Schalick grad Samuel Gerstenbacher, Camden Catholic’s Kevin McDonnell lead S.J. contingent with top-20 finishes at Philly Distance Run!!!

Schalick graduate Samuel Gerstenbacher and Camden Catholic grad Kevin McDonnell both finished in the top 20 among over 1,000 runners in the Philadelphia Distance Run Sunday.

Gerstenbacher, who graduated from Elizabethtown this past spring, placed 14th in 1:07.45, a 5:11 pace over 13.1 miles, and McDonnell, a 2013 graduate of St. Joe’s, ran 1:09.02, a 5:16 per-mile pace.

The 23-year-old Gerstenbacher, a native of Pittsgrove Township, Salem County, now living in Lancaster, Pa., placed seventh out of over 100 runners in the 18-to-25 age group.

The 31-year-old McDonnell, a Moorestown native now living in Cherry Hill, placed ninth of nearly 300 runners in the 31-to-35 age group.

Eric Reitinger, who graduated from Shawnee in 2002 and now lives in Mt. Laurel, placed 27th in 1:10.33. Reitinger, now 37, ran 6th of nearly 300 runners in the 36-to-40 division.

Sterling graduate Jimmy Daniels, who also ran at St. Joe’s, ran 1:11.08 for 31st. 

Delsea’s Andrew Littlehales wins Briarwood with all-time S.J. #2 time at Belmont Plateau!!!

Delsea senior Andrew Littlehales recorded his second straight invitational win Saturday when he placed first in the Briarwood Invitational at Belmont Plateau.

Littlehales, who won the senior race at the Cherokee Challenge in 9:46 over 3,200 meters last weekend, ran 16:12 over 5,000 meters at Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park this Saturday.

Littlehales outraced junior Drew Brill of LaSalle College High School in Springfield Township. Montgomery County, by 85 meters. Brill was second in 16:29.

The 16:12 on a challenging Belmont Plateau layout is a 5,000-meter PR for Littlehales on any course. His previous 5,.000 PR was 16:13 as a sophomore at the Tri-County Showcase on a much faster course at Cumberland Regional in October of 2019.

Littlehales’ time equals the 5th-fastest ever by a New Jersey runner at Briarwood and is fastest since 2012, when Connor Herr of Shawnee ran 16:09 and his teammate Peter Murray ran 16:12. Herr’s 16:09 stands as the South Jersey record at Briarwood.

Littlehales ran in the so-called “Championship Race.” Haddonfield’s Seth Clevenger won the “Challenge Race” in 16:41 and led the Bulldogs to the team title. More on that race soon!

Shawnee’s Jack Ennis places 4th, leading TCNJ to team title and pacing 6 S.J. runners in top 20 at Moravian

Shawnee graduate Jack Ennis placed 4th out of nearly 100 runners Saturday, leading six South Jersey runners among the top 16 finishers at the Moravian Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa.

Ennis, a junior at The College of New Jersey, ran 19:20 over 6,000 meters, finishing just 17 seconds behind overall winner Shane Houghton of Moravian, who ran 19:03.

Here’s a look at the rest of the large South Jersey contingent among the lead group at Moravian:

Aidan Groff: A St. Joe’s freshman from Washington Township, Groff ran 19:31 for 8th place. He was St. Joe’s No. 2 runner.

Chase Miller: A freshman at TCNJ from Cherokee, Miller placed 10th in 19:38 and was TCNJ’s fourth finisher.

Liam Duffy: A Moravian freshman from Haddon Township, Duffy finished a second behind Miller in 19:39. He was the No. 2 runner from the host Greyhounds. 

Pat Mulligan: Another former Haddon Township runner, Mulligan is a junior at TCNJ. He ran 19:52 for 14th place.

Noah Deckert: Deckert, a St. Joe’s sophomore from Delsea, placed 16th overall in 19:54.

The College of New Jersey packed its five scorers in 31 seconds and won the team title, 34-64, over Moravian, which edged St. Joe’s 64-66 for second place.

Clearview’s Abby Waddington runs #5 time in DREAM Park history at S.J. Shootout!!!

Abby Waddington continued the hot start to her cross country season Saturday by running the 5th-fastest time in DREAM Park history.

The Clearview junior ran 18:38 over the 5,000-meter course in Logan Township, Gloucester County, and won the “Stud Race” in the South Jersey Shootout by over 400 meters.

