Gabay, Wechsler run all-time #1 and #2 times at Mill Creek in smoking-hot Burlco Open race!!!

Austin Gabay and Ethan Wechsler, two of New Jersey’s top XC runners, finished 1-2 Friday at the Burlington County Open with the two-fastest times in Mill Creek Park history.

Gabay, a Cinnaminson senior, ran 15:39 and Wechsler, a Cherokee senior, ran 15:43. They repeated their 1-2 finish from last year and became the first runners in course history to break 16 minutes at Mill Creek twice.

The previous course record was 15:43 by Keith Krieger of Cherokee in 2003, so Wechsler tied Krieger’s former course record. Gabay plans to run for Duke, where Krieger ran.

Last year, Gabay won the race in 15:56, with Wechsler second in 15:57. Those two are responsible for four of the eight sub-16 times in course history.

Wechsler now has the two-fastest non-winning times in course history.

Gabay pulled away from Wechsler going around the pond the second time, just before the turn toward the tennis courts and the final straightaway.

Cinnaminson and Cherokee runners own the nine-fastest times in course history and 14 of the top 18.

Gabay is the first Cinnaminson runner to repeat a County Open title and the eighth overall.

Here’s a look at all the repeat winners in meet history:

Eric Lorenz [Holy Cross], 1986, 1987
Jason Capelli [Rancocas Valley], 1992, 1993
Brad Bisinger [Lenape], 1996, 1997
Adam Ambrus [Shawnee], 1999, 2000
Alex Yersak [Cherokee], 2006, 2007
David Forward [Shawnee], 2008, 2009
Nick Falk [Cherokee], 2014, 2015
Austin Gabay [Cinnaminson], 2018, 2019

CHerokee won its sixth straight team title. More on that later!

Although there have been minor changes in the Mill Creek 5,000-meter course, specifically the location of the bridge in the back woods just before the two-mile mark, the 5,000-meter Mill Creek course has been used for the County Open since 1986.

Here is an all-time Mill Creek performance list with all sub-16:20 times. Please forward all corrections and additions to me in the comments section. All the times are from the Burlington County Open except those with an asterisk, which come from South Jersey sectionals, held at Mill Creek only in 1988. The County Open was held for several years at Cherokee in the late 1990s.

15:39 … Austin Gabay [Cinnaminson], 2019
15:43 … Ethan Wechsler [Cherokee], 2019
15:43 … Keith Krieger [Cherokee], 2003
15:56 … Shawn Wilson [Cherokee], 2012
15:56 … Austin Gabay [Cinnaminson], 2018
15:56 … Justin Kelly [Cherokee], 2017
15:57 … Ethan Wechsler [Cherokee], 2018
15:59 … Mike Ungvarsky [Cinnaminson], 2016
16:01 … Jon Anderson [Cinnaminson], 2003
16:04 … David Forward [Shawnee], 2008
16:05 … Bill Mason [Cinnaminson], 1998
16:06 … Steve Grabowski [Cinnaminson], 2005
16:06 … Urie Ridgeway [Bridgeton], 1988
16:06 … Chris Spisak [Cherokee], 2017
16:07 … Eric Lorenz [Holy Cross], 1986
16:08 … Eric Lorenz [Holy Cross], 1987
16:09 … Joe Halin [Cherokee], 1998
16:11 … Justin Kelly [Cherokee], 2016
16:12 … David Forward [Shawnee], 2009
16:13 … Adam Ambrus [Shawnee], 1999
16:13 … John Chilkotowski [Cherokee], 1986
16:13 … Joe Shanahan [Haddonfield], 1988*
16:15 … Mike Clayton [Rancocas Valley], 1985
16:15 … Brad Bisinger [Lenape], 1997
16:15 … Bill Mason [Cinnaminson], 1997
16:15 … Nick Falk [Cherokee], 2015
16:16 … Ben Werbos [Cherokee], 1998
16:16 … Greg Bredeck [Cherokee], 2005
16:16 … Connor Herr [Shawnee], 2011
16:16 … Julian Greco [Lenape], 2012
16:16 … Jack Shea [Cherokee], 2016
16:17 … Steve Unger [Shawnee], 2002
16:18 … Mike Ungvarsky [Cinnaminson], 2015
16:18 … Rex Myers [Delran], 1988*
16:19 … Dean Parker [Rancocas Valley], 1986
16:19 … Jon Harris [Rancocas Valley], 1994
16:19 … Ray Tomczuk [Delran], 1998
16:20 … Dan Christensen [Shawnee], 1998
16:20 … Shawn Wilson [Cherokee], 2011
16:20 … Austin Gabay [Cinnaminson], 2017

