all-group champions, scoring a 54-78 victory in the Gr. IV race as junior Lauren Penney defeated Kim Standridge of Randolph in 19:07, best of the day. Teammates Ashley Cromartie and Ariann Neutts finished 6-7 in 19:40 and 19:42, while soph Tori Berard led Knolls in third at 19:26.
All the winning girls’ performances at Garret were first class. Abby Hinds of Mountain Lakes won for the fourth year in a row, this time in Gr. II by 30 yards from Molly Kempton of Msgr. Donovan in 19:14. Hinds, who has won the state Gr. I race the last two years, runs only cross-country, devoting the sprint season to her father’s lacrosse team (no further comment necessary), but she would be a prime Div. I talent if she decides, hopefully, to devote her college career to running without a stick in her hand. MonDon won the meet handily from Mt. Lakes, 35-84 with fellow juniors Brianna Crowe and Amanda Cavalla backing up Kempton in fourth and fifth places at 20:20 and 20:29.
Christina Valerio of West Milford was also a repeat winner in Gr. III in 19:16, finishing 100 yards ahead of sub-11:00 3200 runner Kesley Ramsey of Ramapo (NJ), but Middletown South scored a close team win, 44-49, over the Highlanders. The same thing happened in Gr. I where Elizabeth Campbell of Mt. St. Mary’s finished almost a minute ahead of defending Parochial B champ Marie Walsh in 19:35, but Walsh, from third place, led Mater Dei to a 37-43 win over the Mountain Lions.
There were two upsets in the boys’ action. Individually, Kyle Soloff of Morris Hills, lone regular remaining from the Knights’ Gr. III champions (and National entry) of 2005, won a hot duel from state Prep champ (and race defender) Brandon Jarrett of St. Benedict’s in 15:58. But, once again, the loser’s team prevailed, defeating Morris Hills, 46-55, to make a real claim to Top Ten status in New Jersey with three more boys in the top 15 finishers.
The team surprise came in Gr. IV where Ridgewood easily defeated visiting Christian Brothers, 47-98, Toms River East also finishing ahead of the perennial NJ all-group champs with 98 points. Zach Bahor of Randolph won the race by 10 yards from Dan Emont of Ridgewood in 1629 with the Maroon putting three more in the top 15 as only Chris Lombardi ran according to pre-meet form for the Colts, placing fourth in 16:44. Two CBA runners were faster in an easy JV win than their second man in the varsity.
Nick Miehe of DePaul scored his second win of the young season as he took the C race by 100 yards from Ted Brinkofski of Bishop Ahr in 16:30, but Brinkofski joined the list of losers leading a team win as the Trojans defeated North Warren 109-114. And it happened as well in the Gr. I race with Mike Sorok heading a 53-73 win for Kinnelon over Keansburg after finishing 150 yards behind Andy Patton who won for Tom Fleming’s Montclair-Kimberley team in 16:47.
Tom Poland of Delbarton and Nicol Traynor of Ridge were the lead runners in the state’s oldest class meet, the Magee Memorial at Warinanco Park, Elizabeth. Poland took the boys; senior race by 125 yards from Chris Gonzalez of Franklin in 16:19 and Traynor won the girls’ senior event by 150 yards from Kristen Cupido of Bridgewater, leading an overall team win as well as the Red Devils (who wear green and white) showed they will be a major factor in Gr. III this fall.
Andrew Brodeur of Brick Memorial took junior honors for the boys at 16:40 and George Galasso of Holmdel the soph event at 17:31.
Dale Kinney of Morristown had her second win of the season in the girls’ freshman race and came within four seconds of the 2.2M course record at 13:12, indicating again that she will be a major challenger in the tough Morris County race next month. Scotch Plains took the soph and junior girls events with Brittany Veeck running 20:25 and Cassy Valdes 20:27.
Erin Comerford of East Brunswick and Jamel Parker of Freehold Twp led the action in the Battle of Monmouth class meet at that revolutionary war commemoration (think Molly Pitcher) in Tinton Falls. Comerford won the senior girls race in 19:53 and Parker the junior event in 19:56. The soph winner was Parker’s teammate Allyson Moskal in 20:31. The boys’ winners were senior Jeff Wray of Princeton in 19:36, junior J.J. Caffarelli of Highland in 17:13 and Pat O’Boyle of Mater Dei in 17:27.
In other out-of-state forays, state Prep champ Rachel Provost of Peddie won the Canterbury Invitational in Milford Ct., in a record 19:35 with younger sister Melissa third in 20:12, Amanda Marino of Jackson was 12th in the title race at the Great American Meet in Hoover, Ala., in 19:23 and Stacey Bond of Ramsey and Jen Bain of Ramsey were 3rd and 6th in the Varsity 2 race at the Red Raider Invitational in New York’s Anthony Wayne Park in 20:56 and 21:44.
This weekend is light one in the state, featured by New Jersey’s oldest invitational, the Stewart Memorial (nee Turkey Trot) at Warinanco Park on Saturday and, on Friday, the Maroon Invitational at Garret Mountain and the Cougar Invitational at Buck Mills Park where Forys and Higginson will be overwhelming favorites in the A races on their home course.
Finally, a personal note. The many track and field friends of Larry Sullivan, who left us suddenly 15 months ago, might be interested to know that his oldest grandson, Patrick Farrell (who lost his father in the Twin Towers tragedy) made his cross-country debut at the Magee meet, finishing creditable 13th place among 200 in the freshman race. His conversion from soccer to cross-country was no doubt facilitated by a visit last all to the NCAA cross-country meet where he spent most of the weekend with Jason Vigilante’s Texas team.
