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

Cross country roundup
Jan 10, 2019

Cross Country Roundup

By Tim Morris

Cross country roundup

Holmdel High School girls cross country team emerged as a powerhouse in the Shore Conference this past fall.

In addition to winning the Monmouth County and Shore Conference championships for the first time in program history, the Hornets finished third at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions on Nov. 17 at Holmdel Park. It was the highest finish ever by Holmdel, confirming they were the conference’s best in 2018.

“I’m so happy for the girls,” Holmdel head coach Damon Godfrey said following the MOC. “They really stepped up with their backs against the wall and came up with a huge effort.” At the MOC, Holmdel’s harriers went 10-14-19-46-47 for 136 points. Defending champion North Hunterdon repeated with a low score of 93, and Ridgewood was second with 125, just 11 points ahead of Holmdel.

Emily Levonas and Claudia Zhang

From left: Emily Levonas and Claudia Zhang were Holmdel’s one-two punch.

Emily Levonas led the Hornet effort, covering the demanding 5K Holmdel course in 19:14. She was 17th overall, but for team scoring was 10th. Claudia Zhang (19:24) and Caitlyn Joyce (19:36) were the second and third harriers for Holmdel. Rounding out the scorers were Nicole Sportelli (20:20) and Alexa Blasiak (20:22).

Colts Neck finished sixth at the MOC, scoring 178 points. The Cougars were paced by the conference’s top finisher, Delia Russo, who was seventh overall at 18:49.

Middletown South was 11th (262), Red Bank Catholic, 16th (333) and Trinity Hall, 17th (424). RBC’s Maddy Kopec was 15th

Maddy Kopec led RBC to the Non-Public A state title

Maddy Kopec led RBC to the Non-Public A state title.

(19:12), and wild card qualifier Catherine Wimmer of Red Bank Regional was 34th (19:36).

CBA continues boys’ records

While Holmdel established itself as a new face among the state’s elite, Christian Brothers Academy’s boys continued their dominance. It was another day at the office for the Colts as they extended their state MOC record to 23 titles.

CBA runners went 4-9-10-17-28 for 68 points, 18 better than runner-up Haddonfield (86). It was the second straight win for CBA.

Tim McInerney led the Colts parade in fourth place (16:00). He was closely followed by Luke Reid (16:12) and Shaw Powell (16:20), in 9th and 10th. Completing the scoring were Mike Morris (16:32) and Tristan Amell (16:54) in 17th and 28th.

CBA has won half of the 46 MOC meets that have been held.

Tim McInerney (left) led CBA to another MOC title.

Tim McInerney (left) led CBA to another MOC title.

RBR’s Tyler Schwinn was an individual wild card qualifier and finished 22nd (16:24).

On Nov. 24, the Colts backed up their coach’s claim by winning the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional held at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls, NY. That title eluded the Colts last fall.

McInerney (16:15), Reid (16:16) and Powell (16:19) finished within four seconds of each other, paving the way for the triumph with 99 points. They went 4-5-7. Morris (17:01) and Amell (17:08) finished 38th and 45th.

Colts Neck (208) and Holmdel (215) finished sixth and seventh, competing against the best teams in the Northeast. Russo (19:06) was ninth and earned All-Region recognition.

Group State Championships

The week before the MOC on Sept. 10, the Group State Championships were held at Holmdel. With CBA and Colts Neck’s girls defending, Red Bank Catholic regained its place at the top and Trinity Hall captured its first-ever state crown.

CBA didn’t need to run its full team to capture its 29th Group crown, extending its record there. The Colts won the Non-Public A crown with 43 points, led by Powell’s individual championship. He coasted to a 14-second win in 16:14.

Morris (16:38), Amell (16:57), Ben Santos (17:02) and David Ham (17:11) went 5-9-11-17 for the low score of 43,

Jim Schlentz’s Colts Neck girls won their third straight Group III title, stacking their five scorers in the top 20 led by Russo’s overall third place (19:02). She was second for team scoring.

Natalie Shapiro (19:39), Catherine Anderson (20:15), Eva Gibson (20:30) and Kavita Shah (20:34) finished 4-12-17-20 for the team’s winning total of 55 points.

RBC is the state’s most successful girls cross country program, and they added on to their record for Group championships collecting their 20th Non-Public A title.

Rob DiFilippis’ harriers upset defending champion Union Catholic 55-70, led by Kopec’s fourth place (19:41). Claudia Satzke (20:21), Elena Dimitri (20:45), Gionna Curci (20:47) and Kate DiFilippis (20:50) went 10-12-14-15 in an impressive display of pack running.

NP-A will be in for more of the same in ’19 as the Caseys will have all of their scorers back.

Trinity Hall head coach Tony Avallone called 2018 “a lot of fun.” Winning a state title will do that, especially if it’s a first.

Ally Lawson (20:26), Grace Child (20:47), Haven Dora (20:54) and Madeline Barber (20:54) finished within 28 seconds of each other, going 5-8-10-11. Caroline Meany, the fifth scorer (21:45), completed the scoring in 20th.

Along the way in the fall, the Trinity Hall girls set a new Holmdel Park team average, 20:57. Like Holmdel, Trinity Hall has all its scorers back.

Holmdel, second in Group II and Middletown South, third in Group III, qualified for the MOC via the Group meet. Levonas (19:35) and Zhang (19:48) paced the Hornets in sixth and 10th. South was led by Michelle Coyotl (20:10) and Kathleen Shay (20:27), who finished 11th and 19th respectively.