Led by Caraccio, Rakitis and Magee, Kingsway boys win 8th straight Gloucester County title

Senior Stone Caraccio, sophomore Kyle Rakitis and senior Ayden Magee finished in the top 6 to lead the Kingsway boys to their eighth straight Gloucester County XC championship.

Caraccio ran 16:24 over 5,000 meters at West Chester Park and finished 2nd to Brady Shute of Gateway-Woodbury, Rakitis was 4th in 16:34 and Magee took 6th in 16:44.

Kingsway outscored Washington Township 37-61, with Clearview third with 87.

Shute, second last year to Kingsway’s Daniel Reynolds, won the race in 16:14 over 5,000 meters at West Deptford Park.

Kingsway placed all seven of it runners in the top 20.

Senior Miles Evans and sophomore Ryan Allen were the Dragons’ fourth and fifth scorers in 12th and 13th at 17:10 and 17:21. They were backed up by senior Conor Handley and junior Aidan Smith in 15th and 16th in 17:25 and 17:30.

Washington Township got top-10 finishes by junior Cole Kolodziej [7th in 16:46], junior Julian Lawson [9th in 16:57] and senior Jayden Greene [10th in 16:59].

Also in the top 10 were junior Anas Bensaoud of Clearview [3rd in 16:27] and junior Zack Rhoda of West Deptford [5th in 16:42].

Sophie Steidle repeats, Haddonfield girls win 3rd straight team title at Camden County Meet!

Junior Sophie Steidle is the only Collingswood girl to win a Camden County XC title. And now she’s won two of them.

Steidle edged Highland freshman Grace Wassell at the finish line at Timber Creek Park to win her second straight county title.

Steidle ran 20:09.00 and Wassell was two steps back in 20:09.65 on the 5,000-meter course, with nobody else finishing within a minute of the two frontrunners.

Steidle was Collingswood’s only entrant in the race.

Haddonfield won its third straight team title, 31-62, over Highland. From 2007 through 2016 Haddonfield did not compete in the county meet.

Senior Evie Andrewes [4th in 21:23], sophomore Jess Goode [6th in 21:32], freshman Helene Usher [7th in 22:03] and senior Katherine Rice [8th in 22:19] all finished in the top 10 for the Bulldogs. Junior Georgia Nussey was Haddonfield’s fifth sorer, taking 12th in 22:36.

Others in the top 10 were sophomore Vanessa Marinero [3rd, 21:22] and freshman Juliana Grasso of Timber Creek [3rd and 5th in 21:22 and 21:32], sophomore Megan Faucett of Cherry Hill West [9th in 22:23] and sophomore Heather Mattern of Highland [10th in 22:24].

Antczak, Wineland lead Mainland boys to 21st Atlantic County XC title since 1991!!!!!

The Mainland Regional boys won their 21st Atlantic County XC title in the last 29 years Thursday, riding a 1-2 finish by senior Kevin Antczak and sophomore Linden Wineland to a 56-68 win over Cedar Creek.

Antczak, fresh off his 15:32 at Holmdel County Park, cruised the 5,000-meter course at Stockton University in Galloway Township in 15:34, winning his second straight title.

Wineland, who was 23rd as a freshman in 17:23, shaved more than a minute off his course PR, taking second in 16:15.

