With rain the first week, cold and wind the next, New Jersey top cross-country runners will be looking for a 
break in the weather when they assemble at Holmdel County Park for the all-group championships this Saturday.

                        For the first time in its nine-decade history, the group meet was actually postponed last weekend because 
of the predicted (but never realized) thunderstorms for the scheduled Saturday session. There was a good deal of rain, 
however, that day in Central Jersey and the 24-hour postponement did result in a dry Sunday, but one which saw a very 
uneven distribution of conditions through the five and a half hours of competition/

    The morning brought strong winds which definitely slowed the runners, best exemplified by the 16:13 record by Doug 
Smith of Gill-St. Bernard’s as he took his third consecutive Parochial B title, well behind the marks he recorded as a 
soph and junior. By days’ end, when the top individual races in Gr. III went off, the winds had died down to occasional 
as four boys went under 16:00 and two girls beat 18:00 in their respective competitions.

                      One result of the variance was to make it very difficult to use the group results to predict what might happen 
in what should be a pair of very close team races this weekend. Don Bosco, the defending boys’ champion, averaged 16:41 
in an early morning race, while West Windsor-Plainsboro North hit 16:24 in that Gr. III  event, quite a difference. And Voorhees, 
the 2007 girls’ champion hit 19:48 as compared to a 20:05 for its nearest rival, Immaculate Heart Academy, largely due to a 
75-second difference between their leading runners, defending champion Melanie Thompson and Sarah Pagrno, both of whom 
were repeat winners, Thompson taking her third in a row.

                      As expected, the top individual matches came out of those Gr. III races. In a battle of undefeated stars, 
Thompson finished 15 yards ahead of Chelsea Ley of Kingsway in the girls’ event, clocking 17:56, her first time under 18:00 
on the Holmdel course. The boys’ race saw outdoor 3200M champ Tyler Udland of Millburn reverse an earlier loss to Brett 
Johnson of Ocean City and soph Joseph Rosa of WW-Plainsboro North, clocking 15:36. Twin James had his best race of the 
season, placing 5th in 16:01.

                      The major surprise of the meet was the failure of Jillian Smith of Southern Ocean Regional to defend her Gr. IV title. 
Smith, who had suffered a slight ankle strain in the sectionals a week earlier, was running with the leaders when she turned 
her ankle again at the two-mile mark, gamely finishing in a futile attempt to lead her team to an all-group post.

                      As a result of these back-to-back injuries, Smith herself will not be in the field this weekend, leaving it to 
Thompson and Ley to battle it out again for the AG crown. Jillian had already decided to call it quits after the state meet to 
rest up as she prepares to defend her two national titles, the mile indoors and the 800M outdoors, just to name a few of the 
major events that lie ahead for her. 

                      Katie Kellner of WW-Plainsboro South went on to win that Gr. IV event by 150 yards from Briana Jackucewicz 
of Colts Neck in 18:19. The first 22 finishers in that race beat 20:00, another indication of the improved conditions for the final 
race of the day. Her freshman sister Caroline were among them, finishing 10th in 19:19.

                      The other girls’ winners were Pagano, repeating in Parochial A at 19:11, Julia Mark of Delaware Valley in Gr. II 
at 19:12; Megan Flynn, leading Robbinsville to its first state title, in I at 19:39 and Marie Walsh of Mater Dei, taking back the 
title she won as a frosh, in Parochial B in 19:15. It was Marie who told reporters in a post-race interview how bad the wind 
conditions were in the hills at that time of day.

                      Ridge won its first Gr. IV title in a tightly-packed team race, 108-118, over Randolph, led by Dana Giglielmo in
 6th at 19:12. Voorhees took its third straight title in III by a whopping 70 points over Hopewell Valley, Haddonfield made it four 
in a row in II, 73-93, over Chatham despite its worst performance of the year, signified by an 9th-place finish for defender Marielle 
Hall and Pingry easily regain the Parochial B crown, 53-102, over Mt. St. Mary’s with Olivia Tarantino 3rd in 19:46. 

                      Robby Andrews of Manalapan, who will also skip the post-season races to prepare for his indoor and outdoor 
1600M and mile battles with Johnson, took the boys’ Gr. IV race over Monmouth County rival Mark Leininger of Colts Neck in 
16:10 with junior Daniel Rondon of North Bergen a solid 3rd in 16:10. Another junior, Jon Vitez, repeated in II by 30 yards over 
Thomas Bragen of Pt. Pleasant Boro, leading Haddonfield to its third straight title with a fourth certain to come next year from 
its all-underclass lineup. And still another junior, David Oster of Verona took the Gr. I title from Nick Lachman in 16:30 by the 
same narrow margin he had lost it a year ago.

                      The Parochial A race produced the fourth junior winner in Pat Schellberg of Delbarton who outraced Leighton 
Spencer of Don Bosco by 20 yards in 16:20 with five underclassmen trailing the top pair. Among them was soph Mike 
Mazzaccaro of CBA, who, like his teammates, was still in shock after learning of the death in a car accident earlier that day 
of a beloved member of the Colts’ faculty.

                      Old Bridge won a close Gr. IV race from Cherokee, 125-132. The Haddons got a third title when Township 
defeated Heights in I< 52-73, led Mike Dinerman in 12th place. Roselle Catholic topped Pingry, 57-74, in Parochial B, Vinny 
Nicastro finishing a distant 2nd to Smith in 16:13.                              


                               BOYS                                                                                    GIRLS

1. West Windsor-Plainsboro North                                                   1. Voorhees

2. Don Bosco                                                                                     2. Immaculate Ht. Acad.

3. Christian Brothers                                                                          3. Ridge

4. Morris Hills                                                                                    4. Haddonfield

5. Haddonfield                                                                                    5. Randolph

6. Mendham                                                                                        6. Red Bank Catholic        

7. Millburn                                                                                          7. Pope John

8. Pope John                                                                                       8. Toms River North                                                               

9. Old Bridge                                                                                      9. Hillsboreo

 10. Cherokee                                                                                     10. Holy Angels                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                        The rains came, as they often have before, on the day of the New Jersey cross-country sectionals last 
Saturday, slowing everyone but producing few surprises as the individual and team favorites won in about two-thirds of the 
32 meets around the state.

                        Several top individual stars were idle, either by compulsion (Doug Smith with no meet available) or choice 
(Bob Molke, Leighton Spencer, Sarah Pagano, all of whom skipped the New Jersey Catholic Conference meet held later the 
same day at Warinanco Park). Those that did compete won across the board, Joe Rosa of West Windsor-Plainsboro North, 
Robby Andrews of Manalapan, Jon Vitez of Haddonfield, Tyler Udland of Millburn Sean Pohorence of Morris Hills and Brett J
ohnson of Ocean City for the boys; Chelsea Ley of Kingsway, defending all-group champion Melanie Thompson of Voorhees 
and Jillian Smith of Southern Ocean for the girls. 