Williamstown’s Alex Fisher placed second in 20:22, which was the second-fastest time from among the three races (Stud Race, 3-4 race and 5-6-7 race).

Waddington, who won the junior race at the Cherokee Challenge last weekend, ran a lifetime 5,000-meter PR for any course. Her previous best was 19:33 in a batch meet at Cumberland Regional in Upper Deerfield Township on Tuesday.

The only faster times in course history were run by Shawnee’s Isabella Turner (17:52 at 2018 South Jersey Shootout), Cherokee’s Kate Rathman (18:22 at 2018 Olympic Conference meet), Shawnee’s Kate Ruona (18:29 at 2020 Olympic Conference meet) and Haddonfield’s Sarah Naticchia (18:37 at 2020 Group 2 sectionals).

Overall winner Helene Usher leads Haddonfield girls to Briarwood team title!!!

Looks like there’s life for Haddonfield after Sarah Naticchia, Payton Weiner and Allison and Lindsay Colflesh.

No surprise there. This program does not take years off. The Lady Bulldogs have won 11 straight sectional titles and 15 of the last 16.

A year after Haddonfield graduated four of its most accomplished runners ever, Haddonfield on Saturday participated in its first invitational of the 2021 cross country season and easily won the “Challenge Race” at the Briarwood Invitational.

Junior Helene Usher was the overall winner in 20:28 over 5,000 meters at Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, and Haddonfield placed all five scorers in the top 12 to outscore Lawrenceville School 24-45.

Usher won by 25 meters over Alli Delisi, a freshman at Penn Charter, who was second in 20:34.

For Haddonfield, junior Sabrina Miller placed third in 20:48, sophomore Anne Earp was fourth in 20:49, sophomore Ava Thomas placed 7th in 21:16 and senior Jess Goode ran 22:08 for 12th.

Haddonfield averaged 21:06 for its five scorers. There was also something called a “Championship Race,” and Mount St. Joseph Academy of Springfield Township, Montgomery County, averaged 20:50 to win that. Haddonfield’s average was second-fastest among both races.

Haddonfield sophomore Riley Slootsky won the JV race by 175 meters in 22:01, a time that would have placed her 12th in the Challenge race.

Woodbury’s Peyton Shute shatters DREAM Park sophomore class record in S.J. Shootout triumph!!!

Peyton Shute became the sixth runner – and second member of his family – to break 16 minutes on the DREAM Park 5,000-meter course Saturday when he won the Stud Race at the South Jersey Shootout in 15:58.

Shute, a Woodbury sophomore who runs for Woodbury-Gateway Co-Op, won by 250 meters over Rancocas Valley senior Andre Faigal, who placed second in 16:45.

Shute’s time breaks the sophomore class record of 16:15 at DREAM Park in Logan Township set last year by Haddonfield’s George Andrus at Group 2 sectionals.

Cherokee’s Ethan Wechsler set the course record of 15:12 at the 2019 Olympic Conference Championships, and Bishop Eustace’s Connor Melko ran 15:52 at the 2018 Olympic Conference meet. Peyton’s older brother, Brady Shute, ran 15:53, at the 2019 South Jersey Shootout, so he still holds the family record for now.

The other sub-16 runners at DREAM Park are Oliver Adler of Cherry Hill East, who ran 15:54 at the 2019 Olympic Conference meet, and Highland’s Cole Wassell, who ran 15:55 last year at the South Jersey Shootout.

The course has been in use since 2018.

Shute’s previous best time at DREAM Park was a 17:04 at last year’s Group 1 sectionals, when he placed 11th. That’s the No. 2 freshman time in course history, behind Conor Jacob’s 17:02 for Cherokee in 2019. Shute’s previous all-course PR for 5,000 meter was 16:34 last fall at Ocean County Park in Lakewood.

In addition to Shute and Faigal, Williamstown senior Nicholas Krol also ran sub-17 Saturday, taking third in the Stud Race in 16:51.

The South Jersey Shootout is scored out of three races – one for teams’ 5-6-7 runners, one for the 3-4 runners and one for the 1-2 runners.

We’ll have more later on the team race, but Haddon Township won the boys team title 27-29 over Williamstown.

Clearview’s Abby Waddington records first career XC invite title at Cherokee Challenge!!!

