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Ed Grant's NJ MOC Report

Forys (Course Record) and Tauro are fast repeat winners

Saturday, November 18, 2006 Holmdel Park, Holmdel NJ

By Ed Grant

Michigan-bound Craig Forys of Colts Neck and Danielle Tauro of Southern Ocean Regional scored repeat victories in the 35th annual New Jersey all-group cross-country championships today (Nov. 18) at Holmdel County Park.

Forys also shattered the course record as he won the boys’ race by 150 yards from Matt Ciambriello of Old Bridge in 15:15.2, a second faster than Jason DiJoseph of Paul VI had run in the Parochial A race in 1988. Tauro was 11.5 seconds off the girls’ mark of 17:35.5 set by Janet Smith of North Edison in 1983, the year she won the Foot Locker (then Kinney) national title.

Next step for both youngsters is the Foot Locker Northeast meet at Van Cortlandt Park next Saturday. Tauro qualified a year ago and ran sixth in the nationals, the beginning of a junior campaign which saw her win the Millrose, Penn Relays and Nike Outdoor interscholastic miles and then take the USATF Junior title which qualified her for the IAAF World Championships in China in August.

Because of this late finish to that outdoor season, Tauro had skipped the first seven weeks of this cross-country season, returning to win the sectional and group titles the last two weekends. The race today was a repeat of her Gr. IV victory last Saturday over Ashley Higginson of Colts Neck, who again finished a close second in 17:50.

The race saw a record 16 girls finish at 19:00 or faster. Theresa Cattuna of Cherry Hill East followed Higginson over the line, 150 yards back in 18:19, trailed by Amanda Marino of Jackson in 18:22, Parochial A champ Lara Heigis of Pope John in 18:27, Higginson’s sophomore teammate Brianna Jackucewicz in 18:30, and Gr. III champ Melanie Thompson of Voorhees in 18:35.0

Colts Neck had an easy team win, 80-146 over Voorhees, with an average of 19:11.2 – three seconds off the record set by Roxbury a year ago. Voorhees, the Gr. III champion, was followed by Red Bank Catholic, Roxbury and Pope John, the last two having qualified last week as “wild cards,” placing fourth in their group races.

Forys got involved in another time controversy as his official time was rounded up to 15:16. A month ago, in the Manhattan Invitational he had broken the 23-year-old record for the Van Cortlandt Park 2.5-mile course, running 12:10.8, only to have Tom Gruenewald of Fayetteville-Manlius run 12:10.7 in a subsequent race. There was no rounding of times at that meet.

Ciambriello caught Gill St. Bernard’s sophomore Doug Smith just before the finish line to finish second in 15:46 and Tom Poland of Delbarton as another second back in fourth. Christian Gonzalez of Franklin, the most improved runner in the state, placed fifth in 15:55, just ahead of Kris Carle of Jackson, who led his team to a surprisingly easy win over Don Bosco, 67-135.

The key to the Jackson triumph---like Colts Neck a first-time winner--- was the 17th place finish of Ryan Fenimore. He had taken sick in the middle of the Gr. IV race last week, costing his team heavily in a loss to Old Bridge. His team place today was fourth, the race being thoroughly dominated by individual entries who do not count in the scoring. Haddonfield finished third with two freshmen in its lineup, followed by Ridge and Christian Brothers, the defending champion.

The individual finishes were very much according to pre-race form. The first six boys and first seven girls were sure-shot all-state choices before the gun was fired in either race. A seventh certain all-state boy was not present, Brandon Jarrett of St. Benedict’s, who is the state prep school “A” champion and not eligible for this meet as only an affiliate member of the NJSIAA. He will join the others next Saturday in what promises to be a big day for New Jersey runners at Van Cortlandt.