                        Boys’ team winners included the state’s No. 2 and 3, West Windsor-Plainsboro North in Central Jersey Gr. III 
and Christian Brothers in the NJCTC meet, while top-ranked Haddonfield scored easily in the South Jersey girls’ affair and Ridge 
and Voorhees both won at the North Jersey 2 meet at Warinanco Park.

                        The rain plus the absence of full-scale efforts by three top Parochial A girls teams left some question marks about 
who might get the wild card slots for the all-group meet. 

                        About half of the group winners seem easy to pick: Don Bosco (PA), WW-Plainsboro No. (Gr. III) and Haddonfield 
(Gr. II) for the boys; Voorhees (Gr. III), Haddonfield (II) and a surprising Robbins-ville team (Gr. I) for the girls.

                        Both Gr. IV titles are up for grabs and, for the first time in memory, these divisions may not produce a single wild 
card entry. For the boys, the contenders are the four sectional champs: Randolph, Ridge, WW-Plainsboro South and Toms River 
North, but it would be no great shock if one of the second-place teams prevailed. It’s much the same lineup for the girls, since 
only WWPlSo failed to double, placing a close third behind South Brunswick and Hillsboro, which finished one point apart.

                        In Gr. I, North Warren, Robbinsville and Haddon Twp doubled with the North Jersey 2 titles split between Verona 
(boys) and McNair (girls). It looks like North Warren and the 1-2 CJ finishers, Robbinsville and Metuchen for the girls and Robbinsville 
and the 1-2 NJ 1 finishers, North Warren and Mt. Lakes for the girls.

                        Pingry could well double in Parocial B, but will face stiff opposition from Roselle Catholic in the boys’ race and Mt. 
St. Mary’s for the girls. 

                        Individually, of course the big races of the day will be in Gr. III. The girls event matches Thompson and Ley with Smith 
just about a sure shot to repeat in Gr. IV. Julia Mark of Delaware Valley and Marielle Hall of Haddonfield will battle for the Gr. II crown, 
while Megan Flynn of Robbinsville should run away with Gr. I. Pagano heads a strong Parochial A field and frosh Kristen Traub of 
Eastern Christian is favored over Ines Simoes of Roselle Catholic and Caroline Williams of Mt. St. Mary’s in B.

                        For the boys, it will be Rosa, Udland, Pohorence  and Johnson in III, with Robby Andrews of Manalapan is the pick 
over Taro Shigenobou of Ridgewood in the boys’ Gr. IV race. Vitez is a prohibitive favorite in Gr. II and Dave Oster of Verona should 
take the Gr. I title which barely eluded him last year. Molke and Spencer will have an intramural battle in Parochial A and Smith 
should romp to his third B title.

                        Other notable winners last Saturday among the girls included Katie Kellner of WW-Plainsboro South over Briana 
Jackucewicz of Colts Neck in the Central Jersey Gr. IV race at Thompson Park and Clare Buck of Hopewell Valley over teammate 
Julie Jablonski in the CJ III race there. Ley posted the fastest time of the day for the girls at 17:23 and Joe Rosa the best for the boys 
at 15:37, just a second quicker than Johnson in leading Ocean City to victory in the Gr. III event at Delsea. 

                        The rain produced several bizarre finishes around the state. At Warinanco, Kat Grimes of Chatham and Mallory Anderson 
of Madison were battling for the Gr. II title when Grimes hit the wall off the final turn and had to crawl over the line. The same thing 
happened to Taylor Trobetti of Pascack Hills in the NJ 1 Gr. II race at Garret Mountain.

                        But the oddest of all was in the boys’ Gr. II race at Warinanco. Oster was leading Pat Rono of Lyndhurst as they 
made the turn into the track for the final 400M lap. Dave slipped on the muddy footing and fell back into Rono who had to shove him 
back into a standing position to avoid being buried under his larger rival. Once in position again, Oster took off for a 50 yard win over 
the son of the 1988 Olympic 1500M chap, Peter Rono. 


                               BOYS                                                                                    GIRLS

1. Don Bosco                                                                                     1. Haddonfield

2. West Windsor-Plainsboro North                                                   2. Ridge

3. Christian Brothers                                                                         3. Voorhees

4. Morris Hills                                                                                   4. Randolph

5. Haddonfield                                                                                  5.  Red Bank Catholic

6. Mendham                                                                                      6. Toms River North                   

7. Millburn                                                                                        7. South Brunswick  

8. West WindsorPlainsboro South                                                    8. Hillsboro           

9. Toms River North                                                                         9.  Pope John

10. Cherokee                                                                

Coming off three record performances by its All-American trio of Chelsea Ley, Melanie Thompson and Jillian Smith, the New 
Jersey cross-country season moves into its three-stage state championship program this weekend with 32 sectional meets 
scheduled at four sites ranging from Garret Mountain in West Paterson to the Delsea High School campus in Gloucester County.

                        Ley led the way in action this past week as she became the first Garden State girl to go under 17:00 on a 
certified 3.1M course, winning the Tri-County Conference title by 300 yards from the state’s top sophomore runner, Megan 
Venables of Highland last Thursday at the Cumberland High School course.

                        The same day, Thompson shattered her own record at Pleasant Valley park in Basking Ridge, finishing 150 
yards ahead of  Ashley Smolinka of Hillsboro in 17:48 to win her fourth Skylands Conference title and Jillian Smith of Southern 
Ocean repeated in the Shore Conference meet at Ocean County Park, defeating Briana Jackucewicz of Colts Neck by 125 
yards in 17:19, 13 seconds under a course record shared by Jen Clausen of Jackson and Ashley Higginson of Colts Neck.

                        Two ancient meet records fell in the return of the Mercer County meet to Washington Crossing Park on Friday, 
Joe Rosa of West Windsor-Plainsboro North taking the boys’ race by 25 yards from Philip Wood of Pennington in 15:13 and 
Katie Kellner of West Windsor-Plainsboro South the girls’ event by 150 yards from defender Clare Buck of Hopewell Valley in 
17:51. Their respective schools also won the team titles.

                        It was a busy week for Wood, who also finished 2nd in this week’s New Jersey Prep B meet on Wednesday 
at Blair Academy. There he lost by a slim yard or so to Doug  Smith of Gill-St. Bernard’s who won for the third year in a row 
in 15:30, a course record. The A race went to Matt Laforgia of Pingry over teammate Dan Schuchinsky in 16:35. St. Benedict’s 
won its fourth A title I in a row, Newark Academy its first B crown since 1995.

