Manhattan XC Invitational

Saturday -- October 14th -- 2006

Van Cortlandt Park
New York, NY

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"It's Just a Great Day To Be On The Course"

Dual Record Smashing for Boys, Huge Upset for
Eastern Girls During a Thrilling Day at Vanny

By Rich Gonzalez

(BRONX, NY) -- During a thrilling afternoon of cross-country action highlighted by record levels in both quality and depth, Colts Neck High senior Craig Forys snared the spotlight by blazing to a smash a course record that had stood for 23 years.
      A full 23 years of everyone chasing it; less than 23 minutes for Forys to savor it.
      As Forys was busy answering post-race questions from a small horde of assembled media, Fayetteville-Manlius' Tommy Gruenewald could be spotted less than 70 yards away, storming past the finish stripe in a separate race -- slicing an additional tenth of a second off Forys' now short-lived standard.
    Gruenewald was officially credited with the record time of 12 minutes, 10.6 seconds, with Forys next at 12:10.7. The previous course record of 12:15.7 was set in Brad Hudson in 1983, with Victor Gras' meet record 12:17.1 established at the 2003 affair. 
     "It's crazy," said Forys when learning Gruenewald's announced time was being unofficially credited as one second faster than his. "It's just a great day to be on the course."
    The NTN Southeast Region girls teams would quickly agree.
    In what many would deem as an enormous upset, Midlothian of Virginia and Eleanor Roosevelt of Maryland claimed the top two team places, and Tatnall of Delaware placed fifth, as Southeast Region teams claimed 3 of the top 5 places. 2004 NTN champion Saratoga Springs and 2005 NTN winner Hilton placed 3rd and 4th, respectively, from a Northeast Region that some were claiming was best in the nation. Hilton entered the race ranked #1 in the nation by The Harrier magazine's High School Cross-Country Report. Roosevelt arrived ranked 7th nationally; Saratoga Springs was 10th and Midlothian way down in 18th. (more)

The Midlothian VA Girls (below) won the Eastern States Girls. Open Photo
The Shenendehowa NY boys were the fastest of the day. Open Photo

    Midlothian, which had no girl finish among the top dozen runners in the featured Eastern States Championship race, did boast three among the top 20 to score 148 points, well ahead of runner-up Eleanor Roosevelt's 172. Saratoga Springs (190) and Hilton (203) topped the New York schools, but it appears 6th-place team finisher Fayetteville-Manlius might be just as good.
    F-M coach Bill Aris had one girl win a junior varsity in impressive fashion earlier in the day; had her time been figured into the Eastern States race results, F-M) would estimate to be within 5 points (either way) of the two New York teams. Incomplete results beyond the top 40 as of "press time" could not confirm the adjusted scores yet with absolute certainty.
    Saratoga Springs' Hannah Davidson, who endured a tough emotional week with news of the passing away of two relatives in separate situations, put forth an inspired effort to claim top individual honors in the Eastern States challenge. Her winning time of 14:14.7 was eighth-fastest in meet history, and third-fastest among runners from her school (Saratoga Springs alum Nicole Blood owns the 13:57.0 course record established in 2004, with Erin Davis fifth in 14:13.0 in 1994).  Davidson out-sprinted Colts Neck's Ashley Higginson, who placed second in 14:16.0. Suffern's Shelby Greany (14:18.0) was the only other girl to break 14:25.
    Although leading boys teams were sprinkled among the seven heats, it was not difficult to ascertain the leading teams when data was combined and re-computed for the day's top performers.
    Shenendehowa of New York, which entered here as the favorite and ranked #3 in the Northeast Region (the region's top two teams did not participate), was the Heat "E" winner over Danbury, 65-85, with those two teams also coming out best in the post-race "merged power score". Shen won the merged score with 92 points, well ahead of runner-up Danbury's 121. Smithstown, which won Heat "C", was computed third overall with 136. 
    While Gruenewald and Forys captured most of the individual 'buzz' on the boys' side, Shenendehowa senior Steve Murdock also had a breakthrough day, with his 12:15.5 clocking in Forys' race ranking as third fastest in meet history. It sparked Shen to a 12:56.6 average for its scoring five, among the fastest in meet history.    
    Overall, a stunning 46 boys from the seven varsity races dipped under 13 minutes on the famed 2.5-mile Van Cortlandt Park layout, more than doubling the previous record (21 in 2004) for kids under that time barrier. A more detailed story will follow. Below are the Girls Eastern States results as well as the leading varsity boys race results, and the boys' merged "power score."
1. Midlothian, VA  148
2. Eleanor Roosevelt, MD 172
3. Saratoga Springs, NY 190
4. Hilton, NY 203
5. Tatnall, DE 229
6. Fayetteville-Manlius, NY 239 (note: also had a 15:36 girl in JV race)
7. Greenwich Central, NY 242
8. Colts Neck, NJ 257
9. Espiscopal, FL 274
10. Warwick Valley, NY 325
1. Hannah Davidson (Saratoga Springs) 14:14.7
2. Ashley Higginson (Colts Neck, NJ) 14:16.0
3. Shelby Greany (Suffern, NY) 14:18.0
4. Emily Jones (Bromfield, MA) 14:26.7
5. Caitlin Lane (Greenwich Central, NY) 14:28.0