The 16:15 was actually a 5,000-meter PR for all XC courses for Wineland, who had run 16:27 on the same Stockton course last month.

Senior Blake Corbett, freshman Elliott Post and junior Matt Wynne also scored for Mainland, Corbett taking 7th in 16:48, Post 21st in 17:39 — he was the top freshman in the race — and Wynne 30th in 18:02. Sixth man Vaughn Blanchet finished only four seconds behind Wynne and 7th runner James Wurzer, a junior, was 36th in 18:26.

Cedar Creek, with just one senior in the pack, didn’t have a finisher in the top seven but squeezed all five scorers between 8th and 24th and had a 55-second gap between first and fifth. Their first finisher was junior Joey Mayer, 8th in 16:54.

Also in the top 10 were Oakcrest senior Mike Liberty (3rd, 16:18), Egg Harbor junior Nicola Valdivieso (4th, 16:34), Pleasantville sophomore Irvin Marable (5th, 16:43), Buena senior Jeremy Haas (6th, 16:43), EHT junior Aidan Winkler (9th, 17:07) and Oakcrest senior Kyle Hartman (10th, 17:12).

St. Augustine was third with 93 points, with all five scorers crossing the line between 17:17 and 18:00 – a 43-second pack.

The team title is Mainland’s fourth in a row. The Mustangs won seven in a row from 1991 through 1997, then nine in a row from 2000 through 2008. They also won in 2012 before embarking on their current stretch of four in a row.

Brady Shute edges Mike Liberty in fast Division 2 race at South Jersey Open!!!!!

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.

After flight cancellation strands Florida-bound Ocean City XC program, Delta Airlines comes to the rescue!!!!!

The Ocean City cross country program was all set to travel to Florida to race at DisneyWorld on Friday when disaster struck.

The Red Raiders’ Thursday evening flight to Orlando was cancelled, and alternate arrangements weren’t available for the large Ocean City traveling party.

Fortunately, Ocean City tweeted about its debacle, directing the tweet to Delta Airlines – which was not the group’s original airline.

Six minutes after Ocean City’s initial tweet — SIX MINUTES — Delta responded and asked Ocean City officials to direct message them.

During their ordeal, the Ocean City golf team had some fun with the XC team:

Incredibly, by Friday morning, Delta had arranged for a charter for the entire Ocean City traveling party, and the boys and girls varsity and JV teams were on their way to Orlando Airport!

And on Friday evening, the Ocean City boys won the varsity race at the Disney Cross Country Classic at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee, Fla., and the girls placed second. In addition, the boys also won the JV title.

We’ll have full results later — as of Friday evening they hadn’t been posted — but what an incredible story! Congrats to Ocean City and kudos to Delta for making it happen!

Eastern’s Nick Pschunder, Ocean City’s Emma Bergman enjoy big races for Rutgers at Metro Championships!!!

Senior Nick Pschunder placed fourth overall and first among Rutgers runners at the Metropolitan Athletics XC Championships Friday.

Pschender, a graduate of Eastern High in Voorhees, finished only eight seconds behind overall winner Nicholas Raefski of Fordham, a graduate of Voorhees High (the other Voorhees).

Pschunder covered the hilly five-mile course at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx in 26:08. It was Pschunder’s third straight top-5 finish in the Metropolitan Championships.

In the women’s race, Ocean City graduate Emma Bergman, also a senior at Rutgers, helped the Scarlet Knights win the team title. Bergman placed 15th overall, covering Vanny’s 5K course in 19:39, and was Rutgers’ fourth finisher. Rutgers won the women’s team title 53-72 over Fordham.

Kevin Antczak, Austin Gabay, Oliver Adler race their way onto all-time Holmdel time list!!!

Seniors Kevin Antczak of Mainland, senior Austin Gabay of Cinnaminson and Oliver Adler of Cherry Hill East raced their way onto the all-time Holmdel sub-16 list Saturday at Shore Coaches.