                         Don Bosco’s top-ranked team repeated team easily won its third Bergen Meet of Champions in a row, 22-74, 
on Saturday over Ridgewood at Darlington Park with a 1-2 finish from Robert Molke and Leighton Spencer in 15:17 and 15:19, 
two of the fastest times ever on that course. The girls’ race saw Holy Angels upset rival Immaculate Heart Academy, 47-70, 
led by Kaleigh Kenny who started the season as No. 5 runner on the team. She finished 3rd behind Sarah Pagano of IHA 
who won the race for the third year in a row in 18:14. 

                        The Shore Conference girls’ team race was as close as could be, Monmouth County champ Red Bank 
Catholic and Ocean County titlist Toms River North tallying 107 points apiece with their first fives, the Caseys getting the 
nod on the comparison of their sixth finishers. No such problem in the boys’ race where Christian Brothers scored its 25th 
win in 28 years, 68-157 over TRN, Robby Andrews of Manalapan taking individual honors by 35 yards over Mark Leininger 
of Colts Neck in 15:17. 

                        Another Saturday meet saw “comeback” efforts by the Morris Hills team and by Laura Vigilante of Mendham 
in the Morris County affair at the Kratf/Nabisco course in East Hanover, rated the toughest in the state, Sean Pohorence led 
the Knights to a 42-61 victory over Mendham in the boys’ event, reversing a recent loss in the Iron Hills Conference, defeating 
Mike Franklin of the Minutemen by 50 yards in 16:09. 

                        Vigilante, who had been bothered by a sinus infection after an opening win in early September in the Roxbury 
class meet, took the lead from the gun in the girls’ race and finished 200 yards ahead of Mallory Anderson of Madison in 19:13.

                        The top five teams and first 10 individuals in each of the sectional meets this weekend qualify for the group 
meet on Nov. 15 at Holmdel County Park. There are no sectionals for the two Parochial divisions, but six Top 10 teams---two 
boys and four girls---will be in action in the 52nd annual New Jersey Catholic Track Conference championships which followed 
the North Jersey 2 sectionals at Warinanco Park.

                        The North Jersey 1 meet at Garret Mountain will see Ridgewood attempt to stretch its Gr. IV winning streak
to seven against a strong challenge from Randolph. Taro Shigenobou of Ridgewood, who missed this meet a year ago due 
to injuries, will contend with Hudson County champ Dan Rondon of North Bergen for individual honors.

                        Morris Hills will have no trouble taking a fifth Gr. III title in a row and Pohorence should just as easily repeat 
as individual champ, his main rival being teammate Liam Tansey. Indian Hills is also favored to repeat in Gr. II where Alan 
Zaccone of Mahwah and Rob Albano of Pequannock will contend for the gold. In Gr. I, 2007 Verona has moved to NJ 2, 
leaving Bogota and Leonia to battle for team honors and their respective stars, Pat Rochford and Victor Lopez for the individual 

                        Randolph’s girls are a strong favorite in Gr. IV there with a possible 1-2-3 finish from Joelle Amaral, Molly 
Higgins and Natalie Anthony. Roxbury, the Gr. III winner last year, has also moved to NJ 2, leaving Wayne Hills and Northern 
Highlands to battle for the title. Tori Berard of Morris Knolls and Corinne Fitzgerald of Morris Hills head the individual field. 
North Warren, the Gr. II winner last year, is now in Gr. I and its match there with defenders Mt. Lakes could be a preview of 
the group race. Alex Clinton and Diane Bain should lead Ramsey to the II crown. Kristin Landry is favored in Gr. I over Theresa 
Gagliostro of Westwood and Kelsey Dunn of Waldwick.

                        Ridge, which doubled at the Skylands meet, could do the same in Gr. IV at Warinanco Park, led respectively 
by Anthony Bellitti and Dana Guglielmo, who might just add the individual honors as well. No question in Gr. III where outdoor 
3200-meter champTyler Udland will no doubt lead a 1-2-3 finish for defending Millburn in the boys’ race and Thompson will 
complete another four-year sweep as Voorhees takes its third title in a row in the girls’ event. 

                        Group II is a neighborhood battle there, with defending Summit favored over adjoining Chatham in the boys’ 
race and those two being joined by Madison in the girls’ affair. Chris Johnson of Berkeley Heights is a prohibitive favorite in 
the boys’ race, Jessica Villars and Kat Grimes could go 1-2 for Chatham in the girls. Dave Oster of Verona, who won Gr. I in 
NJ 1 last fall, could complete his race before anyone else hits the track for the last 400M at Warinanco and lead the Hillbillies 
to a sort of repeat in the process, while McNair Academic might reclaim the Gr. I crown where Cassandra Lacorazza of 
Palisades Park is the indivdiual favorite after several Bergen County triumphs this fall.

                        Colts Neck stars Leininger and Jackucewicz could sweep the individual CJ Gr. IV titles at Thompson Park, 
but Briana has three strong rivals in Prentice, Kellner and Sophia Ginez of South Brunswick, who came back from an injury 
to help the Vikings take the Middlesex County title there last Saturday. This may just be the top girls’ race of the day. 
ackson’s boys and Colts Neck’s girls each have a two-year string, but neither is favored this time, that role going to Hillsboro, 
Old Bridge and West Windsor-Plainsboro South in a tight boys’ race and to South Brunsiwck and WWPSo in the girls.

                        The Rosa twins will no doubt lead West Windsor-Plainsboro North to a second straight win in Gr. III, while the 
WWPN girls try to repeat their one-point Mercer County win over two-time defender Hopewell Valley. Which could get a 1-2 
finish from Clare Buck and Julie Jablonski. Holmdel doubled in Gr. II last year, but is now in Gr. III, leaving Cinnaminson the 
pick in the boys’ race and Clark in the girls. Shore neighbors Max Sparshatt of Rumson and Matt Metlitz of Red Bank are the 
top boy entries, Julia Mark of Delaware Valley should have no problem repeating in the girls’ race. Metuchen also doubled last 
year and will probably will again in Gr. I boys, but has its hands full with Pt. Pleasant Beach, led by frosh Brianna Feerst in the 
field. Robbinsville could take both golds with Nick Lachman and outdoor 3200M group champ Megan Flynn.

                        Surest bet of the day is the repeat double in South Jersey Gr. II for Haddonfield, the boys going for their fifth in 
a row and the girls for their fourth, led by individual defenders Jon Vitez and Marielle Hall who could be on her way to a four-year 
sweep. The girls will be shooting for a perfect score, having tallied 16 points with almost he same lineup last year. Megan 
McGlinchey of West Deptford, however, is a likely spoiler. 

