Ungvarsky out-leans Pt. Pleasant Boro’s Hart, becomes 4th Cinnaminson runner to win state XC title!!!!!

It was clear early on that either Pt. Pleasant Boro’s Devin Hart, the South Jersey Group 2 XC champion, and Cinnaminson’s Michael Ungvarsky, the state Group 2 champ at 3,200 meters last spring, was going to win the state Group 2 XC title Saturday.

Hart edged Ungvarsky at Delsea last weekend in the South Jersey Group 2 race, but in the rematch, with a state title at state, Ungvarsky came out in front.

Ungvarsky, a Cinnaminson senior, and Hart, a Pt. Pleasant Boro sophomore, were both credited with 15:58 on the historic 5,000-meter layout at Holmdel County Park, with Ungvarsky prevailing to become Cinnaminson’s fourth individual state champion.

This is the first time in history two runners have finished under 16 minutes in a state Group 2 race at Holmdel.

Ungvarsky follows Dave Zamichielli in 1987, Bill Mason in 1998 and Jon Anderson in 2003, all in Group 2.

Ungvarsky ran one second faster at Holmdel at Shore Coaches, but his time was still fourth-fastest at the state Group 2 meet since it moved to Holmdel.

A gap of about 165 meters separated Ungvarsky and Hart at the finish line from third-place Jared Cooper of Mountain Lakes, who ran 16:31.

Cinnaminson and Cherokee are responsible for seven of eight state XC titles that Burlington County boys have won over the past 48 years, with Delran’s Rex Myers — a U.S. Junior National steeplechase champion — the only exception.

Here is a complete list of every Burlington County boy in history to win a state cross country title:

Walter Molineux [Moorestown], 1947, Groups 1-2-3 [13:25]
Rodman Zwirner [Moorestown], 1954, Group 1-2-3 [12:48]
Carl Budden [Rancocas Valley], 1961, Group 3 [12:34]
Barry Middleton [Moorestown], 1962, Groups 1-2 [12:39]
Ricky Jacques [Burlington Twp.], 1966, Group 1 [12:45]
Ricky Jacques [Burlington Twp.], 1967, Group 1 [12:11]
Bill Sampson [Burlington Twp.], 1968, Group 1 [12:42]
Dave Zamichielli [Cinnaminson, 1987, Group 2 [16:45]
Rex Myers [Delran], 1988, Group 2 [16:27]
Bill Mason [Cinnaminson], 1998, Group 2 [16:37]
Joe Halin [Cherokee], 1999, Group 4 [16:09]
Marc Pelerin [Cherokee], 2001, Group 4  [16:09]
Jon Anderson [Cinnaminson], 2003, Group 2  [16:19]
Shawn Wilson [Cherokee], 2012, Group 4  [15:40]
Michael Ungvarsky [Cinnaminson], 2016, Group 2 [15:58]

Merkh becomes first SJ girl in 18 years to win NJ Group 1 XC title!!!

No South Jersey girl had won a state Group 1 title in nearly two decades.

When Annika Merkh finally ended that 18-year drought, she did it in overwhelming fashion.

Merkh, a senior at Haddon Township, won the state Group 1 cross country title Saturday by nearly 90 meters, becoming the first South Jersey girl since 1998 to win the state Group 1 championship.

She’s also the first Haddon Township girl ever to win a state cross country title.

Merkh ran 20:08, with Buena freshman Alana Sasdelli taking second in 20:29. Curiously, no South Jersey girl had finished first or second in the state Group 1 race since 1998, so the two best performances in nearly 20 years both came on Saturday.

The last South Jersey girl to finish first or second at Group 1 states was Olympian Erin Donohue of Haddonfield, who won the 1997 and 1998 races on the same hilly 5,000-meter course at Holmdel County Park.

Since the state girls meet was broken up into groups in 1976, the only other South Jersey girls to win the Group 1 title are Ruth Lockbaum of Glamssboro in 1985, Cheryl Keating of Sacred Heart in 1989, Janet Rue of Pitman in 1990 and 1991, Jen Rafferty of Riverside in 1993.