At left, Saratoga Springs' Hannah Davidson NY holding off Ashley Higginson of Colts Neck NJ. At right, Steve Murdock of Shen also broke the old Vanny record while leading his team to the best overall score. Open Photo

Varsity Boys A
1. Shaker, NY 61
2. Chaminade, NY 77
3. Ithaca, NY 158
1. Ryan McDermott (Chaminade) 12:33.0
2. Matt Bogdan (Shaker, NY) 12:42.8

Varsity Boys B
1. Don Bosco, NJ 89
2. St. Anthony's, NY 106
3. Walt Whitman, MD 128
1. Dan Hibbs (Hatboro Horsham) 12:52.8

Varsity Boys C
1. Smithtown, NY 70
2. Queensbury, NY 84
3. Guilderland, NY 143
1. Brian Rhodes-Devey (Guilderland) 12:27.2
2. Christian Thompson (Candor) 12:40.1

Varsity Boys D
1. Pope John Paul, NJ 74
2. Xavier, CT 98
3. Cicero North Syracuse, NY 107

1. Adam Vess (Xavier) 12:47.6

Varsity Boys E
1. Shendehowa, NY  65
2. Danbury, CT 85
3. Clovis, CA 128

1. Craig Forys (Colts Neck, NJ) 12:10.7
2. Steve Murdock (Shenendehowa, NY) 12:15.5
3. Mikel Thomas (Clovis, CA) 12:21.4
4. Adam Lenz (Crested Butte Academy, CO) 12:26.2
5. Chris Moren (Walter Johnson, NY) 12:41.6

Varsity Boys F
1. Fayetteville-Manlius, NY 55
2. Ridgewood, NJ 96
3. Londonderry, NH 124

1. Tommy Gruenewald (Fayetteville-Manlius, NY) 12:10.6
2. Geoff King (Fayetteville-Manlius, NY) 12:39.5
3. Keith Stapleton (Curtis) 12:44.5
Varsity Boys G
1. Warwick Valley, NY 67
2. Liverpool, NY 83
3. La Salle College, PA 155
1. Paul Springer (Unionville, PA) 12:28.6
2. Brandon Jarrett (St. Benedict's) 12:31.4
3. Terrence Prial (Warwick Valley, NY) 12:39.4

MERGED BOYS "POWER SCORE" (Based on leading aggregate performances)
1. Shenendehowa, NY 92
2. Danbury, CT 121
3. Smithtown, NY 136
4. Shaker, NY 149
5. Warwick Valley, NY 160
6. Fayetteville-Manlius, NY 174
7. Chaminade, NY 180
8. Liverpool, NY 183
9. Queensbury, NY 199
10. Don Bosco, NJ 218
11. Clovis, CA
12. Pope John Paul, NJ
13. Germantown Friends, PA
14. Xavier, CT
15. Ridgewood, NJ
16. St. Anthony's, NY

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