Overall winner Nilaa Ponnappan leads Camden Catholic to Ray Hoagland Invite championship!!!

Camden Catholic freshman Nilaa Ponnappan was the overall winner and junior teammate Casey Bednarek placed 6th to lead Camden Catholic to the team title Saturday at the Ray Hoagland Invitational.

Camden Catholic edged Bishop Eustace by one point for the team title, with Catholic going 1-5-13-14-16 and Eustace 2-6-7-17-18. Rancocas Valley was third with 76 points.

Ponnappan ran 21:03 over 5,000 meters at the Rancocas Valley Sports Complex in Easthampton, and Bednarek ran 22:04. This was Ponnappan’s first time under 22 minutes and her second straight Saturday win. She was also first in the freshman class race at the South Jersey Shootout last weekend at DREAM Park in Logan Township.

Camden Catholic’s other scorers were junior Leah Clear [14th in 23:42], senior Vicki Wang [15th in 23:49] and sophomore Mary Picciano [17th in 23:57].

Burlington Township junior Maeve Timms placed second in 21:44, an all-course PR for 5,000 meters and her first time under 22 minutes.

Also in the top 10 were Bishop Eustace junior Arianna Cane [3rd in 21:50], Seneca sophomore Alex Butcher [4th in 22:00], Winslow Township senior Victoria Campbell [5th in 22:03], Eustace junior Elena Cicchini [7th in 22:12], Eustace sophomore Carly Troy [8th in 22:13], Rancocas Valley junior Sarah Paulin [9th in 22:14] and Delran senior Anise Howard [10th in 22:26].

Andre Faigal leads Rancocas Valley to team title at Ray Hoagland Invite!!!

Senior Andre Faigal led four Rancocas Valley runners among the top seven finishers, and the Red Devils edged Bishop Eustace to win their own Ray Hoagland Invitational Saturday.

It’s R.V.’s first team title in the meet’s five-year history.

Faigal ran 16:57 over 5,000 meters at the R.V. Sports Complex in Eastampton. He finished about 125 meters ahead of Bishop Eustace senior Anthony Faust, who ran 17:25. 

For the Red Devils, junior Ryan Smith ran 17:32 for 3rd, junior Dylan Selby ran 18:40 for 6th and senior Alex Pratt was 7th in 18:41.

Seniors Cade Delgado and Shane McGowan finished one place apart in 23rd and 24th for R.V., which finished with a 39-42 margin of victory over Eustace. There were eight full teams in the boys race.

Also in the top 10 were Delran senior Anthony Guarino [4th in 18:16], Eustace senior Ryan Carney [5th in 18:33], Eustace senior Sean Anderson [8th in 18:46], Moorestown junior Andrew Mercantini [9th in 18:49] and Eustace senior Daniel Colden [10th in 18:59].

Pennsauken’s Joel Oquendo takes 5th at Thompson Park in junior class race!!!

photo courtesy Phil Zimmerman,

Pennsauken junior Joel Oquendo placed fifth out of more than 100 runners Saturday in the junior class race at the Thompson Park Class Meet.

Oquendo ran 17:26 over the 5,000-meter course in Jamesburg. Blaik Slavinski of Point Pleasant Boro was the overall winner in 16:44.

Also in the top 20 was Northern Burlington’s Gavyn Messenger, who placed 16th in 18:08. Just outside the top 20 was Pennsauken’s Nouman Farhat, who ran 18:41 for 23rd.

Also, Northern’s Colin Brennan finished 13th in the freshman class race, covering the 2 1/2-mile course in 14:59.

NBC’s Liliah Gordon makes it 3-for-3 in invitationals with win at Thompson Park Class Meet!!!

Liliah Gordon made it 3-for-3 in invitationals with a win Saturday at the Thompson Park Class Meet.

Gordon, a freshman at Northern Burlington, ran 14:15 over the 2 1/2-mile course in Jamesburg, fast enough to finish 4th out of 162 runners in the boys race.

A 5,000 at the same pace would be 17:42.

