Cole Wassell becomes first Highland winner at S.J. Open since … his father!!!

Great race Saturday morning between Highland senior Cole Wassell and Triton junior Dennis Fortuna at the South Jersey Open, with Wassell edging Fortuna by 20 meters.

Wassell ran 15:55 and Fortuna 16:00 in the Morning Pod race at DREAM Park in Logan Township.

Wassell becomes the first Highland runner to win an individual title since Jay Wassell – Cole’s father – won the 1994 title at Kingsway in 15:42.

Wassell is the fifth runner to break 16 minutes on the DREAM Park 5K layout, which has been in use for three years:

15:12 … Ethan Wechsler [Cherokee], 2019

15:52 … Connor Melko [Bishop Eustace], 2018

15:53 … Brady Shute [Gateway-Woodbury], 2019

15:54 … Oliver Adler [Cherry Hill East], 2019

15:55 … Cole Wassell [Highland], 2020

Highland finished with a 62-77 margin of victory over Clearview, with Triton third with 99 points.

This is Highland’s first team title at the South Jersey Open since 2011, when they outscored Paul VI 71-87.

Sophomores Gavin Gallo and Cole Knoedler also placed in the top 10 for Highland, Gallo 8th in 17:12 and Knoedler 10th in 17:27.

Also in the top 10 were Clearview senior Anas Bensaoud [3rd in 16:32], Mainland junior Linden Wineland [4th in 16:42], Camden Catholic junior Billy Clewell [5th in 16:57], Triton junior Caleb Messenger [6th in 17:03], Wildwood freshman Jorge Cruz [7th in 17:07] and Schalick junior Scott Hubbard [9th in 17:24]. Hubbard raced a day after winning the Salem County title.

Cruz’s time is No. 2 in course history by a freshman, five seconds off the record of 17:02 set last year by Cherokee’s Conor Jacob in the JV race of the Olympic Conference meet.

Highland’s other scorers were sophomores Anthony Imperatore [18th in 17:51] and Jake Smith [25th in 18:16]. Their 6th and 7th runners, were Dylan Carrels [18:24], another sophomore, and Aziz Muhammad-Kane, a freshman [18:47].

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