We’ll start with Antczak, who won the Group A race in astounding fashion. Let’s recap:

–> Antczak ran 15:32, which is the fastest time recorded by a South Jersey runner on the legendary Holmdel County Park 5,000-meter course in 31 years and second-fastest ever, behind the  15:16 that Jason DiJoseph of Paul VI ran to win the 1988 Meet of Champions.

–> The fastest previous time at Holmdel by an Atlantic County runner was Louis Corgliano’s 15:35 when he was third behind CBA’s Mike McClemens and Freehold Township’s Dylan Tarpey at the 2013 Meet of Champions.

–> The fastest previous time by a Mainland runner at Holmdel was Greg Hughes’ 15:39 when he was placed second to Mohamad Khadraoui of JFK Paterson at the 2003 Meet of Champions.

–> Antczak’s previous PR at Holmdel was a 16:01 when he was took at last year’s Meet of Champions.

–> He became the first Mainland Shore Coaches winner since Hughes won Group B in 2002 and 2003.

–> He now shares the meet record for the Shore Coaches since it moved from nearby Brookdale Community College in Lincroft to Holmdel in 1979. Two other runners ran 15:32 on Saturday – Luke Jackson of West Windsor-Plainsboro North, who finished second in the A race to Antczak, was also credited with a time of 15:32, as was Liam Murphy of Allentown, who won the Group C race. So the three-fastest times in Shore Coaches history came on the same day!

Gabay ran the fifth-fastest time of the day, winning the Group E race in 15:58. That’s No. 3 in Holmdel history by a Cinnaminson runner, behind Jon Anderson’s 15:51 in 2003 and Michael Ungvarsky’s 15:57 in 2016. He’s the 10th Burlington County runner to go sub-16 at Holmdel, and all 10 are from Cherokee, Cinnaminson or Shawnee.

15:40 … Shawn Wilson [Cherokee], 2012
15:43 … Marc Pelerin [Cherokee], 2001
15:45 … Keith Krieger [Cherokee], 2002
15:46 … Jack Shea [Cherokee], 2015
15:51 … Jon Anderson [Cinnaminson], 2003
15:56 … David Forward [Shawnee], 2008
15:56 … Ethan Wechsler [Cherokee], 2018
15:57 … Connor Herr [Shawnee], 2010
15:57 … Michael Ungvarsky [Cinnaminson], 2016
15:58 … Austin Gabay [Cinnaminson], 2019

And Adler ran the No. 2 time in Cherry Hill East history with his 15:58 for fourth place in the Group A race. Aaron Groff ran 15:37 in 2015. Adler and Gabay are tied for fifth-fastest overall time in all seven races on Saturday.

Adler’s time is No. 15 ever by a Camden County runner but only seven seconds out of the top 10 with states and Meet of Champions still to come.

15:16 … Jason DiJoseph [Paul VI], 1988
15:33 … Josh Clark [Highland], 2015
15:37 … Aaron Groff [Cherry Hill East], 2015
15:39 … Luke Petela [Haddon Twp.], 2014
15:40 … Steve Maine [Highland], 2013
15:41 … Jon Vitez [Haddonfield], 2009
15:42 … Ben Potts [Haddonfield], 2010
15:42 … Shawn Hutchison [Bishop Eustace], 2014
15:50 … Mike Myers [Eastern Reg.], 2000
15:51 … Murad Campbell [Overbrook], 1998
15:54 … Skip Stiles [Haddonfield], 2001
15:55 … Dominick Munson [Timber Creek], 2014
15:56 … Kyle Kirk [Camden Catholic], 2012
15:57 … Nate Miller [Highland Reg.], 1998
15:58 … Oliver Adler [Cherry Hill East], 2019