Gordon began her high school career with a win at the Cherokee Challenge over 3,200 meters two weeks ago and won the freshman race over 3,200 meters at the Battle @ Ocean County Park last weekend.

She is scheduled to run her first 5,000-meter course at historic Holmdel County Park at the Shore Coaches Invitational on Saturday.

Another runner in the freshman race, West Windsor-Plainsboro North’s Zui Chinchalkar, also broke 15 minutes, taking second in 14:51, about 150 meters behind Gordon.

The MileSplit venue data base shows 14:15 to be the course record for the 2 1/2-mile course, which is only used for freshman races. It shows the previous record to be 14:25, run by Caroline Mehlhorn of Montgomery in 2018. It is possible a faster time was run by a freshman before the database was established about 15 years ago.

The fastest previous time run by a South Jersey runner on the Thompson Park 2 1/2-mile course according to the MileSplit database is 16:02 by Cinnaminson’s Grace Coller, also in 2018.

Madison McNiff, Kiley Walsh lead Cherry Hill East to 3rd place at Six Flags Invite!!!

Senior Madison McNiff ran 19:10 for 6th place and senior Kiley Walsh 19:35 for 9th, and the Cherry Hill East placed third among 17 teams in the Varsity A race Saturday at the Six Flags Wild Safari Invitational.

Cherry Hill East placed all five of its scorers in the top 35 and then had both of its non-scorers just a few spots back.

Senior Chloe Diamond placed 26th in 20:36 over the 5,000-meter course at Great Adventure in Jackson, junior Anna Kramer was five seconds back in 29th with a 20:41, and senior Michelle Barry finished 35th in 21:06.

East showed its depth with junior Alexis Tepper in 38th in 21:14 and senior Emily Volin 45th in 21:3.

Conestoga High of Berwyn, Pa., won the team title with 67 points and North Rockland of Thiells, N.Y., was second with 80 points. East scored 102 for third. Cherry Hill East’s five scorers averaged 20:13.

Cherry Hill East finished eighth out of 58 schools that fielded a full team in the various races in the overall merge.

Highland junior Grace Wassell matched McNiff with a 19:10 for the fastest time by a South Jersey girl at Great Adventure. Wassell placed 11th in the Varsity C race, and senior teammate Princess Nwoga was two spots back in 19:34.

Wassell and McNiff tied for 22nd-fastest time out of nearly 700 entrants in all the races.

Rider’s Ben Woodard 6th, Richie Castenda 14th at Jasper Fall Invite!!!

Rider teammates Ben Woodard of Highland and Richie Castaneda of Camden Catholic finished 6th and 14th Saturday in the Jasper Fall Invitational Saturday.

Woodard, a junior, ran 25:48 and Castaneda, a sophomore, ran 26:17 over 8,000 meters at Twin Ponds on the Farm in Montgomery, Orange County, N.Y.

Woodard was Rider’s first finisher and Castaneda was fourth. Dakota Oyuela, a freshman from Burlington Township, finished 26th in 26:39, and sophomore Leo Zaccaria ran 27:05 for 37th.

Rider had a 40-second spread between Woodard, its first finisher, and freshman Jeremie Garcia, its fifth finisher.

Fordham edged Rider 47-61 for the team title. 

Helene Usher, Sabrina Miller, Anne Earp lead Haddonfield to Bowdoin Classic championship!!!

Left to right: Jess Goode, Anne Earp, Sabrina Miller, Sarah Fetter, Helene Usher and Riley Slootsky. From @dawgsxctf

Juniors Helene Usher and Sabrina Miller and sophomore Anne Earp all placed among the top 13 runners, and Haddonfield edged New Milford by four points to win the team title Saturday at the Bowdoin XC Classic.

Usher placed 7th in 19:52, Miller ran 20:13 for 11th and Earp was 13th in 20:15 for Haddonfield, which averaged 20:27 for its five scorers on the hilly, challenging 5,000-meter course at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls, N.Y.

Sophomore Sarah Fetter placed 18th in 20:50 and soph Riley Slootsky ran 21:04 for 22nd for Haddonfield, which finished with a 71-75 edge over New Milford of Connecticut, with Corning High of third with 86 points.

