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Aug 29, 2022

Monmouth County Cross Country Runners Prepare for the Course

By Tim Morris

Rumson-Fair Haven’s girls’ cross country team has long been an established state power. Last year, the boys joined the girls, bringing home championship hardware of their own. The Bulldogs captured the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II championship (making it a RFH double with the girls also winning) in a thriller edging Point Pleasant Borough by one point, 59-60.

Now, RFH is bearing the fruit of that state sectional title with interest at a new level. More than 30 runners have turned out for the team, coach Tim McLoone reported.

“We have a really good nucleus for the future,” he pointed out.

While it will take time for that nucleus to develop into depth, the 2022 Bulldogs will be counting on their top returners, Mickey Schroeder, Patrick Simpson and Kevin Medrow.

“Our front group will have to do the deal,” said McLoone, who coaches the team with Henry Mercer. “There’s enough there [to win], but we don’t have enough depth.”

Schroeder, a senior, was Rumson’s top harrier in ’21. He led the way at the sectional, finishing sixth. McLoone expects Schroeder to be among the county’s best this fall. Simpson, also a senior, is coming off a big track season that has carried over to cross country. The Bulldogs have a strong one-two with the seniors. Medrow was the runner whose push at the end of the race provided the winning margin in the state sectional. A sophomore last year, he is now an established veteran.

The return from injury of senior Jake DeAngelo is a big plus. He fits right in the middle of the lineup.

Sophomores Evan McCormick and Eamon Golden have shown promise and will be the key to Bulldogs quest to hold off Point Borough at the sectionals this fall.

Eighth at the Monmouth County Championships last fall, McLoone expects Rumson to climb higher this year in what is probably the most competitive county in the state.

Christian Brothers Academy, which has been the state’s pre-eminent power since the 1970s, will again vie for top honors in New Jersey. The Colts were young last year and still held onto to their strangle-hold of the county and conference titles and finished an unfamiliar second in the Non-Public A state championship meet and Meet of Champions. This fall should be much different.

Coach Sean McCafferty has six of the Colts’ top runners returning in junior Jack Falkowski, senior Nicholas Sullivan, junior Alex Kemp, senior Matt Mastroly, senior Lucas Ward and sophomore Joe Barrett. CBA will be deep and talented again.

Barrett clocked 15:59 for the cross country 5K and posted a 9:18.43 for 3,200 meters as a freshman. Kemp ran a personal best 9:27.82 for the 3,200, and Sullivan ran 4:19.67 for the 1,600 and 9:16.61 for the 3,200.

Colts Neck boys have established their own tradition over the past 20 years. Although the Cougars do lose their top two runners from last year, Ryan Johnson and Christian Mariner, the team might be stronger this fall. Coach Jim Schlentz has a much deeper lineup with Andrew Krok (Jr.), Leo Kurtz (Sr.), Jacob McNamara (Jr.), John Shapiro (Soph.), Lucas Sanginari (Jr.), Eren Alpa (Jr.) and Hunter Celkupa (Soph.).

Minus a frontrunner, the Colts will look to back their runners close together and beat teams with their depth.

Top returning individuals are Middletown South’s Chris Shay (Sr.) and Red Bank Catholic’s Pat Coyle (Jr.) who will both be looking to qualify for the MOC.