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New Jersey report

Oct. 12th - 19th, 2006

Ed Grant

Colts Neck took front and center in last week’s cross-country action in New Jersey with Craig Forys and Ashley Higginson enhancing their chances with strong performances at the Manhattan Invitational on Saturday and the Monmouth County championships three days later at rainy Holmdel County Park.

Forys shattered a 23-year-old course record at Van Cortlandt as he won the E race in 12:10.7, only to lose the mark when Tom Gruenwald of New York’s Fayetteville-Manlius won the F race in 12:10.6. The decision to split the pair by a tenth of a second caused a bit of controversy, particularly as the timing could not have been exact, involving as it did a transfer between two watches as is customary at meets where the start and finish are separated by several hundred yards.

Higginson missed the New Jersey record for Van Cortlandt by less than four seconds as she finished a close second to Hannah Davidson of Saratoga in 14:16, a time that has been bettered by only two Garden Staters: Karen Ahearn of Bernards in 1985 and Janet Smith of North Edison in 1983.

The two then ran very different races at the Monmouth County meet, Forys loafing to a 16:42 in the boys’ race, while Higginson was only two seconds off her Holmdel best with an 18:28 while leading her team to victory in the girls’ event. Colts Neck turned in the fastest mark of the season at 19:46 in this race, shading Roxbury’s effort at the Shore Coaches Invitational.

Roxbury passed up the Manhattan meet to rest for its match with Morris Knolls at Tuesday’s Iron Hills championships at Freedom Park in Randolph. Running in heavy rain, Lauren Penney led an easy victory for the Gaels in the Iron Division in 19:04. Freshman Kearsley Olcott led Summit to a 24-61 win over Chatham in the Hills Division, finishing 100 yards ahead of Amanda Hefferan of Parsippany in 19:52.

Don Bosco and Pope John, the pre-season favorites for the boys’ all-group title, were both team winners at Manhattan to rise to the 1-2 slots in the boys’ Top Ten. The Iron Men took the B race from St. Anthony’s, 89-106, with Conor Sullivan placing second in 12:58 and sophomore Robert Molke sixth in 13:04. The Lions defeated Xavier of Connecticut in the D race, 74-98, with Jeremy Scheid placing sixth in 13:06 and Jon Juleus 12th in 13:22.

Ridgewood had a second to Fayetteville-Manlius in the F race, 55-76, with Dan Emont placing ninth in 13:03. This is a typically tall Maroon squad, reminiscent of the one led by Joe LeMay 20 years ago, with Emont the only one under 6-2. Jackson was second in G with Kris Carle running fourth in 12:43. Christian Brothers, missing two regulars because of the SAT, was fifth in the C race and Colts Neck fifth in E.

Brandon Jarrett of St. Benedict’s was New Jersey’s second fastest runner as he placed second in the G race to Paul Springer of Unionville, Pa., who had been listed to run in the C event. It was their second meeting of the year; they had finished 2-3 behind Forys in the Cougar Invitational two weeks earlier.

Colts Neck led the NJ finish in the Eastern championship girls’ race, placing eighth with 253 points and a team average of 15:25. Briana Jackucewicz made her season debut, placing 42nd in 15:28 but then passed up the Monmouth race. Alexandra Flott was 44th in 15:29 and Allison Donaghy 63rd in 15:44. Other high NJ finishers in the race were Lara Heigis of Pope John, 21st in 15:07; Nicole Traynor of Ridge, 24th in 15:10 and Molly Kempton of Msgr. Donovan, 25th in 15:12.

Voorhees soph Melanie Thompson
led her team to a 65-78 win in the B race, finishing 250 yards ahead of the field in 14:43. Teammate Katrina Spratford was sixth in 15:49 and Mary Kay Duff of third-place Holy Angels seventh in 15:51.

At the South Jersey Open that day in Delsea, Theresa Cattuna and Alaina Chodoff went 1-2 for Cherry Hill East in a 48-71 defeat of Cherokee in the A race, Cattuna crossing the line 150 yards ahead in 15:23. Freshman Marielle Hall led Haddonfield to a 37-66 win in C with a 75-yard win over Jena Peacock of Our Lady of Mercy in 19:25 and Amanda Goetschius of Delsea repeated in B in 18:39 over Kingsway frosh Chelsea Ley in 18:51 with Paul VI taking team honors.

The championship season then set in on Tuesday with three meets defying the horrid weather. At the Monmouth meet, Christian Brothers scored its fifth win in a row in the boys’ event and 37th all told, 54-75, over Colts Neck. This is not a typical dominating CBA team, but a solid team effort, led by senior Chris Lombardi (absent at Manhattan) was enough to carry the day.

There was a major upset at the Iron Hills meet where Stephen Hankinson of Summit defeated Kyle Soloff of Morris Hills in the Hills race in 16:33, though the Knights had no trouble winning its third team title in a row. Liam Mulcahy of Morristown won the Iron race from teammate Mark Leahey, but, despite this auspicious star, Randolph prevailed over the Colonials, 57-61.

Sophomore Doug Smith of Gill-St. Bernard's had his second win of the season in the Somerset County meet, finishing 125 yards ahead of Christian Gonzalez of Franklin in 15:55, second fastest on the Pleasant Valley Park course to former Gill star, Bobby Papazian, the state’s all-group champ two years ago. Ridge won both team titles there, with Nicol Traynor leading the girls’ sixth straight victory in 19:07.

The coming week will be devoted entirely to local meets with the highlights coming on Oct. 26 with the Skyland Conference meet at Pleasant Valley Park and on Oct. 28 when the Shore Conference meet is held at Holmdel and the Morris County championships at the Nabisco plant in East Hanover. Half of the state’s Top Ten teams will be in one or another of these meets, plus about a dozen individual contenders.

1. Don Bosco
1. Colts Neck
2. Pope John 2. Roxbury
3. Jackson 3. Cherry Hill East
4. Old Bridge 4. Voorhees
5. Ridgewood 5. Morris Knolls
6. Haddonfield 6. Red Bank Catholic
7. Christian Brothers 7. Msgr. Donovan
8. Hopewell Valley 8. Pope John
9. Colts Neck 9. Ridge
10. St. Benedict’s 10. Hopewell Valley

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