Merkh reached the XC Meet of Champions for the first time in cross country. She was 12th at states last year, just missing. She’s been to the M-of-C three times outdoors in the 1,600.

Her previous PR at Holmdel was 21:10 at last year’s state meet, so she trimmed more than a minute off that time.


The highest previous finish by a Haddon Township girl was third place, and that happened three times.

Sharon Crow was third in the 1997 race in 21:05, Holly Gallagher was third in the 2007 race in 20:20, leading Township to its only state team title, and Nora Grimm was third last year.



C.H. East’s Yoon, Kingsway’s Vick race into all-time SJ Holmdel top-15!

Grace Yoon and Rachel Vick both broke 18:30 on the hallowed 5,000-meter Holmdel County Park course Saturday, both earning spots on the all-time South Jersey list on the hilly course that’s hosted the New Jersey State Cross Country Championships since the 1970s.

Yoon, a freshman at Cherry Hill East, placed second in the state Group 4 meet in 18:28, and Vick, a senior at Kingsway, placed third in 18:29 in a crazy finish that saw four girls finish between 18:28 and 18:30.

Ridgewood senior Olympia Martin won the race in 18:28, followed by Yoon, Vick and Niamh Hayes of Howell, who was fourth in 18:30.

Yoon and Vick moved into the 13th and 14th spots on the all-time Holmdel County Park list, just behind two-time Olympian Erin Donohue of Haddonfield.

This was only the fifth time ever two South Jersey girls ran 18:30 or faster in the same race at Holmdel.

Yoon’s time is only nine seconds off the school record at Holmdel, Theresa Catunna’s 18:18 when she placed third in the 2006 Meet of Champions behind Danielle Tauro and Ashley Higginson.

Vick’s time is No. 2 in Kingsway history, behind Chelsea Ley, whose fastest time at Holmdel was a 17:44 at the 2008 Shore Coaches meet. It’s also No. 3 in Gloucester County history, behind only Michelle Rowen of Washington Township (17:40 in 1982) and Ley.

Yoon had never previously run at Holmdel and her time was somehow 19 seconds faster on New Jersey’s most challenging course Saturday as it was a week earlier at Delsea on New Jersey’s  easiest course. So this was a huge breakthrough for her.

Vick’s previous best time at Holmdel was 19:27 at the 2014 state Group 4 meet.

Here is the updated all-time South Jersey Holmdel County Park performance list, with the best time by any girl who’s ever run 19:00 or faster. As always, corrections and additions are welcome!

17:28 Megan Venables [Highland Reg.], 2010
17:40 Michelle Rowen [Washington Twp.], 1982
17:44 Chelsea Ley [Kingsway], 2008
17:45 Briana Gess [Haddonfield], 2013
17:55 Megan Lacy [Cherokee], 2010
18:05 Alyssa Aldridge [Mainland], 2015
18:09 Holly Bischof [Bishop Eustace], 2010
18:12 Brittany Sedberry [Ocean City], 2004
18:17 Marielle Hall [Haddonfield], 2009
18:18 Theresa Catunna [Cherry Hill East], 2006
18:20 Devin Grisbaum [Ocean City], 2014
18:22 Vanessa Wright [Haddonfield], 2004
18:27 Erin Donohue [Haddonfield], 2000
18:28 Grace Yoon [Cherry Hill East], 2016
18:29 Rachel Vick [Kingsway], 2016
18:38 Casey Doyle [Shawnee], 2007
18:40 Mindy Rowand [Sterling], 1984
18:40 Dina Iacone [Washington Twp.], 2011
18:41 Shelby Cain [Haddonfield], 2011
18:43 Amanda Goetschius [Delsea], 2005
18:44 Arianna McKinney [Highland], 2003
18:49 Mara Sschiffhauer [Seneca], 2013
18:50 Dawn Cody [Paul VI], 1982
18:50 Jamie Wisgerber [Woodstown], 1994
18:50 Meghan Malloy [Haddonfield], 2011
18:52 Lisa Burkholder [Cherokee], 2004
18:53 Renee Tomlin [Ocean City], 2005
18:57 Lori Watson [Cherry Hill East], 1983
18:58 Abbey Hartman [Ocean City], 1996
18:59 Wendy Westphal [Highland], 1982
18:59 Kara Bonner [Shawnee,], 2015
19:00 Katie Van Horn [Triton], 2004

Melko leads 4 in top 11 & Eustace boys roll to 3rd state title in 7 years!!