Clearview’s Abby Waddington won the junior class race Saturday at the Cherokee Challenge for her first cross country individual title.

Waddington covered the 3,200-meter course at Cherokee in 11:44, winning by about 100 meters over Phillipsburg’s Brooke Hunter, who took second in 12:05.

Waddington’s time was 4th-fastest among all four class races at Cherokee and 3rd-fastest among South Jersey runners.

Here’s a look at the top-10 overall times from the four races at Challenge:

11:42 … ***Liliah Gordon [Northern Burlington]
11:43 … Nikki Clifford [Cherokee]
11:43 … Anna MacDonald [Germantown Friends]
11:44 … *Abby Waddington [Clearview]
11:45 … Lara Corta [Summit]
12:00 … *** Sofia Day [Mainland Regional]
12:04 … ** Olivia Parkinson [Cherokee]
12:05 … *Brooke Hunter [Phillipsburg]
12:07 … *Ananya Devpura [West Windsor-Plainsboro South]
12:09 … ***Zui Chinchalkar [West Windsor-Plainsboro North]

Waddington placed 9th at Group 4 sectionals last fall at DREAM Park in Logan Township for the third-place Pioneers. She ran 5:12.83 and 11:15.34 in the spring.

Georgian Court freshman Xavier Seals of Woodstown takes 2nd in Philly Metro Invite!!!

Woodstown graduate Xavier Seals, a Georgian Court freshman, placed second out of 50 runners Saturday in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Invitational.

In his second college XC race, Seals ran 28:55, finishing behind only Dan Forry of Jefferson College, who ran 28:31 over 8,000 meters at Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park.

Seals, a middle-distance runner, is showing great competing at a high level over longer distances. He was the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference champion at both 800 and 1,500 meters last spring, with PRs of 1:55.15 and 4:03.59.

At Woodstown, Seals ran 2:02.51 and 4:27.59. He placed second to Shore Regional’s Drew Maher at the 2018 state Group 1 meet at 1,600 meters at Franklin High School.

In XC, he was the Salem County champ in the fall of 2019 and placed 10th in the state Group 1 meet at Holmdel.

Georgian Court is coached by Cinnaminson native Mike Murawski, a three-time state high jump champion for Holy Cross.

Gavin Gallo, Cole Knoedler lead Highland to St. Dominic Invite team title, Vanessa Marinero wins girls race!!!!!

Juniors Gavin Gallo and Cole Knoedler placed 4th and 5th overall and the all-underclass Highland High School boys won the team title Saturday at the St. Dominic Academy Invitational.

Gallo ran 16:32 and Knoedler 16:35 over 5,000 meters at Lincoln Park in Jersey City for Highland, which edged St. Peter’s Prep 53-55 for the team title, with Rahway (60) and East Brunswick (73) making it four schools within 20 points.

Sophomore Aziz Muhammad-Kane ran 10th for Highland in 16:52, junior Jake Smith was 12th in 17:04 and junior Anthony Imperatore took 22nd in 17:32. They were backed up by junior Dylan Carles, who ran 17:58 for 29th.

Highland senior Vanessa Marinero won the girls race in 19:13 and senior teammate Princess Nwoga was third in 19:44

Highland freshman Mason Wassell won the boys freshman race, covering the 2.25-mile course in 11:07 and teammate Andrew Kellem was 13th in the freshman race in 13:10. Madison Goodman placed seventh in the girls freshman race in 14:15.

Pennsville’s Dan Wyshinski opens college XC career with big race at Dutchmen Invite!!!

Pennsville graduate Dan Wyshinski opened his collegiate cross country career Saturday by placing 14th among more than 200 runners in the Lebanon Valley College Dutchmen Invitational.

Wyshinski, a freshman at Wilmington College in Delaware, ran 27:32 over 8,000 meters at Union Canal Tunnel Park along the Quittapahilla Creek in Lebanon, Pa.

Wyshinski was the first runner across the line for Wilmington, which is located in New Castle, Del., and competes in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conferene and NCAA Division 2. 

It was his first race of any kind since January of 2020, when he ran 9:51.32 for 3,200 meters in meet at the Bubble in Toms River. It was his first XC race since November of 2019, when he ran 16:51 at Holmdel at the Meet of Champions.

Wilmington placed seventh out of 17 schools with 164 points. Messiah College of Grantham, Pa., scored 49 to win the team title.