                        Toms River North is also aiming for a double at Delsea in Gr. IV< but will have its hands full with defending 
Cherokee in the boys; race. The Mariners, however, will have a good start with Joe Kotran and Aaron Lasker. Smith is, of course, 
a huge favorite to repeat in the girls’ event with county champs Brooke Kott of Millville and Angela Rugino of TRN battling for the 
silver with Maria Ruiz of Williamstown who has been chasing Ley all season.

                        Chelsea may try for another sub-17:00 as she goes for a repeat win in Gr. III, while outdoor 1600M champ Brett 
Johnson is an equally heavy favorite in the boys’ event. Ocean City and Seneca are favored to repeat their respective team victories, 
the Raiders having a tough row to hoe against Kingsway. Neighbors Haddon Heights and Haddon Twp are favored to win again in I, 
defenders Josh Black and Holly Gallagher leading the way in each case.

                        In the NJCTC meet, CBA goes for its 26th win in 27 years in the boys’ race, its fate depending on how strong a 
team Don Bosco enters. Red Bank Catholic is also trying for a repeat in the girls event with Pope John its most likely rival. Either 
Molke or Spencer would be the individual favorite should they run; otherwise, D.J. Thornton of Union Catholic, Pat Schellberg of 
Delbarton and soph Mike Mazzaccaro of CBA would probably be the top three. Inez Simoes of Roselle Catholic and Sarah Cariati 
of Pope John would head the girls’ field if Pagano stays on the sidelines.                      



                                     BOYS                                                                                    GIRLS

1. Don Bosco                                                                                     1. Haddonfield

2. West Windsor-Plainsboro North                                                   2. Ridge

3. Christian Brothers                                                                         3. Voorhees

4. Mendham                                                                                      4. Hillsboro

5. Morris Hills                                                                                   5. Randolph

6. Haddonfield                                                                                   6. Red Bank Catholic                  

7. West Windsor-Plainsboro South                                                   7. Toms River North     

8. Cherokee                                                                                       8. Pope John                  

9. Millburn                                                                                        9.  Holy Angels

10. Ridge                                                                                                     10. Imm. Ht. Academy

                     New Jersey’s three all-American girls will be making their final starts in the next few days before they head 
toward the state meet and their inevitable meeting in the all-group race at Holmdel County Park on Nov. 22.

                        Defending champ Melanie Thompson of Voorhees and Chelsea Ley of Kingsway will go to the line first on 
Thursday some 100 miles apart, Thompson seeking her fourth straight title in the Skylands Conference race at Pleasant 
Valley Park in Basking Ridge and Ley going for a repeat in the Tri-County meet at Cumberland. Jillian Smith of Southern 
Ocean will also be defending her title in the Shore Conference meet on Saturday at Ocean County Park.

                        Thompson, who completed a four-year run in the Hunterdon-Warren meet last Friday at Delaware Valley, 
faces a strong field, led by Jill Prentice of Montgomery who won the Somerset County meet last week in 18:09, just nine 
seconds off the course record Melanie set last year in her third Skylands’ victory. Smith, who missed the Ocean County 
meet last Saturday due to a visit to Tennessee, will battle Ocean County champ Angelo Rugino of Toms River North and 
Monmouth County stars Marie Walsh of Mater Dei and Briana Jackucewicz of Colts Neck.

                        Ley, who was also idle last week, has only the clock to battle in the Tri-County meet. She has been under 
18:00 in all three of her major wins to date this year, the most impressive race being the 17:44 at Holmdel in the Shore 
Coaches meet. 

                        The top boys’ race this weekend should be the Mercer County meet at Veterans Park in Hamilton where 
Eastern champ Joe Rosa of West Windsor-Plainsboro North goes against Philip Wood of Pennington, who will be making 
his penultimate bid for all-state recognition before going against Doug Smith of Gill-St. Bernard’s in the state Prep B race 
next Wednesday at Blair Academy.

                        An unlikely win for Wood would produce an unusual situation as his Lacey namesake won the Ocean County 
meet last Saturday in 15:41, just edging Joseph Kotran of Toms River North, who led his team to a 50-81 win over the Lions. 
The Mariners swept team honors with Rugino leading 40-100 win over the Smith-less Southern Ocean team.

                        Chelsea Cox stepped into Smith’s shoes in this one and her fourth-place finish in 18:47 was another indication 
that this 2:09 800M runner is more than ready to give Southern Ocean an outstanding 1200M leg at Penn this spring to go along 
with Jillian’s 4:40 or so on the anchor leg, a combination which would be hard to beat. 

                        Bergen County had its four-division group meet last Saturday at Darlington and two Parochial A girls teams 
stole the show. Immaculate Heart Academy repeated in A, 33-52, over Ridgewood with Sarah Pagano winning the race by 350 
yards over Sarah Daly of the Maroon. The Blue Eagles are still missing their No. 2 runner Mary Kay Duff, whose return would 
make them a solid threat to Haddonfield in the all-group meet.

                        Holy Angels had its best race of the season as it took the B race from Mahwah, 21-73 with Suzana Markolovic, 
newcomer Kaleigh Kenny and Jen Molke going 1-2-3, Markolovic finishing 125 yards ahead of her teammates in 19:15. Alexandra 
Clinton and her Ramsey teammates repeated in C and Hasbrouck Heights won its first title ever in D with Cassandra Lacovara of 
Palisades Park the individual winner in 20:31.

                        Top-ranked Don Bosco held out its two top runners, Leighton Spencer and Bob Molke, and still repeated easily 
in the boys’ A race over Ridgewood, 25-49, its junior stars Rafael Vargas, Michael Belgiovine and Howard Rosas going 2-3-4 
behind Taro Shigenobou of the Maroon who ran the day’s best of 15:56. This was three in a row for the Ironmen, a figure matched 
by Indian Hills in B and Bogota in D. Pascack Hills took the C race. 

                        Voorhees had its 9th win in a row in the Hunterdon-Warren girls’ race, 38-53, over Hunterdon Central with 
Colette Whitney backing up Thompson in second, a step or less ahead of Julia Mark of Delaware Valley, both clocked in 
18:19, 250 yards behind Thompson’s course record of 17:28. Hunterdon Central repeated in the boys’ event, 32-54, over 
Phillipsburg with Matt McDonald of North Hunterdon the individual winner in 16:33.

                        The Olympic Conference meet that day at Gloucester County College saw Cherokee take the boys’ race, 
43-80, over Washington Twp with David Forward of Shawnee finishing 150 yards ahead of Ryan Garvin of Lenape in 15:47. 
Seneca added the girls’ title to its recent Burlington County win with Caitlin Orr of Lenape also doubling the individual title 
in 18:27 over Nicole McGrainer of Seneca. 

