Great race in Division 2 Saturday at the South Jersey Open, with Gateway-Woodbury junior Brady Shute edging Oakcrest senior Mike Liberty by 15 meters.
Shute covered the fast, flat Delsea 5,000-meter course in 16:08, with Liberty just behind in 16:11.
That’s Shute’s fastest time ever at Delsea. He ran 16:33 at sectionals last spring.
The time is a PR also for Liberty on the sectional course. He previous ran 16:29 last year at the same meet.
I’m not really sure how to handle the combined Gateway-Woodbury program when it comes to “first since.”
But Shute is the first runner from either school to win an individual title at the South Jersey Open since the great Mike Mantini of Gateway won the 1978 Group 1-2-B race at Cooper River Park, finishing half a minute ahead of teammate Ken Noddin.
Shute and Liberty posted the second- and third-fastest times from among three varsity races Saturday, behind only Cherry Hill East senior Oliver Adler, who won the Division 1 race in 15:40, finishing 200 meters ahead of teammate Gabe Rodriguez, a junior.
That 15:40 is a 5,000 XC PR for Adler on any course, one second faster than he ran in the Battle of Ocean County Park last month in Lakewood.