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Nov 05, 2021

Rumson-Fair Haven Girls’ Cross Country Team Sweeps St. Dominic Titles

By Les Pierce

RFH Varsity team following the A Central Division Championship.  From left: Kylie O'Toole, Georgia Edwards, Julia Shanes, Logan Rettino, Jackie Braceland, Sarah Grace Butler, Megan Elgrim and Katie Murray

With the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girls’ cross country team graduating half of the 2020 squad, Head Coach Tim McLoone admitted he had some doubts going into the 2021 season.  

Those doubts were erased when the Bulldogs captured titles at their first major test of the campaign, the St. Dominic Invitational contested in Jersey City. In fact, they proved to be a dominant force at every level, sweeping all three crowns – varsity, junior varsity and freshman. 

The varsity race was a decisive victory with RFH topping the leader board with a low score of 16 points. Governor Livingston (49 pts) and Notre Dame (81 pts) followed.

Julia Shanes led the squad with a second place finish to Highland Regional’s Vanessa Marinero. Coming across the finish line next for RFH were Emma Wachtel (fourth), Georgia Edwards (fifth), Mary Applegate (sixth), Chloe Fanning (eighth), Megan Elgrim (ninth) and Megan Burns (10th).

The Bulldogs overwhelmed the field in the junior varsity race, taking seven of the first eight positions. The squad would have won handily if all of the other schools in the race were combined as a single team pitted against them. Kylie O’Toole placed first overall followed by Molly Fleming (second), Katie Murray (third), Ryan Malone (fourth), Olivia Donskoy (fifth), Cameron Boyle (sixth) and Ava Marino (seventh).  

In the freshman race, RFH’s Logan Rettino ran away from the field to nail down the individual championship, besting second place finisher Meghan Connolly of Notre Dame by more than a minute. The Bulldogs placed all seven of their scoring runners within the first 12 positions. Carrying the school colors were Anna Mannino (third), Rachel James (fourth), Hannah Nitka (fifth), Julia Funck (sixth), Shay Mavorich (ninth) and Georgia Watt (12th). The Bulldogs won easily with a score of 15 points. East Brunswick (52) and St. Dominic Academy (72) were the closest competitors.

The varsity squad faced its next test at the New Balance Shore Coaches Invitational on Oct. 2 in which they finished second to Haddonfield in a field of 16 schools. Junior Shanes paced the team with a sixth place finish, also scoring were Rettino (eighth), Edwards (11th), Wachtel (12th) and Applegate (14th).  

Just four days later, RFH competed in the Shore Conference A Central Division Championship at Holmdel Park. The championship was conducted as a single race comprised of eight teams but scored as individual dual meets.  

The Bulldogs picked up wins against Holmdel, Monmouth Regional, Ocean, Raritan, Shore Regional and St. Rose. They fell short of a sweep, however, bowing to Red Bank Catholic by just three points at 26-29. RFH’s top seven were Shanes (fourth), Rettino (fifth), Edwards (seventh), Sarah Grace Butler (12th), Jackie Braceland (14th), O’Toole (15th) and Murray (21st).  

“This is as surprising a group as we have ever had,” stated Head Coach Tim McLoone. “We are defending Central Jersey Sectional State Champs, but four of our varsity seven were not on the varsity team last year. Georgia Edwards and Mary Applegate are juniors running cross country for the first time, and our freshman starter, Logan Rettino, runs like a veteran. Julia Shanes is now a junior and has been our No. 1 from the first day she showed up. She is there every day and a great example to the rest of the team.”

Assisting McLoone are Coaches Alex Cafiero, Mike Haughwout, Bob Keogh, Molly McBain and Alyssa Trocchia.