                        The Cape May meet saw Tara Wuko lead Wildwood Catholic to its second win in three years, finishing 150 
yards ahead of teammate Chrissy Casiello in 19:02, while Ocean City continued its run in the boys’ meet despite the 
absence of Brett Johnson, who, like Jillian Smith, was off on a college trip. Sophomore Miles Schoedler filled in with a 16:33 win.

                        On Thursday, Haddonfield totally dominated both halves of the non-scoring Colonial Conference meet at 
Pennypacker Park. Marielle Hall led the top-ranked girls’ team as she made it three-for-three in 17:49, winning by 50 yards 
from Megan McGlinchey of West Deptford. Jon Vitez did the honors for the boys, finishing 100 yards ahead of teammate 
Colin Baker in 16:22.  



                                     BOYS                                                                                    GIRLS

1. Don Bosco                                                                                     1. Haddonfield

2. West Windsor-Plainsboro North                                                   2. Voorhees

3. Christian Brothers                                                                         3. Ridge

4. Mendham                                                                                      4. Randolph

5. Morris Hills                                                                                   5. Red Bank Catholic

6. Haddonfield                                                                                  6. Imm. Ht Acad                                                                                                             

7. West Windsor-Plainsboro South                                                   7. Toms River North

8. Cherokee                                                                                       8. Pope John

9. Millburn                                                                                        9. Southern Ocean

10. Kingsway                                                                                    10. WW-Plainsboro So.

                       Say the name “Jillian” to New Jersey running circles and the immediate reaction is that you must be talking about Jillian Smith, the National 
indoor mile and outdoor 800-meter champion from Southern Ocean Regional. But there is another young lady with that name who has been cutting a wide 
swath during the current cross-country season.

                        After two early open victories at the Magee Memorial and Old Bridge class meets, Jillian Prentice of Montgomery suffered a slight setback 
when she lost the B race at the Shore Coaches Invitational to Katie Kellner of West Windsor-Plainsboro South, but she came back this past week to score 
two big wins within four days, taking the B class race on Saturday at the Brown Invitational in 17:54 and then scoring a repeat victory on Wednesday over a 
strong field at the Somerset County meet with a near-course record of 18:09.

                        Prentice and Kellner, whose last race was a 15:00 victory at the Manhattan Invitational, are part of New Jersey’s fine “second echelon” of 
distance stars who must take a back set to the state’s trio of nationally-ranked stars: Melanie Thompson of Voorhees, Chelsea Ley of Kingsway and the 
afore-mentioned Miss Smith.. Thompson and Prentice will meet head-on next Thursday in the Skylands Conference meet at Pleasant Valley Park, the same 
course Jillian traveled so quickly in the Somerset affair.

                        Ley was also active this past week, defending her title at the Gloucester County meet with a course record of 17:24 at Gloucester County College, 
a notable effort as the previous mark had been set 26 years ago by Michelle Rowen of Washington Twp, one of the legendary figures in New Jersey distance 
running. It was her third sub-18:00 race of the season; she had won at the South Jersey Open Oct, 11 in 17:35. Smith was due to defend her Ocean County 
title on Oct. 24 at Ocean County Park without any serious opposition.

                        After their big day at the Manhattan meet---both team titles and the boys’ individual crown as well---New Jersey runners had been occupied chiefly 
with county or conference competition, some of the latter perhaps being farewell affairs due to the planned reshaping of North Jersey leagues next year.

                        We say “perhaps,” because, the day before the Iron Hills Conference meet on Tuesday at Randolph’s Freedom Park, Morris County principals turned 
down the structure of the proposed Northwest “super-conference,” due to objections which have nothing to do with the running sports. It’s all about football, of course.

In any case, that meet said goodbye in style as Sean Pohorence of Morris Hills set a course record of 15:35

despite very windy conditions. His victory was not enough, however, to keep Mendham from ending a six-year winning streak for the Knights in the Hills division with 
a 31-35 victory. This, however, was only the first of four meetings scheduled for the teams who will also battle in the Nov. 1 county meet and then in two of the three 
rounds of the state meet which begins Nov. 8.

                        In the girls’ action there, Gr. IV hopeful Randolph had an easy win in the Iron division over Roxbury, 36-75, with Joelle Amaral leading the way with an 
80-yard win over Mary Migton of Roxbury in 18:56, with Summit taking the Hills race, 51-66, over Chatham, which was missing its usual lead runner Jessica Villars. 
She should return for their next joust in the Nov. 8 sectional to team with Kat Grimes who won this one in 19:17.

                        The next day, in that Somerset County race, Ridge, which is Randolph’s main rival for state honors, had an easy win over Hillsboro, 46-66 with Dana 
Guglielmo finishing 75 yards behind Prentice in 18:24. The Red Devils had four in the first 10 and a team average 25 seconds faster than the Rams on the quicker 
Pleasant Valley course.

                        Doug Smith of Gill-St. Bernard’s repeated in the boys’ race there in 15:45, some 17 seconds above his course record set a year ago. What was 
expected to be a close team race between Ridge and Bridgewater fell apart when two Ridge regular were sidelined by recent injuries, the Panthers winning, 56-75.

                        The Northern Hills and Colonial Hills Conferences, which have the rest of the Morris County teams between then, held what could be their final meets 
on the two days after the Iron Hills. David Oster of Verona, a favorite for Gr. I honors, returned to action to win the CHC boys’ race in 16:21 and Olivia Tarantino of 
Pingry repeated in the girls’ event in 1930 with the Big Blue taking both team titles.

                        State outdoor 3200 champ Tyler Udland of Millburn led a 1-2-3 sweep in the Skyline division of the NHC with a record 16:11 in what could be the last 
race at Lewis Morris Park as the Millers easily defended their team title. The Suburban race went to Pat Schellberg of Delbarton in 17:04 (two days later. he would 
finish 4th at Brown in 15:36.) Mallory Anderson and her Madison team repeated in Suburban girls, while Millburn completed a sweep in the Skyline race.

                        Ley won her county race by 500 yards from Maria Ruiz of Williamstown who led a 61-77 win over Kingsway, which in turn defeated Washington Twp in 
the boys’ race, 31-40 behind a 1-2 finish from Ryan Culbreath and Dan Fitzgerald.

     David Forward of Shawnee reversed his recent loss in the South Jersey Open to Michael Bowden of North Burlington as he took the Burlington Cty title Oct. 17 at 
Mill Creek Park, finishing 90 yards ahead in 16:04 with Cherokee taking team honors, 47-84, from Moorestown. Seneca won its first girls’ title with Nicole McGrainer 
and Lyndsy Horn finishing 2-3 behind a 19:35 win for Caitlin Orr of Lenape.