Haddonfield, ranked No. 6 in New Jersey, also had senior Jess Goode just behind its lead pack. Goode placed 31st among over 120 runners in 21:37.

Chris Colavita, Sean Hice lead Washington Twp. to Osprey Invite team title!!!

Seniors Chris Colavita and Sean Hice placed fourth and fifth with sub-16 times to lead Washington Township to the team title at the Osprey Invitational Friday.

Colavita ran 15:50 and Hice 15:52 over the flat, fast 5,000-meter course at Stockton University in Galloway Township, and Washington Township topped Brick Memorial 66-79 to win the team title.

The Minutemen placed six runners in the top 30. Their other scorers were senior Charles Lant [13th in 16:29], senior Nathaniel Kidwell [18th in 16:42] and freshman Hunter Bostwick [26th in 17:07]. Junior Tellus McDonald ran 17:17 for 30th. 

Camden Catholic senior Billy Clewell was the overall winner in  15:19, leading five runners under 16 minutes. Clewell ran two seconds off the course record of 15:16 set two years ago by Sebastien Reed of Pitman.

West Deptford senior Jacob Cobb ran 15:40 for 3rd place, Eastern sophomore Owen Karsch was 6th in 16:17, and Egg Harbor junior Ryan Taylor 8th in 16:20.

Other South Jersey runners in the top 20 were sophomore Ethan Mitnick [11th in 16:27], junior Elliott Post [14th in 16:32] and senior Vaughn Blanchet [15th in 16:33], all from Mainland, sophomore Jorge Cruz of Wildwood [19th in 16:51] and junior Joseph Wigginton [20th in 16:52] from Paul VI.

Cinnaminson grad Mike Ungvarsky has big race for Duke at Battle in Beantown!!!

Cinnaminson graduate Mike Ungvarsky placed 29th out of nearly 200 runners Friday at the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown.

Ungvarsky, a grad student at Duke, ran 25:01 over 8,000 meters at Franklin Park in Boston. He was sixth man for Duke, which placed third in team scoring with 80 points, behind only Arkansas [39] and Syracuse [60].

Ungvarsky ran only 12 seconds off his 8,000 all-course PR, which he set at Panorama Farms in Earlysville, Va., last year.

Arkansas is ranked No. 6 in the country in this week’s USTFCCCA national poll. Duke and Syracuse are both just under the top-30 in “others receiving votes.”

Mainland freshman Sofia Day runs 18:15 at Osprey Invite!!!!!

Mainland Regional freshman Sofia Day ran an eye-popping 18:15 over 5,000 meters Friday at the Osprey XC Invitational at Stockton University.

Day, who had only raced over 5,000 meters once this fall, finished second to 4:53 miler Cate DeSousa of Red Bank Catholic, who ran 17:29.

DeSousa broke the course record of 18:35 set by her former teammate, Maddy Kopek, at the same meet two years ago, and Day’s time is second-fastest in course history. 

Day’s only 5,000 was a batch meet against Hammonton, Bridgeton and Millville, where she ran an unpressed 20:31 at Hammonton as Mainland swept the top five spots.

Also under 20 minutes on the flat, fast course in Galloway Township were Egg Harbor sophomore Michaela Schlemo [5th in 19:15], Mainland sophomore Gillian Lovett [7th in 19:18], Wildwood freshman Macie McCracken [9th in 19:31], West Deptford senior Hope Siner [10th in 19:39], Atlantic City junior Madeline Dischert [13th in 19:43], Paul VI sophomore Shaelan McNally [13th in 19:52], Washington Township junior Allyson Wernik [14th in 19:55] and Eastern senior Lauren Kenselaar [15th in 19:59].

Toms River North won a very close three-way team battle with 64 points, with Red Bank Catholic second with 65 and Mainland third with 66.

Red Bank Catholic is ranked No. 8 in New Jersey, Mainland is No. 12 and Toms River North is unranked.

Washington Township [142], Cedar Creek [148] and Egg Harbor Township [150] placed fourth through sixth.