CBA defeats Colts Neck and Manalapan to run streak to 293
The streak lives on as Christian Brothers Academy scored a pair of victories in a tri-meet Tuesday over Colts Neck and Manalapan at Manalapan High School.
Sticking to its strategy of letting the top runner from Manalapan, All-Stater Robby Andrews, and the Colts Neck duo of Mark Leininger and Mike O’Dowd battle up front, Christian Brothers kept its pack tight and grabbed places three through nine to secure a 25-36 win over Colts Neck and a 20-42 decision over Manalapan. That extended CBA’s national dual meet winning streak to 293. Manalapan defeated Colts Neck, 27-28.
Christian Brothers hasn’t lost a dual meet since dropping a 15-49 verdict to Raritan on Oct, 20, 1973. The streak began with a 15-50 win over Marist on Sept. 19, 1974. CBA coach Tom Heath has been the only coach during the streak, taking over the helm at his alma mater in 1971.
Andrews, a senior who has started off the season with a bang, won the race in 16:13. Andrews was coming off an impressive victory in 9:38 in the Senior Race over 3,200 meters at the Cherokee Challenge last Saturday in Marlton.
Leininger crossed second in 16:14 followed by O’Dowd, third in 16:41. CBA’s swarm of six then came across the line together in 16:54. CBA’s top six were Mike Mazzaccaro, Dan Mykityshyn, Dan Bailey, Dennis Smith, Brendan Swan and Mark Lee. CBA’s No. 7 man, Peter Costa, was 11th in 17:10.
After last Saturday, Colts Neck and other teams will have tougher time than thought in ending the historic run
There was a lot of buzz before this season started that Christian Brothers Academy’s national record dual meet winning streak could end today.
But after what CBA did last Saturday, there seems to be no doubt that Tom Heath’s pack from Lincroft, New Jersey, will extend that streak to 293 this afternoon when Christian Brothers takes on Colts Neck and Manalapan in a tri-meet at Manalapan.
Considering that CBA’s top five runners from a team that was second at the Meet of Champions last fall graduated, and Colts Neck was bringing back its entire seven, it certainly seemed realistic that CBA’s magical mark had a chance of being snapped.
But Heath’s young and talented stable of runners pretty much ended such speculation when CBA, unranked both nationally and in the Northeast at the time, pulled off a shocking victory at the Bowdoin Classic last Saturday in Wappingers Falls, N.Y.
CBA, led by sophomores Mike Mazzaccaro and Dan Mykityshyn, won the team title with 80 points, 14 more than runner-up Shenendehowa, ranked No. 4 in the nation and No. 1 in New York at the time. Meanwhile, Colts Neck placed 10th with 245 points.
``I know we surprised a lot of teams with what we did, but I wasn’t surprised,’’ said Heath, a 1965 graduate of CBA, where he’s been the head coach since 1971. ``I knew these guys were going to be really good. The fact that no one else did is okay. And to tell you the truth, we can run even better than we did on Saturday.’’
Colts Neck coach Jim Schlentz felt coming into the season that he could threaten to snap CBA’s magical mark, but he’s being realistic.
``We felt that the only way we could do it is if we went 1-2-3 on them, but when Jason Weiner got hurt (out for season after surgery) we realized that was going to be very difficult to do.’’
Then came the Bowdoin meet.
``I was kind of shocked at how they ran,’’ Schlentz said of CBA. ``A lot of people were.’’
Colts Neck figures to put two runners, senior Mark Leininger and sophomore Mike O’Dowd, ahead of CBA’s first runner, but then CBA’s swarming pack could put seven or more runners in front of Colts Neck’s third man.
Schlentz is very familiar with CBA’s streak.
On October 20, 1981, Schlentz was coaching at St. John Vianney and brought a powerhouse team to Lincroft for a dual meet, seeking to end CBA’s run at 93. CBA prevailed in what was perhaps the greatest dual meet in state history. CBA and St. John Vianney were deadlocked at 28-28 after each team had five runners across. But the late John Vickers crossed the line in 15:40, 16 seconds ahead of St. John Vianney’s sixth man, Frank Rainsford, to save the streak as CBA won on a sixth-runner tiebreaker.
Then two years ago, Schelntz’s Colts Neck team, led by All-America Craig Forys, finished 1-2 in its dual with CBA, but CBA grabbed the next seven spots to win, 25-36.
``There are three main factors that have made CBA a great program for so long,’’ said Schlentz,. ``They have had great coaching, a great work ethic and they just kill you with numbers.’’
Heath, the most successful coach in New Jersey history with a state record 15 M of C cross-country titles, has a special place in his heart for the streak.
``The streak is very important to us,’’ said Heath, who hasn’t sufferred a dual meet loss in nearly 35 years. ``It’s something the school and the alumni and every team I’ve coached takes a lot of pride it. We’ll go out there today looking to keep in going just like we do each time we race.’’
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Oct. 20, 1973 – CBA lost to Raritan, led by current Shore Regional coach Mel Ullmeyer, 15-49. It hasn’t lost since.
- Sept. 19, 1974 – CBA’s streak begins with a 15-50 victory over Marist.
- Oct. 20, 1981 – CBA wins thrilling sixth-runner tiebreaker over St. John Vianney to extend the streak to 94.
- Sept. 28, 2004 – CBA defeats Marlboro, 20-43, to tie Blackstone-Millville of Massachusetts for the national record for consecutive dual meet wins with 265.
- Sept. 30, 2004 – CBA scores a 15-50 win over Middletown North to break the national record with its 266th victory in a row. Blackstone-Millville set the record in 1992.
- Oct. 3, 2006 – CBA overcomes a 1-2 finish by Colts Neck to win its 281st in a row, 25-36.
- Today – CBA takes on Manalapan and Colts Neck in Manalapan as it seeks to extend its national record to 293 victories in a row.