With just one senior in its seven-man pack, Bishop Eustace Prep rolled to a commanding 29-point win over Pingry Saturday in the state Parochial B cross country championships at Holmdel County Park.

Pingry packed its five scorers in 32 seconds, but Eustace placed four runners ahead of Pingry’s second runner and coasted from there.

Sophomore Connor Melko placed third overall in 16:54, junior Nick Hutchison ran sixth in 17:05 and senior Michael Dziubawas 10th in 17:34, giving Eustace three of the top 10 finishers overall.

Sophomore Andrew Massaro was just behind Dziuba, 11th in 17:39, and another sophomore, Brian Hutchison, closed out Eustace’s scoring, placing 20th in 17:57. Another sophomore, Grant Melko, was the top sixth man in the race, finishing 25th in 18:16. Soph Sean May (49th in 18:57) gave Eustace all seven in the top 50, placing 47th overall.

Eustace outscored Pingry 50-79 in winning its sixth state cross country title overall. Eustace also won state titles in 1980, 1982, 2002, 2010 and 2011.

The only non-public schools in history to win more state titles than Eustace are Christian Brothers Academy, which won its 27th on Saturday; Pingry and St. Benedict, with nine each; and Paul VI with seven. Essex Catholic, St. Rose and and Mater Dei have also won six.

Only Haddonfield, Haddon Township and Paul VI have won more state titles among South Jersey schools than Eustace.

15 Haddonfield
10 Haddon Twp.
7 Paul VI
6 Bishop Eustace
5 Cherokee
4 Overbrook
4 Saint Augustine
3 Mainland

This is Eustace’s first time back in Parochial B since 2011 after four years in Parochial A. The Crusaders have won Parochial B the last three times they’ve been assigned to the smaller group.



All-Underclass Delsea boys race to first S.J. sectional XC title in 19 years!


Junior George Denenberg and sophomore Colin Kane placed fifth and sixth and helped Delsea Regional win its first sectional cross country title in 19 years Saturday.

Denenberg ran 16:29 and Kane 16:31.

The Crusaders outscored second-place Ocean City 53-77 to win the South Jersey Group 3 XC title on their flat 5,000-meter home course in Franklinville.

How dominating was Delsea? They had five runners in the top 15 and nobody else had more than two runners in the top 15.

Delsea’s last sectional title was Group 3 in 1997, when the Crusaders beat Mainland by 19 points, led by Steve Preite in second place and Brian Thibault and Will Webekind also in the top 10. Their only other team title was Group 2 in 1982.

Juniors William Mayhew and Dylan Senatore and sophomore Daniel Antonelli gave Delsea five runners in the top-15. They placed 13th, 14th and 15th in 16:49, 16:52 and 16:58.

That’s a crazy 29-second gap between first and fifth. Nobody else in the race was under a minute betweeen first and fifth.

This is Delsea’s fifth straight finish in the top four in South Jersey Group 3.

Kingsway tops Shawnee in SJ-4 girls battle of South Jersey’s top 2 teams!

Seniors Rachel Vick and Destiny Stanford led four Kingsway runners in the top 15, and the Dragons roared to a 21-point win over Shawnee for their second straight South Jersey Group 4 cross country title.

Kingsway finished with a 69-90 margin of victory over Shawnee, with Toms River North a close third with 97 points. Kingsway defeated Shawnee by 34 last year.

Cherry Hill East sophomore Sarah Pierce was first overall in 18:05, becoming East’s first individual winner in 33 years — since Lori Watson in 1983.

But Vick was second in 18:15 and after Toms River North freshman Jade Tricomy took third in 18:38, Stanford crossed the line in 18:39.

