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New Jersey Roundup

Smith-Jarrett Clash Set For Manhattan

Friday, October 5, 2007

By Ed Grant

The stage was set for the first meeting of New Jersey’s top boy runners when both scored impressive victories last Friday – Doug Smith of Gill-St. Bernard’s shattering Craig Forys’ course record at the Paul Short Invitational at Saucon Valley, Pa., and Brandon Jarrett of St. Benedict’s barely missing Forys’ home course mark in the Cougar Invitational at Bucks Mill Park, Colts Neck.

Smith won the Pennsylvania race by 85 yards from Max Kaulbach of Germantown Friends 15:10, while Jarrett had a130-yard margin over Andrew Brodeur of Brick Memorial in 15:03, five seconds behind the mark set by Forys a year ago.

While Smith will be active this Saturday at the massive Shore Coaches Invitational on the state championship course at Holmdel County Park, Jarrett will be busy taking the SATs, as will a number of other New Jersey seniors from the state’s smaller schools who occupy the earlier part of the 25-race program.

Their meeting will come a week later at the even larger Manhattan Invitational over the classic 2.5M course at Van Cortlandt Park.  While this meet in most cases allots teams to its seven varsity boys’ races by chance, the respective coaches of the two Foot Locker candidates, Marty Hannon at St. Benedict’s and Ryan Grote at Gill-St. Bernard’s, asked for the pairing.  The two will not meet on New Jersey soil all season, with St. Benedict’s not being a member of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.

There were two New Jersey winners on foreign soil last weekend.  Alex Yersak of Cherokee took the Ocean State Invitational in Warwick, Rhode Island, in 16:09, establishing himself as the favorite for Gr. IV honors later this season, and Sarah Pagano of Immaculate Heart Academy led her team to a second-place finish in the Warwick Valley, N.Y., Invitational with a runaway victory in 18:56.  In the latter meet, the Blue Eagles, still without the services of transfer Mary Kate Duff, lost to Valley Central, 43-58.  Don Bosco scored over Walt Whitman in its boys’ race, 46-105, with Bob Molke, Anthony Bongiovine and Leighton Spencer finishing 2-3-4, all under 16:00.

Another impressive team effort came from Millburn in the B race at the 49th annual Stewart Memorial meet on Saturday at Warinanco Park.  The Millers, with lead runner Peter Murphy in his first major start of the season, had four in the top seven in a 32-66 defeat of Mendham.  Danny Stiles of Somerville won the race in 16:15, with Murphy just four seconds back, and teammates Danny Kirschner and Myles Udland finishing 4-5, both under 16:45.

Millburn became the hot favorite for Gr. III honors and a strong contender for the AG title with that performance, as another of the state’s top teams, Christian Brothers, watched from the sidelines.  Mater Dei took over the role of Parochial B leader as it won the C race from Metuchen, 41-84, behind a 1-2 finish by Curtis Jensen and Pat O’Boyle in 16:46 and 16:49.  Travis Mahoney led a 64-68 win for Old Bridge over Hunterdon Central in the A race, defeating Doug Jankowski of Phillipsburg by 40 yards in 16:26.

Sophomores totally dominated the girls’ action in this one.  Sophia Ginez of South Brunswick, Rashmi Singh of Hunterdon Central and Jillian Prentice of Montgomery had a 1-2-3 finish in the A race, Ginez crossing the line in 19:13 to head a 52-65 win over Montgomery.  Laura Vigilante of Mendham and Dale Kinney were 1-2 in 19:24 and 19:32 in the B event with Dale’s Morristown teammate third as the Colonials defeated Tim McLoone’s Rumson team, 70-107.  Olivia Clyde’s late rally took the C event in 19:58 as her New Providence team established itself as a clear Gr. I favorite with a 43-59 defeat of Madison.

The championship boys’ team race at the Cougar Invitational was a probable preview of the Gr. IV title event with Jackson narrowly defeating Ocean County rival Toms River North, 65-68, led by Austin Santillo, who finished fourth in 15:49 as Shore Conference runners took the next eight places behind Jarrett. Junior Bobby Andrews of Manalapan was particularly impressive in this one, last spring’s Gr. IV 800M champ running third in 15:33.

Visiting Unionville, Pa., dominated the girls’ title race with Christine Smith taking individual honors in 18:45 and a 51-76 victory over host Colts Neck, which was led by Allison Linnell of Colts Neck in second at 18:50, as junior star Brianna Jackucewicz remained on the sidelines.

Roxbury had a 1-2 finish from Lauren Penney and Ashley Cromartie to win the A race at Friday’s Maroon Invitational at Garret Mountain, 49-86 over Clifton.  But the Gaels’ hopes of regaining their AG title this fall seem slim with junior Ariann Neutts having returned to soccer this fall.  Penney had her third win of the season in 18:58.  Chelsea Delaney led St. John Vianney to a 68-77 win over visiting Pearl River in the B race as she won the race from Aimee Chegwidden of Wallkill Valley in 20:14.

Mike Mitchell of Bergen Tech scored an upset win over Nick Roman of Passaic Valley in the boys’ race at Garret, winning by 135 yards in 16:01, while James Van der Wiele of Pequannock got his second victory of the campaign over Paterson Catholic frosh Anthony Andrews in 16:48.  The team winners were Vernon and Wallkill Valley.

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