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cross country
Nov 21, 2018

Cross Country Season Kicks Off

By Tim Morris

cross country

The first month of the cross country season is in the books, highlighted by the Shore Conference Divisional championship meets. Although all the teams ran meet together, the scoring was on a dual meet basis.

In the Shore divisional championships, the state-ranked girls’ teams from Colts Neck, Middletown South and Holmdel were victorious, while Middletown North and Holmdel’s boys picked up big wins.

Holmdel, which has aspirations of winning both the boys and girls state sectional championships in November, got off to a good start with both winning A Central on Oct. 3 at Holmdel Park.

“Being division champions is something important to us and was one of our goals this season, so we are pleased we hit it,” said Holmdel head coach Damon Godfrey. “Our focus now is to try and improve as much as we can in the next month so when state sectionals come around, we are as ready as we possibly can be.”

Ethan Hood (17:26.15), Arun Movva (17:35.67) and Kevin Silvergold (17:43.14) were Holmdel’s top three runners for the Holmdel boys. Jonathan Marty (18:12.45) and Abhay Rao (18:26.45) completed the scorers.

It was just a dual meet, but A Central had the look of a girls’ major meet with three state-ranked teams: Holmdel and perennial state powers Red Bank Catholic and Rumson-Fair Haven. The Hornets defeated RBC (24-33) and RFH (15-42). They also beat a dangerous Monmouth Regional team led by one of the state’s best harriers, Amanda Stone, who turned in the fastest time of the day (19:20.7).

Holmdel’s deep pack of Emily Levonas (19:38.43), Caitlyn Joyce (20:01.43), Claudia Zhang (20:16.25), Nicole Sportelli (20:48.72) and Alexis Blasiak (21:07.62) was too much for the others to overcome.

Colts Neck’s girls cruised to the B North crown with Red Bank Regional putting up the most resistance, dropping a 19-38 decision. The meet was held Oct. 9 at Holmdel Park.

Delia Russo turned in the fastest time of the day, 19:40.21. Behind her, Natalie Shapiro (2:05.83) and Catherine Anderson (20:22.53) led the Cougars’ pack that included Kavita Shah (21:17.20) and Lucy Gardner (22:42.76).

Only RBR’s Claudia Kelly (20:39.38) and Catherine Wimmer 20:42.59) could break Colts Neck’s pack, finishing fourth and fifth.

Middletown South went 1-2-3 in taking A North on Sept. 27 at Freehold Township High School. This meet was not scored like a dual meet but as a championship meet where every place counts. The Eagles won with a dual meet score of 21 points. Runner-up Freehold Township had 60.

Kathy Shea (19:57.24), Lucy Afanasewicz (19:57.42) and Michelle Coyotl (19:57.44) ran together throughout the race for South. Danielle Smith (20:44.85) and Ryanne Mulligan (21:14.42) were sixth and ninth.

Middletown North turned back always formidable Colts Neck, 21-35, to take the boys’ B North title.

The Lions’ Sean Mahoney (17:15.58) out-ran the Cougars’ Kyle Roeder (17:28.53) to take first.

Michael Murphy  (17:35.74), Kevin Carragher (17:36.14) and Michael Puzo (17:45.13) went 3-4-5 to give North a stranglehold. Jack Costigan wrapped it up for the Lions in eighth (17:48.90).

Fastest time of the day, however, belonged to Tyler Schwinn, who clocked 16:55.65 in taking first overall. The Bucs’ Teddy Purdon followed him across the line in 17:08.65 to give them a 1-2. But North swept the next five places to hold the Bucs off, 25-35.

The Shore Conference Championships on Oct. 25 were the final tune-up for the harriers before the NJSIASA sectionals on Nov. 3.