Here’s the all-time South Jersey Holmdel County Park sub-16 list! (As always, please pass along any errors or omissions in the comments section of this post!)
15:16 … Jason DiJoseph [Paul VI], 1988
15:32 … Kevin Antczak [Mainland Regional], 2019
15:33 … Josh Clark [Highland], 2015
15:35 … Louis Corgliano [Hammonton], 2013
15:37 … Aaron Groff [Cherry Hill East], 2015
15:38 … Gregory Hughes [Mainland], 2003
15:39 … Luke Petela [Haddon Twp.], 2014
15:40 … Shawn Wilson [Cherokee], 2012
15:40 … Brett Johnson [Ocean City], 2008
15:40 … Steve Maine [Highland], 2013
15:41 … Jon Vitez [Haddonfield], 2009
15:42 … Ben Potts [Haddonfield], 2010
15:42 … Shawn Hutchison [Bishop Eustace], 2014
15:43 … Marc Pelerin [Cherokee], 2001
15:43 … Miles Schoedler [Ocean City], 2010
15:45 … Keith Krieger [Cherokee], 2002
15:46 … Jack Shea [Cherokee], 2015
15:47 … Urie Ridgeway [Bridgeton], 1988
15:48 … Chris Platt [Haddonfield], 2001
15:50 … Mike Myers [Eastern Reg.], 2000
15:51 … Jon Anderson [Cinnaminson], 2003
15:51 … Murad Campbell [Overbrook], 1998
15:54 … Mike Mantini [Gateway], 1978
15:54 … Paul Szulewski [Williamstown], 2010
15:54 … Skip Stiles [Haddonfield], 2001
15:55 … Dominick Munson [Timber Creek], 2014
15:55 … Breton Bonnett [Haddonfield], 2001
15:56 … Kyle Kirk [Camden Catholic], 2012
15:56 … David Forward [Shawnee], 2008
15:56 … Ethan Wechsler [Cherokee], 2018
15:57 … Nate Miller [Highland Reg.], 1998
15:57 … Connor Herr [Shawnee], 2010
15:57 … Michael Ungvarsky [Cinnaminson], 2016
15:58 … Austin Gabay [Cinnaminson], 2019
15:58 … Oliver Adler [Cherry Hill East], 2019
15:59 … Anthony Dentino [Washington Twp.], 2010
15:59 … Robert Edwards [Bridgeton], 2002

Haddonfield’s Sarah Naticchia, Cherokee’s Kate Rathman run Holmdel PRs, lead S.J. girls at Shore Coaches!!!

Two girls from Haddonfield and two girls from Cherokee along with one from Egg Harbor led the way for South Jersey individually at the Shore Coaches Invitational Saturday.

Juniors Sarah Naticchia and Payton Weiner of Haddonfield, senior Kate Rathman and sophomore Nicole Clifford of Cherokee and Egg Harbor senior Oliva Shafer all broke 20 minutes on the hilly Holmdel County Park course.

Naticchia, racing at Holmdel for the first time, obviously ran a course PR and the seventh-fastest time in Haddonfield history. Weiner had run between 20:18 and 20:23 three times at Holmdel, so her 19:40 is a 38-second PR at Holmdel and No. 8 on Haddonfield’s all-time Holmdel list, according to records maintained by MileSplit.

Rathman broke her Holmdel PR of 19:27,which she set at the state Group 4 meet two years ago. Clifford ran a Holmdel PR of nearly a minute and a half. Rathman moved into the No. 3 spot at Holmdel in Cherokee history, and Clifford’s 19:40 is 9th-fastest in Cherokee history.

Shafer has run slightly faster at Holmdel – 19:35 at last year’s Meet of Champions – but her 19:40 is an 11-second improvement from her time at Shore Coaches last year.

Here’s a look at all the South Jersey girls that ran 21:00 or faster Saturday!

