Former Cherokee runner Nick Falk placed third overall and The College of New Jersey men’s XC team overcame a 1-2 Rowan finish to edge the Profs by one point to win the 2018 New Jersey Athletic Conference title.
It was TCNJ’s 29th conference title.
Rowan won last year’s team title, ending a streak of 23 straight for TCNJ (the first two as Trenton State). So TCNJ has now won 24 of the last 25. The Lions also won in 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1991.
Senior Daniel “Fitch” Henry of Clearview and freshman Cyril Harvey went 1-2 for Rowan in 26:10 and 26:13 over 8,000 meters on a cold, windy day at Dream Park in Logan Township, Gloucester County.
But led by Falk, six of the next 10 finishers were from TCNJ and the Lions finished with a 40-41 margin of victory over Rowan.
Falk ran 26:34, with soph Pelle Nogueira seventh in 26:57 and then four straight TCNJ finishers from ninth through 12th – freshman William Mayhew of Delsea, sophomore Robert Abrams from Cherry Hill West and seniors Quinn Wasko and Luke Prothero, all between 27:00 and 27:13.
That’s a 39-second gap from Falk to Wasko.
Rowan led 8-19 after three runners and 21-29 after four. But TCNJ packed all seven of its runners in front of Rowan’s fifth runner, which made the difference.
Even though Prothero and sophomore Matt Kole (18th in 27:22) didn’t score, they did bump Rowan’s fifth runner, giving the Lions the team title.
Ramapo had three of the top eight finishers and finished third with 47 points, which makes three teams within seven points.
Rowan also had junior Matt Russo in the top 10 (5th in 26:48).