Mainland girls roll to Atlantic County title, EHT’s Olivia Shafer is overall winner!!!

The Mainland Regional girls on Friday won the Atlantic County XC Championships for the 16th time and did it with the largest margin of victory in 15 years.

Mainland, led by freshman Alyssa Turner and senior Emily Dirkes in the top 5, outscored second-place Holy Spirit 35-73. The 38-point margin of victory is the largest in the Atlantic County girls meet since 2003, when Mainland outscored Atlantic City by 45 points (30-75).

Egg Harbor Township junior Olivia Shafer ran 18:29 on the 5,000-meter course at Stockton University in Galloway Township for overall honors.

Turner was second in 19:01 and Dirkes fifth in 19:45. Mainland placed all five of its scorers in the top 11 — freshman Savannah Hodgens ran seventh in 20:06, junior Madeline Corbett took 10th in 20:17 and junior Abby Argentiero placed 11th in 20:41.

Freshman Lily Malone [18th in 21:34] and sophomore Giselle Obergfell [21st in 21:39] gave Mainland seven runner in the top 21.

Shafer became Egg Harbor’s fourth individual winner and first since older sister Abby Shafer won in 2012. Other EHT winners were Jen Weber, who won three straight from 1986 through 1988, and Erica Lacovara-Switzer, who won three straight from 1994 through 1996.

Abby and Olivia Shafer are the daughters of Chris Shafer, a noted Jersey Shore-area marathoner. Abby ran for Shippensburg (Pa.) and New England College in Waterville, Maine, after graduating from EHT. At New England College, she won the North Atlantic Conference XC race last fall in Farmington, Maine.

Mainland, ranked No. 7 in South Jersey, previously won the Atlantic County team title in 1981, 1982, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2014 and 2016.

Other in the top 10 were Holy Spirit senior Paige Sofield, third in 19:18; Cedar Creek freshman Megan Winterbottom, fourth in 19:41; Holy Spirit senior Angela Bannan, sixth in 20:02; Atlantic County Tech senior Ariana Ramirez, eighth in 20:08; and Egg Harbor sophomore Michaela Pomatto, ninth in 20:12.

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Miguel Vera wins 3rd straight title, leads Colts to Cumberland County championship!!!

Senior Miguel Vera, sophomore Jermaine Kent, junior Damien Grooms and senior Jared Herrera swept the top four spots, and Cumberland Regional raced to a 17-53 win over Millville Thursday in the Cumberland County XC Championships.

The win was the third in a row for Vera, who becomes the first to win three straight Cumberland County titles since James Holden of Bridgeton in 1998, 1999 and 2000 and the first-ever three-time winner from Cumberland Regional.

Other three-time winners are Walt Williams of Millville in 1960, 1961 and 1962, Tony Harden of Millville in 1979, 1980 and 1981 and Urie Ridgeway of Bridgeton in 1986, 1987 and 1999.

Vera covered the 5,000-meter course at Millville High in 16:53, with Kent, Grooms and Herrera running 17:18, 17:28 and 17:35.

Cumberland’s fifth runner, senior William Knipe, wasn’t far back, taking seventh overall in 17:58. Senior Galileo Wang made it six Colts in the top 10 with a ninth-place finish in 18:13.

The Colts’ 17 points are the lowest in the meet since Vineland pitched a 15-61 shutout over Millville in 2015.

Cumberland previously won the county meet in 1983, 1996, 2008 and 2016.

Also in the top 10 were Millville junior Zachary Asselta [5th in 17:49], Vineland senior Primit Patel [6th in 17:56], Millville junior Brandon DeShields [8th in 18:09] and Vineland junior Xavyon Rosa [10th in 18:21].

Sarah Pierce leads Cherry Hill East girls to 3rd Olympic Conference title in 5 years!!!!!

Senior Sarah Pierce led seven Cherry Hill East runners in the top 22, and East ran away with the Olympic Conference girls XC title by a 63-88 score over Shawnee.

It was Cherry Hill East’s third title in the last five years. East also won in 2014 and 2016.

Pierce was East’s only finisher in the top nine, but then they had seven of the next 13 finishers, with freshman Madison McNiff [10th in 20:02], sophomore MaryKathleen McCurdy [14th in 20:19], sophomore Isabel Slimm [17th in 20:45] and senior Dani Lazarus [18th in 20:46] also scoring and sophomore Tabitha DiDonato [20th in 20:53] and junior Aliza Kotzen [22nd in 20:57] just behind.