     Haddonfield, as usual, skipped a sure double win in the Oct.16 Camden County meet, leaving the boys’ honors to Joah Black of Haddon Heights in a 15-yard win 
over Mike Gorczynski of Highland and the girls to Megan Venables of Highland who finished a minute ahead of Jenn Rawls of Highland in 18:16. The team titles went 
respectively to Cherry Hill East and Highland.

                        On Oct. 21, Christian Brothers Academy won the Monmouth County title for the 39th time in 47 years (the last seven in a row), 67-109, over Red Bank 
Catholic. Sophomore Mike Mazzaccaro led the way in 2nd place, 45 yards behind Robby Andrews of Manalapan, who repeated in 16:12. Marie Walsh of Mater Dei 
upset defender Briana Jackucewiicz of Colts Neck in the girls’ race in 19:09 with Red Bank Catholic also repeating, 75-121, over Holmdel.

                        Pat Rono, son of 1988 Olympic 1500-meter champ Peter, had his first major win in the Bergen County Scholastic League National race on Oct. 15, 
finishing 150 yards ahead of Art Freitas of Palisades Park, which took the team title. Another lad with a famous sports surname, Dayne Mosconi of Tenafly 
(think pocket billiards), took the BCSL American crown the day before in 17:45 to lead the Tigers to a 71-73 win over Fort Lee.

                        Sarah Pagano of Immaculate Heart Academy, the leader of the “second echelon,” had a 400-yard win over Charlene Boria of Passaic in the Northern 
New Jersey Interscholastic League meet on Oct. 14 at Garret Mountain, to lead her team to a 27-28 win over Holy Angels in the C division. The Blue Eagles are still 
awaiting the return of No. 2 runner Mary Kate Duff who could make them a serious contender for all-group honors. The boys’ race was missing all the major figures, 
including the entire Eastern champ Don Bosco squad; the Ironmen still won their division with their second team.

                        The Old Bridge Classic at Thompson Park last Saturday drew mostly teams that will be there for the Central Jersey sectionals on Nov. 8. Hillsboro 
had both individual winners in the A races, Jordan Magath taking the boys’ in 16:18 and Ashley Smolinka, later 2nd in that Somerset County race, the girls’ in 18:41. 
The B races went to Max Sparshatt of Rumson in 16:12 and Julia Mark of Delaware Valley in 18:50.              


                                     BOYS                                                                                    GIRLS

1. Don Bosco                                                                                    1. Haddonfield

2. West Windsor-Plainsboro North                                                  2. Voorhees

3. Christian Brothers                                                                        3. Ridge

4. Mendham                                                                                     4. Randolph

5. Morris Hills                                                                                  5. Red Bank Catholic

6. Haddonfield                                                                                  6. IHA                                                                                                            

7. West Windsor-Plainsboro South                                                  7. Pope John

8. Millburn                                                                                        8. Southern Ocean

9. Kingsway                                                                                      9. WW-Plainsboro South

10. Bridgewater                                                                                 10. Hopewell Valley

Given perfect running conditions, New Jersey cross-country runners responded with a series of outstanding individual 
efforts last Saturday at the mammoth Shore Coaches Invitational on the state championship course at Holmdel County Park.

                        On the boys’ side, sophomore Joe Rosa of West Windsor-Plainsboro North set a class record of 15:33 
in winning the B race by 100 yards from David Forward of Shawnee, coming within 15 seconds of the course mark shared 
by Jason DiJoseph of Paul VI and Craig Forys of Colts Neck, while outdoor state 1600-meter champ Brett Johnson of Ocean 
City finished 20 yards ahead of Tyler Udland of Millburn in the C race in 15:44.

                         For the girls, junior National indoor 5K champ Chelsea Ley of Kingsway was only nine seconds short of 
the 25-year-old record held by Janet Smith of North Edison as she won the C race by a minute and a half from Julie 
Jablonski of Hopewell Valley in 17:44. Earlier in the day, state 3200M titlist Melanie Thompson of Voorhees had run away 
from teammate Colette Whitney of Voorhees in 18:14 and, in the day’s final girls’ event, Jillian Smith of Southern Ocean 
coasted to a 90-yard win over Angela Rugino of Toms River East in the A race in 18:34.

                        Rosa also led his team to the top boys’ performance in a 43-84 win over brother school West Windsor 
Plainsboro South. He was joined for the first time this season by twin James, who finished 4th in 16:27, followed Ryan 
Sleeper in 7th in 16:33, Stephen Ellwood in 15th at 16:54 and Jon Squeri in 16th in 16:55. It all added up to a 16:27 
average, 12th best ever on the course and fastest ever in this meet. Earlier in the day, Christian Brothers had averaged 
16:42 in taking the A race, 49-177, from Southern Ocean. Absent from the meet were two others who will join WWPlNo, 
CBA in the title race this weekend at Manhattan: top-ranked Don Bosco and Morris Hills. 

                        Haddonfield had the fastest girls’ performance on the day with a 20:03 average in a 64-133 win over Clark 
in the F. Race. Thompson led Voorhees to a 42-120 win over Paul VI in D, her time bringing the Vikings mark down to 
20:06 despite two girls finishing over 21:00. Randolph’s well-balanced team had a 20:19 in winning the A race, Hopewell 
Valley a 20:23 in C and Ridge a 20:24 in a close win over WWPlSo in B. Missing here entirely were Immaculate Heart 
Academy and Red Bank Catholic, while Pope John, a well-beaten 5th behind Haddonfield, was missing two of its top three, 
Sarah Cariati and Jenny Heigis, who were taking the college boards.

                        The other individual winners in the boys’ races were Ryan Garvin of Lenape in A in a photo finish with 
Joseph Kotran of Toms River North, both timed in 16:14; Pat Schellberg of Delbarton in D at 16:20, Jon Vitez of Haddonfield 
in E at 16:05 and Doug Smith of Gill-St. Bernard’s in F at 16:29. Smith was back in action on his home course three days 
later in the Patriot League meet, defeating Philip Wood of Pennington in 15:29.

                        Udland led Millburn to a 72-91 win over Moorestown in C, Summit took D in 63, Haddonfield easily defended 
E, 36-131 over neighbor Haddon Twp and Pennsville did likewise in F with a 52-95 victory over Pingry, its nearest Gr. I rival 
being out of sight as Parochial B teams took the next six places.

                        In the other girls’ individual races, Katie Kellner of WWPlSo won in B over Jillian Prentice of Montgomery in 
18:35, Marielle Hall led Haddonfield to its victory as she nosed out Julia Mark of Delaware Valley in 18;52 and Megan Flynn 
of Robbinsville defeated Olivia Tarantino of Pingry in E in 19:15 as Mt. St. Mary’s topped the Big Blue for team honors, 76-84.

