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The Journal magazines are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Oct 04, 2021

County Runners Training for Group, State and National Championships 

By Tim Morris

No team can be more pleased to have the typical state cross country schedule returning than Christian Brothers Academy. Last year, CBA, the state’s most successful cross country program, remained motivated despite having no Meet of Champions title or Nike Cross Nationals meet to run for because of the pandemic. The Colts’ goal was still to be the best in the state, and they were just that. Taking advantage of every opportunity to prove themselves against the best competition, the Colts achieved their goal. They topped it off by winning the Holmdel Invitational, a meet that brought together the state’s best teams and served as the MOC for 2020. In the absence of State Group and the Meet of Champions races, the NJSIAA held a state sectional championship for non-public schools for the first time. CBA’s 2020 team took advantage of it to make history, becoming the first team to win the Non-Public A South championship.

This fall, the Colts will be racing a full schedule again, looking to extend their state records for Group and MOC championships. Qualifying for the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon is also a primary goal.

Head Coach Sean McCafferty and the Colts will be looking to junior Nick Sullivan and senior Jack Moran, who were the team’s third and fourth runners in 2020. They were fifth and sixth at the NP-A South championships. Coming off solid track seasons, they are ready to step up and lead and maintain CBA’s heralded tradition.

The Colts, as always, have a stable of runners. Junior Lucas Ward, junior Matthew Mastroly, sophomore Jack Falkowski and senior Kyle Hill all ran for the team last year and will be part of its usual depth. 

CBA’s schedule had the Colts at New York’s Bowdoin Park (a warm-up for the Nike Cross Eastern Regional) on Sept. 25. They returned to historic Van Cortlandt Park in New York after a year’s absence for the Manhattan Invitational on Oct. 8. 

The Monmouth County (Holmdel Park) and Shore Conference (Ocean County Park) championships will be Thursday, Oct. 21 and Thursday, Oct. 28, respectively. Then it’s onto the state meets back at Holmdel Park. The Group championships are Saturday, Nov. 13 and the MOC will be held one week later on Nov. 20. The Nike regional qualifier is Saturday, Nov. 27 back at Wappingers. If the Colts advance, the nationals are scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 4.

The Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School boys are worth watching too. The Bulldogs won the Monmouth County Small School Division championship last fall and were fourth at the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II meet. They have four of their top five scorers returning led by junior Michael Schroeder, who had a big sophomore season for RFH. He finished 11th at the Central Jersey Group II Championships and sixth at the county championships.

Junior Jake DeAngelo, senior Christian Mazurek and junior Patrick Simpson were keys to the county win and give RFH a solid core.

Other runners to watch include Middletown High School North junior Connor Kinch. He placed fifth at the Monmouth County Championships and posted a 5K personal best of 15:28. He will be a contender at the county, conference and sectional championships. It won’t be a surprise if he’s in the MOC.

Middletown High School South junior Christopher Shay, Red Bank Catholic sophomore Patrick Coyle, Holmdel High School senior Louis Mejorada and Saint John Vianney junior Zachary Jersey should also be among the county’s best this fall with a good chance to shine at the state sectionals.