19:14 … Sarah Naticchia [Haddonfield], 3rd, Group D
19:20 … Kate Rathman [Cherokee], 6th, Group A
19:40 … Olivia Shafer [Egg Harbor], 14th, Group A
19:40 … Payton Weiner [Haddonfield], 4th, Group D
19:59 … Nicole Clifford [Cherokee], 21st, Group A
20:10 … Kate Ruona [Shawnee], 11th, Group B
20:10 … Lilly Sirover [Haddonfield], 9th, Group D
20:12 … Katie Sparks [Paul VI], 10th, Group D
20:13 … Allison MacFarland [Kingsway], 13th, Group B
20:15 … MaryKathleen McCurdy [Cherry Hill East], 30th, Group A
20:17 … Madison McNiff [Cherry Hill East], 31st, Group A
20:19 … Aubrey Pierontoni [Kingsway], 16th, Group B
20:29 … Julia Smith [Schalick], 8th, Group F
20:33 … Allison Helkowksi [Kingsway], 19th, Group B
20:33 … Casey McLees [Ocean City], 7th, Group C
20:33 … Lindsay Colflesh [Haddonfield], 12th, Group D
20:37 … Michaela Pomatto [Egg Harbor Twp.], 44th, Group A
20:40 … Sophie Steidle [Collingswood], 10th, Group F
20:41 … Marleigh Puglia [Schalick], 11th, Group F
20:42 … Brooke Adams [Cinnaminson], 8th, Group D
20:43 … Sydney Watts [Kingsway], 23rd, Group B
20:53 … Evie Andrewes [Haddonfield], 15th, Group D
20:54 … Abigail Kotran [Clearview], 28th, Group B
20:56 … Allie Pierontoni [Kingsway], 29th, Group B
20:58 … Madeline Corbett [Mainland Regional], 32nd, Group B
21:00 … Emma Klouchek [Seneca], 11th, Group C


Nia Ali, a Pleasantville High School graduate and the silver medalist in the 2016 Olympics, won the 100-meter high hurdles Sunday at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Ali lowered her personal-best from 12.44 to 12.34, comfortably winning the final on the final day of the 10-day meet at Khalifa International Stadium.

That 12.34 is No. 9 in world history and No. 5 in U.S. history. The all-time world and U.S. top-10 lists are below.

She missed the World Championships meet record of 12.28, set in 2011 by Sally Pearson of Australia, by just 6-100ths of a second.

Ali is the first U.S. woman to win the World Championships high hurdles since Brianna Rollins in 2013 in Moscow.

She’s the first woman from New Jersey to win an individual title at the World Championships, which have been held every two years since 1983.

Ali ran 12.54 in Saturday’s trails and then PR’d at 12.44 in the semifinals, finishing just behind Jamaica’s Danielle Williams, who ran 12.41 in the first of the three semis. They went into the final as the two-fastest qualifiers, with Tobi Amusan of Nigeria the only other hurdler under 12.50 at 12.48.

But the final was all Ali, with American Kendra Harrison taking the silver in 12.46, Williams third in 12.47 and Amusan a close fourth in 12.49.

Top 10 all-time hurdlers
12.20 … Kendra Harrison [USA], 2016
12.21 … Yordanko Donkova [Bulgaria], 1988
12.25 … Gina Zagorcheva [Bulgaria], 1987
12.26 … Lyudmila Narozhilenko [Russia], 1992
12.26 … Brianna McNeal [USA], 2013
12.28 … Sally Pearson [Australia], 2011
12.32 … Danielle Williams [Jamaica], 2019
12.33 … Gail Devers [USA], 2000
12.34 … Nia Ali [USA], 2019
12.34 … Sharika Nelvis [USA], 2015

Top 10 U.S. hurdlers
12.20 … Kendra Harrison, 2016
12.26 … Brianna McNeal, 2013
12.33 … Gail Devers, 2000
12.34 … Nia Ali, 2019
12.34 … Sharika Nelvis, 2015
12.35 … Jasmin Stowers, 2015
12.37 … Joanna Hayes, 2004
12.37 … Dawn Harper-Nelson, 2012
12.42 … Anjanette Kirkland, 2001
12.43 … Michelle Perry, 2005