                        The day before the Shore meet, Shelby Greaney of Suffern (NY) visited the Garde State and had a runaway 
17:55 win in the B race in the Maroon Invitational at Garret Mountain, West Paterson. This was the fastest time ever run there, 
but the course has been shortened some 125 yards this year due to construction on the lower level. Suffern also took team 
honors, 20-65, over Middletown South. In the boys’ A race, Monroe-Woodbury won over Clifton, 45-84, with junior Joel Douglas 
of Hackensack defeating Luis Romero of Union City by 10 yards in 16:25.

                        Despite some defections---Smith for example---New Jersey has one of its strongest entries in years at the 
Manhattan meet. As noted, all four top boys’ teams will be in the first championship race at this meet with Joe Rosa among 
the top contenders for the gold. (Johnson and Udland will duel again in the E race, joined by Wood). Thompson, however, 
will be the only one of the three girls stars in the title race with Ley at the South Jersey Invitational, and Smith, as was the 
case last year, in a class race. All the top teams will be there, but would seem to have little chance against the New York 

                        Now for a look at the first Top Ten rankings of the season:


                         BOYS                                                                            GIRLS                        

1. Don Bosco                                                                               1. Haddonfield                       

2. West Windsor-Plainsboro North                                               2. Voorhees

3.ChristianBrothers                                                                        3. Red Bank Catholic          

4. Morris Hills                                                                               4. Immaculate Heart Academy  

 5.Haddonfield                                                                               5. Pope John                         

6. Mendham                                                                                     6. Randolph

7. West Windsor-Plainsboro South                                                  7. Southern Ocean

8. Millburn                                                                                        8. West Windsor-Plainsboro So, 

9. Kingsway                                                                                      9. Hopewell Valley

10. Ridge                                                                                          10. Hillsboro

Last week
The early return to the wars of Briana Jackucewicz of Colts Neck and a sterling performance by defending all-group 
champion Don Bosco at the Warwick Valley Wave Mania featured last weekend’s cross-country action in New Jersey.

                        Jackucewicz, whose high school career has been regularly interrupted by injuries, was no expected to 
make her first appearance this fall until the championship season begins in mid-October, scored a 20-yard win over Angela 
Rugino of Toms River North at her school’s Cougar Invitational at Bucks Mill Park in Colts Neck. With the rest of the state’s 
top runners, boys and girls, taking a day off in preparation for the Shore Coaches Invitational, this was easily the top individual 
effort of the weekend.

                        Don Bosco, which had romped in the Xavier Invitational a week earlier, was expected to find stiffer opposition 
at the Warwick Valley meet, but won just as easily over Walt Whitman, 22-90, with Leighton Spencer, Rafael Vargas and 
Robert Molke going 1-2-3, Spencer finishing 175 yards ahead of his teammates in 15:32. Juniors Mike Belgiovine and Howard 
Rosas finished 5th and 11th.

                        The Mendham boys and Toms River North girls were the team winners in the championship race at the Cougar 
Invitational, both showing well-balanced lineups. Mendham had its five home within 50 seconds in the boys’ race as it defeated 
Colts Neck, 40-67, led by Mike Franklin in 4th at 16:09. George Galasso of Holmdel took individual honors over Mark Leininger 
of Colts Neck in 15:48.

                        Rugino, the only senior in the Toms River North lineup, led a 32-48 win over Colts Neck with the rest of the 
team sweeping the 6th through 11th positions, separated by just 21 seconds. 

                        Randolph had a 1-2 finish from Joelle Amaral and Molly Higgins as it ran away with the Gr. IV girls race at the 
Passaic County Coaches meet at Garret Mountain, Amaral finishing 125 yards ahead of her teammate in 18:56. Natalie 
Anthony finished 4th and Rebecca Snelson 7th as the Rams again indicated they will be a major player in the state this fall.

                        He other individual winners there were Tori Berard of Morris Knolls in Gr. III at 19:05, Alyssa LaGuardia of DePaul 
in Gr. II at 19:28 and Marie Walsh of Mater Dei in Gr. I at 19:12. Berard and Walsh  were scoring their second wins of the season, 
LaGuardia the first of what promises to be a interesting career. Team winners were Morris Knolls in III, Mahwah in II and Mt. St. 
Mary’s in I.

                        Chris Johnson of Berkeley Heights easily topped the field as he won the Gr. II racer there in 15:46. Taro Shigenobou 
of Ridgewood took IV in 16:06, Tom Gaidus of Northern Highlands in II in 16:34 and Pat Rochford of Bogota in I at 16:37. Randolph 
also won the Gr. IV boys’ title, Sparta scored in III, Wallkill Valley in II and North Warren in I.

                        In the state’s oldest invitational, the Stewart Memorial at Warinanco Park, state AG 3200-meter champ Yyler Udland 
led Millburn to an east win in the B race in 16:20 and Hamar Farag dir the same for Morristown in A at 17:01. The 1-2 finishers in the 
C race were both second generation stars: winner Matt Giacobbe of Cedar Grove of the nephew of the three Conheeney brothers, all 
sub-4:20 milers in the early ‘70s, while runner-up Pat Rono of Lyndhurst is the son of 1988 Olympic 1500M winner Peter Rono, who 
now runs a sports store in that Bergen County community.

                        Sophomore Ines Simoes of Roselle Catholic had a 19:26 win in the girls’ C race, Sophia Ginez of South Brunswick 
led her school to the A title in 19:39 and Chatham had a 1-2 finish in the B event from juniors Jessica Villars and Kat Grimes, Villars 
finishing 50 yards ahead of her teammate in 19:44, not enough to stave off a 61-62 loss to neighbor Summit. Defending Parochial B 
champ St. Rose defeated Madison in C, 47-78.

                        Christian Brothers ran its B squad at the Stewart Memorial, saving the regulars for an important duel meet with Colts 
Neck a few days later. The Cougars went 1-2 in this one with Leininger and soph Mike O’Dowd, but the Colts took the next five places 
to extend their national record to 293. The closest meet in that string was against a St. John Vianney team coached by present Colts 
Neck mentor Jim Schlentz. It ended 28-8 with CBA getting the nod on a comparison of sixth men finishers.



Heralded in advance as one of the greatest cross-country seasons in New Jersey history, the 2008 campaign got fully underway 
this past weekend with a series of individual and team victories that ranged geographically from the Bowdoin Classic in Wappingers 
Falls, New York, to the Briarwood Classic in Fairmont Park, Philadelphia.

                        At the Bowdoin meet, Christian Brothers Academy scored a stunning upset in the boys’ race over perennial 
New York power Shenendehowa and New Jersey rival Morris Hills, 80-94-105, led by sophomore Mike Mazzaccaro, who finished 
9th in 16:07, while Sean Pohorence of Morris Hills and defending state all-group champion Melanie Thompson  of Voorhees swept 
individual honors in 16:07 and 18:23.

