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Nov 15, 2019

Middletown South Girls’ Cross Country Team Captures Three Postseason Championship Titles

By Les Pierce

Middletown South girls’ cross country team following the Monmouth County meet. From left: Lauren Hutson, Lexi Dean, Sophia Tardio, Michelle Coyotl, Gwen Afanasewicz, Lucy Afanasewicz and Reese Fahys

Earlier in the 2019 campaign, the Middletown South girls’ cross country team gained championship titles at the Battle At Ocean County Park, Bernie Magee Memorial Classic, A-North Divisional Championships and the Manhattan College Invitational. Most recently, in the postseason, the Eagles have also garnered Monmouth County, Shore Conference and State Sectional titles.

At the Monmouth County Championship meet held at Holmdel Park on Oct. 17, South topped a field of 21 teams with a low score of 50 points. Following in team scoring were Colts Neck (75), Red Bank Catholic (98), Holmdel (139) and Red Bank Regional (168).  Frosh runner Reese Fahys paced the Eagles with a fourth place finish. Also scoring for Middletown were Lucy Afanasewicz (fifth), Michelle Coyotl (11th), Lexi Dean (14th) and Lauren Hutson (16th).

One week later, the squad faced the best of both Monmouth and Ocean counties at the Shore Conference Championships held at Ocean County Park in Lakewood. This time, sophomore Lucy Afanasewicz led Middletown to a 65 low point victory with a second-place finish.

The event was dominated by Monmouth County schools with Colts Neck (92), Red Bank Catholic (102) and Holmdel (129) again giving chase. Southern Regional (190) proved to be the best of Ocean County in fifth place. Finishing in the top 25 for the Eagles were Fahys (third), Hutson (19th), Dean (20th) and Coyotl (21st).

On Nov. 9, the squad traveled to Greystone-Central Park in Morris Plains and captured the NJSIAA North 2 Group 3 State Sectional Championship. It was a dominant performance for the Eagles with Fahys claiming the individual title and all five Middletown runners finishing in the top 10.

South prevailed with a tally of 23 points, followed by Mendham (39), Summit (79), Red Bank Regional (130) and West Morris Central (140). Afanasewicz (third), Coyotl (fifth), Hutson (sixth) and Gwen Afanasewicz (eighth) completed the Middletown sweep.

The individual win by Fahys was the first State Sectional victory by a South runner since 1999 when Casie Kerr achieved that feat. At press time, the Eagles were ranked third statewide by NJ.Milesplit.com.

“The team has groomed themselves into a state powerhouse with their confidence, work ethic and racing fearlessness,” Head Coach Bill Clifton said. “They do not think that any championship is outside their reach and train diligently to make it happen. The very young squad races like veterans and realize that every girl counts.”