That’s a 20:15 average on the fast new course at Dream Park in Logan Township, near Rowan University.

Paul VI scored 92 and Cherokee 113. Cherry Hill East is ranked No. 5 in south Jersey and Shawnee is No. 6.

Kate Rathman tore up the Dream Park 5,000-meter course in 18:22, with Bishop Eustace’s Katy Storti also under 19 minutes at 18:49. Eustace senior Clare Morelli was third in 19:07.

Also in the top 5 were Shawnee junior Claire Hauser [5th in 19:24], Seneca sophomore Emma Klouchek [6th in 19:48], Lenape senior Shelby Whetstone [7th in 19:58], Washington Township junior Kate Cochrane [8th in 20:00] and Shawnee Grace Kearns [9th in 20:02].

East’s 25-point margin of victory is the largest in the Olympic Conference girls team scoring since 2008, when Seneca beat Cherry Hill East 74-112.

Katie Cottingham makes history as first BCSL individual champion from Medford Tech!!!!!

Katie Cottingham made history Wednesday, becoming the first Medford Tech girl ever to win a BCSL cross country title.

Cottingham, a freshman at Medford Tech, ran 21:49 — a PR for any 5,000-meter course — to run away with the Freedom Division race at the Burlington County Scholastic League championships at New Egypt High School.

Cottingham won by about 400 meters over Holy Cross junior Annemarie Donachie, second in 23:37.

The best previous finish by a Medford Tech runner at the BCSL meet came just last year, when Maria Jimenez placed third.

Cottingham’s previous 5,000 PR was 23:39 in a batch meet with Pennsauken, Burlington Township, Holy Cross and Riverside at Palmyra Cove Nature Park.

She ran exactly two minutes faster Wednesday than she ran five days earlier at the Burlington County Open at Mill Creek, which is a more challenging course but certainly doesn’t run two minutes faster than New Egypt.

Three other Medford Tech runner finished in the top 11. Junior Kiara Rivera ran eighth, sophomore Neradia Crespo was ninth and junior Briana Rivera placed 11th.

The Medford Tech boys program has had several conference XC champions: Jim Schneider in 1999, Edwin Winrow in 2000, Chase Compton in 2001, Norman Washington in 2013 and 2014 and T.J. Worthen in 2015.

Wechsler leads all-underclass Cherokee boys to impressive win at Olympic Conference championships!!!!!

Individual winner Ethan Wechsler led three Cherokee runners among the first four finishers to lead Cherokee to its fourth straight Olympic Conference XC title and 11th overall.

Wechsler, a junior, covered the 5,000-meter course at Dream Park in Logan Township in 15:41 Wednesday, finishing 50 meters ahead of Bishop Eustace senior Connor Melko for the  title.

This is the third straight year and eighth time in the last 18 years a Cherokee runner has won the individual title.

Cherokee, ranked No. 2 behind Haddonfield in South Jersey and No. 4 in the state, outscored second-place Camden Catholic 28-90.

Juniors Chris Spisak and Chase Miller finished third and fourth for Cherokee in 16:01 and 16:17, sophomore Brett Shea ran 16:29 for seventh, and junior Michael Gavio made it five runners in the top 13 with a 16:43.

Junior Tyler Jackson backed up Cherokee’s five scorers with an 18th-place finish in 16:48, and sophomore Nico Grilli nearly made it all seven runners under 17 minutes when he placed 26th in 17:02.

Scoring Cherokee against the entire field, Cherokee goes 1-3-4-7-13 and the field goes 2-5-6-8-9 for a 28-30 Cherokee win.

Cherokee averaged 16:14, which is fast no matter how flat the course is.

Also in the top 10 were Washington Township senior Austin Milou [5th in 16:23], Camden Catholic senior Richard Castaneda [6th in 16:26], Cherry Hill East junior Oliver Adler [8th in 16:33], Washington Township senior Evan Chu [9th in 16:34] and Camden Catholic senior Matt Coffey [10th in 16:36].