                        At Fairmont Park, sophomore Joe Rosa led West Windsor-Plainsboro North to a 68-69 win over North Penn, 
cracking the meet record with a 50-yard win over Philip Wood of Pennington in 15:33, while Haddonfield took the girls’ race from 
North Penn, 66-89, with junior Marielle Hall finishing second to Meghan Smith of Padua in 19:20. 

                        Don Bosco, the defending all-group champions, scored an easy win at the Xavier Invitational at Van Cortlandt 
Park behind a 1-2 finish by seniors Leighton Spencer and Robert Molke, who ran 12:58 and 13:05. Junior Howard Rosas was 
fifth in 13:26.

                        Randolph split even at the Suffern Invitational at Bear Mountain, the boys defeating Mahopac, 80-81, and the girls 
losing a close one to the powerful Suffern team, 50-56. Soph Joelle Amaral ran second for the girls in 18:45 with teammates Molly 
Higgins and Natalie Anthony placing sixth and eighth in 19:16 and 19:22.

                        Of all these victories, CBA’s was easily the most surprising. The Colts, who finished a distant second to Don 
Bosco in last year’s all-group meets, graduated their entire varsity, and were thought to be a year away from reclaiming the state 
title. But they had a tight pack with just 18 seconds between Mazzaccaro and Brendan Swan, who finished 23rd in 17:15. Another 
soph, Dan Mykityshyn, was the No. 2 man in 15th place at 17:03, followed immediately by Dan Bailey and Denis Smith.

                        Pohorence finished 85 yards ahead of Mark Leininger of Colts Neck, who ran 16:21, and Mike O’Dowd, another 
member of last fall’s strong freshman class, was 6th for the Cougars in 16:41. Thompson finished 20 yards ahead of Liz Predmore 
of Shenendehowa with Colette Whitney of Voorhees third in 19:06. The Vikings, who set a course record winning the all-group 
meet last fall at Holmdel County Park, finished 4th in the team races, badly missing its two graduates, Katrina Spratford and 
Christine Curtis.

                        West Windsor North, which had dominated its own Knights Invitational class meet a week earlier with Rosa 
running 9:38 for 3200 meters, is still missing Joe’s twin James, who also got a late start a year ago but wound up setting an 
outdoor freshman mark at that distance. 

                        The in-state action last weekend was dominated by the Cherokee Invitational where National indoor mile and 
outdoor 800-meter champ Jillian Smith of Southern Ocean thoroughly smashed the year-old course record for 3200M at 10:41, 
finishing 120 yards ahead of Juliet Bottorf of the visiting Tatnall team from Delaware. Chelsea Ley of Kingsway, who had broken 
Olympian Erin Donohue’s mark a year ago. took the junior race in 10:59.

                        In the boys; action, Jon Vitez of Haddonfield and Robbie Andrews of Manalapan were just a second part as they 
won the junior and senior races, respectively, Vitz running 9:36 and Andrews 9:37. David Forward of Shawnee and Joe Kotran of 
Toms River North race behind Vitz in 9:43 and 9:45 and Ryan Culbreath of Kingsway followed Andrews in 9:52. 

                        The massive Magee Memorial class meet at Warinanco Park, Elizabeth, saw George Galasso of Holmdel return 
to his sophomore form as he won the senior race by 85 yards from Chris Johnson of Berkeley Heights in 16:14 while D.J. 
Thornton of Union Catholic topped Chris Banafato of Bridgewater in the junior event in 16:33. Jillian Prentice of Montgomery led 
the girls with an easy 19:12 win in the junior race while Dana Guglielmo of Ridge came from behind to defeat Marie Walsh of 
Mater Dei in the senior event at 19:21 to add to her 19:40 win in the A race at the rain-drenched Randolph Invitational a week 
earlier. Inez Simoes of Roselle Catholic was a runaway winner in the soph race in 19:12. 

                        South Jersey visitors dominated the Battle of Monmouth class meet at historic Monmouth Battlefield of Molly 
Pitcher fame. Melissa Showers of Cherry Hills East took the senior girls race from Jen Rawls of Highland in 19:54 and Kyle 
Gorczynski of Highland finished yards ahead of Dave Berger of Cherrry Hill East in the boys’ event in 16:47. But soph Megan 
Venables of Highland stole the show with her 19:12 win in the soph girls’ race. 

                        The day before all this action, junior Dan Rondon of North Bergen won the A division of the Season Opener at 
Darlington Park in 16:18 and freshman Kristen Traub of Eastern Christian took the girls B event in 19:43, her second win of the 
young season. Traub, who won the Manhattan intermediate race the past two years, had taken the C race a week earlier at 
Randolph in 19:05. 

                        Traub, however, will not have the freshman field to herself this fall. The next day, Ajee Wilson of Neptune, who 
doubled the 800 and 1500 at the AAU Junior Olympics this past summer, showed up late for the frosh race at the Roxbury 
Invitational, but was placed in the sophomore event where she promptly defeated Mary Migton of Roxbury in 20:06. The next 
week, Wilson finished 2nd to Haley Pierce of Tatnall in 11:43 at the Cherokee meet, just ahead of Caroline Kellner of West 
Windsor-Plainsboro South, who had run away with the frosh race at the Knights Invitational a week earlier.

                        The Roxbury meet also saw Laura Vigilante of Mendham run away with the junior-senior event in 18:46, finishing 
some 450 yards ahead of Erin McKenna of Ramapo. In other races that weekend, Walsh won at the St. Dominic Invitational in 
20:25 over a 3.3M course and in the two Livingston campus meets, Olivia Tarantino scored at Newark Academy in 18:41 and 
Tori Berard of Morris Knolls at the Lancer Invitational in 19:12. 

                        There were two notable winners in the boys’ events at the Livingston meets. State outdoor 3200M champ Tyler 
Udland of Millburn defeated junior classmate Brian Robinson at the Lancer Invitational in a course record 16:17 and Philip Wood 
won at Newark Academy by 250 yards from Dan Schuchinsky of Pingry. (His namesake, Phil Wood of Lacey, was 5th in the 
Cherokee junior race in 9:54.)

                        Strangest incident of the young season was the quick appearance and then disappearance of Rachel Ngu, a 
transfer from California. She won the B race for Berkeley Heights at Randolph in 19:19, then moved a few days later to Long Island.

                        Action this coming weekend will be highlighted by the Stewart Memorial at Warinanco Park, the state’s oldest 
open meet, and the Cougar Invitational at Colts Neck, a young meet which has drawn a strong interstate field each year since 
its inception. Another old standby is the Passaic Coaches Invitational at Garret Mountain, where the course has been slightly 
altered this year.