September 21 Report
The 2006 cross-country season is barely under way in New Jersey, but already there have been significant developments on both the team and individual front.
In the Regis Invitational at Van Cortlandt Park on Sept. 16, New Jersey teams took the top three places with Don Bosco, the pre-season favorite for the boys’ all-group title, defeating Jackson and Pope John, 57-65-80. It was, however, not a conclusive victory with the Ironmen running without their No. 3, Colin McCullough, currently sidelined by an injury, and Pope John choosing to go without its top pair of Jeremy Scheid and Tom Roy.
Kris Carle of Jackson, who is the second highest returnee from last year’s all-group race, finished second to Max Kasak of Byram Hills in 13:01 with teammate Ryan Fenimore 4th in 13:16. But Don Bosco had four in the top 12 with Jason Baker and Conor Sullivan going 5-6 in 13:31 and 13:34.
At the Cherokee Challenge class meet, there was a preview of November’s Gr. II girls’ championship race with Haddonfield and Summit facing off basically in the freshman and sophomore races. Haddonfield is both defender and favorite for that title, but a comparison of times on the 3200M course last Saturday would have given Summit a 26-29 win even though its veteran star, Samantha Lee, is still on the mend from a summer injury.
This meet drew the highest level of talent last weekend with the senior race showcasing three all state candidates, Amanda Goetschius of Delsea defeating Laura Gallo of Cranford and Megan Fitzpatrick of Hopewell Valley in 11:28. The junior race went to Brianna Rogers of Moorestown, who made a long-delayed cross-country debut with a 50-yard win over Alison Weeks of Cherokee in 10:46. Rogers had played soccer as a freshman, run brilliantly that spring with a sub-11:00 3200, then lost her entire junior year to a club soccer injury during the 2004 track season.
The freshman race, however, almost stole the show as Chelsea Ley of Kingsway had the second-fastest 3200 of the day at 11:36, followed by Marielle Hall of Haddonfield at 11:48 and Kearsley Olcott of Summit at 11:54.
Girls’ freshman action has been one of the features of the season to date. Dale Kinney of Morristown scored a notable victory in the varsity race at the St. Dominic Academy Invitational at Jersey City’s Lincoln Park, finishing 125 yards ahead of Katie Kellner of West Windsor-Plainsboro South in 19:55 with 2005 Parochial B champion Marie Walsh of Mater Dei another 175 yards back in fourth place. Kinney has also defeated Lauren Penney of Roxbury in an Iron Hills Conference “batch” race.
Brandon Jarrett of St. Benedict’s was the only one of the state’s top four boy runners in action last weekend, easily defending his title at the Newark Academy Invitational with a 100-yard win over James Grimes of Chatham in 15:16 on the 3.02M course. Jarrett also led the Gray Bees to a repeat team victory, 32-61 over the Cougars.
The bad weather last Friday forced postponement of the Roxbury Invitational to Oct. 21, but the Season Opener was held at Darlington Park with Vernon and Leonia taking the boys’ titles and Holy Angels and St. Rose the girls events. The team winners at St. Dominic’s were Notre Dame for the boys and defending Parochial A champ Red Bank Catholic for the girls. Nicke Miehe of DePaul won the boys’ race from Liam Mulcahy of Morristown by 75 yards in 17:19 on the 3.3M course.
The Ridgewood boys skipped the Season Opener in their backyard, making their annual trip to the Briarwood Invitational at Philadelphia’s Fairmont Park where they won the Division I consolation race, 46-56, over Haverford. Dan Emont was 2nd in 16:37 and Niall Buckley 4th in 16:40. Asha Singh of Hunterdon Central was third in the girls’ championship race in 20:05.
The wipeout of the Randolph meet added some talent to the Roxbury class meet the next day. But it was the usual castoff characters that took top honors there. Penney won the junior-senior girls’ race in 18:17 and sophomore teammate Ariann Neutts scored in 19:47. Ed Sheridan and Doug Jankowski went 1-2 in the boys’ junior-senior race over Tom Poland of Delbarton in 16:08 and Mike Franklin led a 1-2-3 finish for Mendham in the soph event in 17:13.
Ocean City had two winners in the Cherokee boys’ events, John Fennekohl taking the senior race in 9:54 and Brett Johnson leading the sophs in 10:07. But the junior race stole the show with Brian Leung of WW-Plainsboro South topping Alex Yersak of Cherokee in 9:47.
Among the missing last weekend were the Colts Neck boys and girls’ teams which both have their eyes set on all-group honors this season, as well as Danielle Tauro of Southern Ocean, the defending all-group individual champ, who will ease into this campaign after an extended track season which ended with the World Juniors in August in China.
Christian Brothers, winner of the last three boys’ all-group titles, also took the weekend off from competition, but will be at the Magee Memorial class meet this Saturday at Warinanco Park. Also on this weekend’s schedule are the Passaic County Coaches meet at Garret Mountain, West Paterson; the Battle of Monmouth class meet at the Monmouth Battlefield in Tinton Falls, the South Jersey Shootout at Gloucester County College and, of course, the Great American meet which has drawn a slim New Jersey entry.
Finally, it has been announced that the state group and all-group meets, as well as the massive Shore Coaches Invitational on Oct. 7, will be at Holmdel County Park again this year. Parking arrangements for the Shore Coaches and group meets, however, will change with spectators required to park at the nearby Garden State Arts Center and using a bus shuttle to the park. The Central Jersey sectional meet on Nov. 4 has been moved to Thompson Park, Jamesburg, site of the Middlesex County meet. Old Bridge High School will sponsor an invitational meet there Oct. 14 so schools from other counties can familiarize themselves with the course.