Cherokee, which joined the Olympic Conference in the fall of 2000, previously won Olympic Conference titles in 2000, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Here’s a look at Cherokee’s individual winners:

2005 … Greg Bredeck, 16:05 [Gloucester County College]
2006 … Alex Yersak, 15:58  [Gloucester County College]
2007 … Alex Yersak, 16:38  [Gloucester County College]
2011 … Shawn Wilson, 15:41 [Gloucester County College]
2012 … Shawn Wilson, 15:25 [Gloucester County College]
2016 … Jack Shea, 15:44  [Gloucester County College]
2017 … Justin Kelly,15:37 [Gloucester County College]
2018 … Ethan Wechsler, 15:41 [Dream Park]

Cherokee’s Kate Rathman moves up to #2 in Mill Creek Park history with fast BurlCo Open triumph!!!!!

Cherokee junior Katie Rathman ran the third-fastest time in Mill Creek Park history when she won the Burlington County Open on Friday.

Only Megan Lacy, a Foot Locker finalist for Cherokee, has ever run faster on the 5,000-meter layout in Willingboro with the two short but steep hills.

Since the course was extended from three miles to 5,000 meters in 1983, Rathman is only the fourth girl to break 19 minutes at Mill Creek.

When Deanna Germano ran 18:54 in 1985, the course was substantially different – the point where the runners turn left to head out of the woods after the trail parallel to the Rancocas Creek changed significantly. But we’ll include it here because the course is actually faster now than it was then.

In any case, Rathman won the race in 18:54, one second faster than Isabella Turner’s winning time for Shawnee last year. That would have been a heck of a race but sadly Turner is hurt right now and didn’t race.

The County Open was held at Mill Creek through 1993. It moved to Cherokee for five years, then back to Mill Creek in 1999, then to Freedom Park in Medford in 2000 and has been back at Mill Creek since 2001.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 performers and performances in Mill Creek history:

17:53 … Megan Lacy [Cherokee], 2010
18:53 …….. Lacy, 2011
18:54 … Katie Rathman [Cherokee], 2018
18:54 … Deanna Germano [Shawnee], 1985
18:55 … Isabella Turner [Shawnee], 2017
19:56 … Caitlin Orr [Lenape], 2009
18:58 … Natalie Ocasio [Lenape], 2012
19:02 ……. Rathman, 2017
19:04 ……. Lacy, 2009
19:05 ……. Orr, 2008
19:07 … Mara Schiffhauer [Seneca], 2013
19:09 … Lisa Syvertson [Shawnee], 1986
19:14 … Paige McCauley [Seneca], 2012
19:16 … Kara Bonner [Shawnee], 2013

Rathman became Cherokee’s first individual winner since Lacy won her second straight in 2011. Lacy set the course record of 17:53 in 2010. She was second to Lenape’s Caitlin Orr in 2009.

Other Cherokee winners are: Monica Olkowski [20:52 in 1988, 2015 in 1989], Madeline Hoos [19:31 in 1997], Megan O’Leary [20:05 in 2004], Lisa Burkholder [19:18 in 2005], Alison Weeks [19:26 in 2006], Angela Weeks [20:10 in 2007]

Cherokee raced very well at the Open, placing a close second to Shawnee, which finished with a 49-62 margin of victory.

Freshman Nicole Clifford ran 19:39 for fourth place, freshman Sophia DeLuca was 10th in 20:43 and junior Alyssa Blackmon took 15th in 21:05.

The Chiefs had three other underclassmen in the top 40, and if they can get one of them closer to those first four they will be very tough.

Haddonfield boys finish 7th in Easterns championship race at Manhattan Invite!

The Haddonfield boys took on some of the best cross country teams in the country and emerged with an impressive seventh-place finish in the Eastern States Championships race at the Manhattan Invitational Saturday.

Haddonfield averaged 13:04 on the historic 2.5-mile course at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. That was the seventh-fastest of more than 300 teams that competed in various races throughout the day at Vinny.

Junior Martin Riddell paced the Bulldogs with an 11th-place finish in 12:44, senior Greg Eisenhower was 21st in 12:49, senior Ethan Spellmeyer was 51st in 13:11, senior Derek Gess 60th in 13:18 and senior Sean Campiglia 65th in 13:21.

Haddonfield is ranked No. 2 in New Jersey behind Christian Brothers Academy of Lincroft, which placed fourth in the same race. CBA, ranked No. 6 nationally, averaged 12:58 and scored 190 points. Haddonfield scored 208 so wasn’t far behind.

Nationally 12th-ranked Bishop Hendricken of Warwick, R.I., won the team title 92-113 over nationally No. 2-ranked Fayetteville-Manlius, with No. 16 Claremont (Calif.) third with 117.