Junior Alexis Malarkey and sophomore Lauren Krott placed 14th and 15th for Kingsway in 19:29 and 19:30, and senior McKenzie Nugent closed it out for Kingsway, taking 34th in 20:11.

Kingsway is ranked No. 1 in South Jersey and No. 3 in New Jersey, and Shawnee is No. 2 in South Jersey and No. 7 in the state poll.

The win was Kingsway’s second in a row and second all-time. Seven schools have won all the South Jersey Group 4 girls titles in the last 27 years — Shawnee from 1990 through 2001, plus 2013 and 2014, Toms River East in 2002, Cherokee in 2003, Toms River North in 2004 plus 2007 through 2010, Cherry Hill East in 2005 and 2006, Lenape in 2011 and 2012 and Kingsway now in 2015 and 2016.

Shawnee was led by senior Kara Bonner and freshman Isabella Turner, sixth and seventh in 18:50 and 18:52. They were backed up by junior Claire Rankin (19th in 19:45), sophomore Lauren Tenet (26th in 20:00) and junior Laura Mavracic and sophomore Grace Kearns, who took 32nd and 33rd in 20:10 and 20:11.



Cherokee boys end 4-year drought, win first sectional XC title since 2011

Cherokee placed three runners under 16 minutes and eked out a six-point win and its first sectional cross country title since 2011 Saturday.
The Chiefs, ranked No. 6 in New Jersey, outscored Kingsway 60-66 in the closest South Jersey Group 4 finish since 2009, when Shawnee defeated Southern Regional by one point.

Jack Shea was first across the line in 15:37 over the flat 5,000-meter course at Delsea Regional High School in Franklinville. Nick Falk placed third in 15:48 and Justin Kelly was fourth in 15:51, giving the Chiefs three of the first four finishers.

Junior Brandon Marks was 12th for Cherokee in 16:26.

Joe Grandizio of Kingsway was second, and the Dragons placed their second, third, fourth and fifth runners all between Marks and Cherokee’s fifth runner, junior Joe Falk, who placed 40th in 17:02.

This is the first time in 13 years three runners from the same school broke 16 minutes at the South Jersey Group 4 sectionals.
In 2003, Greg Hughes, James Wyner and Spencer Popeson from the legendary Mainland Regional team all ran 15:46 or faster. That team went on to win the Meet of Champions.

This is the first time one school has had two runners under 16 in the South Jersey Group 4 race Connor Herr (15:26) and Peter Murray (15:59) of Shawnee went 1-3 in 2011.

The team title is Cherokee’s first since 2011, ends Cherry Hill East’s three-year hold on team honors, and gives coach Steve Shaklee his his seventh South Jersey Group 4 title overall since 1997 to go with three when he was at Shawnee.

Kingsway, ranked 12th in New Jersey, placed all seven of its runners in the top 30 and all ran 16:48 or faster … and all are underclassmen!

After Grandizio, junior Jonathan Connor was 13th (16:28), junior Brian Mangiaracina 15th (16:33), sophomore Kieran Burns 16th (16:34), junior Cade Hindley 20th (16:44), junior Cole Hindley 23rd (16:45) and sophomore Gavin Wagner 29th (16:48).

This is the first time Cherokee has had both the individual winner and a team title since 2007, when Alex Yersak won his third straight race and Cherokee won 52-90 in the team race over Cherry Hill West.

This is also Cherokee’s 20th consecutive year finishing in the top six in the South Jersey Group 4 race and 16th time in that 20-year span in the top three. That 20 years includes seven 1sts, six 2nds, three 3rds, three 4ths and a 6th.

Overall, this was Cherokee’s eighth South Jersey Group 4 title, which ties the Chiefs for second-most in South Jersey boys history behind Cinnaminson, which goes into today’s Group 2 race with 11 titles (including one in Central Jersey).

Cherokee’s 16:09 average is the sixth-fastest since the meet moved to Delsea
For a complete sectional history of team and individual winners in every group and in every section, click here.