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New Jersey Report - by Ed Grant
Oct 16, 2004

NJ teams dominate Fordham Invitational
with three team titles and all four individual golds.

Once again, New Jersey teams thoroughly dominated the Fordham Invitational at Van Cortlandt Park last Saturday, taking all four individual gold, as well as three team titles.

Christian Brothers returned to the scene of its worst beating in many a year at the Manhattan Invitational a week before and ran away with the Eastern championship race, averaging 13:06, 15 seconds under its earlier performance over the classic 2.5M course.

Chris Horel led the Colts as he finished second to Colts Neck sophomore Craig Forys in 12:49. Kevin Rogers followed immediately in 12:57, Greg Leach was 12th in 13:11, Justin Wheat 15th in 13:14, and Nick DiChiara 22nd in 13:19.

Forys won the race by 60 yards in 12:36.3, missing by seven seconds his goal of breaking the sophomore course record held by John Trautman of Monroe-Woodbury. He was also eight seconds back of the top New Jersey time at Van Cortlandt this season, run by his all-group rival Bobby Papazian of Gill-St. Bernard's at the Manhattan meet.

The other New Jersey individual winners were Eric Schaffer of Wall Township in the B race in 12:57, Matt Mitchell of Haddon Heights in C at 13:20 and James Bulnicky of Maple Shade in D at 13:40. Bridgewater-Raritan took team honors in the B race and Haddon Heights won C.

Another outstanding individual effort came from Haddonfield sophomore Mike Burke who trailed Schaffer by 10 yards in theB race ion 12:59.

New Jersey girls also enjoyed a big day with Vanessa Wright of Haddonfield winning the A race in 14:30, a time that matched the fourth-best effort at the Manhattan meet., and Ashley Higginson of Colts Neck taking the B race in 15:31.

Local league and county action was headed by the Monmouth County meet on Tuesday at the state championship course at Holmdel County Park. Most of the Fordham heroes were in this one with Forys winning again from Schaffer in 16:05.

Christian Brothers coasted to the team title, choosing to
run a team race rather than go for individual honors. Its top five finished within two seconds of each other, led by Wheat in 16:52.

In the girls' race, Christine Nelson of Red Bank---who was the 800 leg when the Bucs set a national DMR record with the Trotter twins two years ago---won by 100 yards from Higginson in 19:32. Two freshmen, Janel Parker of Freehold Twp and Lindsay Lambert of Howell, finished next in 19:52 and 20:05. The team battle was a close one with Shore topping Colts Neck, 122-138.

The other major outing scheduled for that day, the Iron Hills championship, was postponed a week by rain.

Haddonfield's decision to skip the Camden County meet in favor of the Forsham affair spoiled a major individual battle in the girls' event between two winners at the recent Shore Coaches Invitational. With Wright absent, Arianna McKinney of Highland won by 100 yards from Katie Van Horn of Triton in 19:07.

Papazian won his third straight Somerset County title on Oct. 20 at Pleasant Valley Park, finishing 150 yards ahead of Brian Dennis of Hillsboro in 15:47, which shaved 11 seconds off his own course record. The girls' title went to Amanda Smith of Pingry, who capped a someback from a summer injury with a 25 yard win over Montgomery frosh Amanda Herrmann in 19:16. Both team battles were very close, Hillsboro edging Bridgewater for the boys' title on a sixth-man comparison and Ridge topping Montgomery and Pingry in the girls' division, 61-64-65.

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