Ocean City packed its five scorers between 15th and 31st place and raced to its first Shore Coaches team title in 28 years on Saturday.
Sophomore Maeve Smith ran 20:43 for 15th place in the Group C race at Holmdel County Park, followed closely by sophomore Chloe Care, who ran 20:56 for 17th.
Freshman Gabrielle Henry and senior Cheryl Connell finished virtually together, Henry in 24th in 21:23 and Connell in 25th in 21:24. And just a few seconds later, junior Frankie Ritzel completed the Red Raiders’ scoring group in 31st with a 21:38.
That’s a 55-second gap from 1st to 5th. Northern Valley-Old Tappan and Allentown both had two finishers across the line before Ocean City’s 1st runner, but Ocean City had five across the line before Old Tappan’s 4th runner and five finishers before Allentown’s 3rd runner.
Ocean City, ranked No. 17 in the state, finished with a 90-120 margin of victory over Old Tappan, with Allentown 3rd with 131 points.
The team title was Ocean City’s first since 1994, when Shelly Solheim, Danielle Salvia, Janine Minehan, Jessica Talarico and Liz Lento led the Raiders to a 69-85 Group B win over the Kim Reynolds and Kathleen O’Malley-led Paul VI Eagles. Ocean City also won Group B in 1982 and 1993.
Also in the top 10 was Delsea senior Lilly Widmer, who ran 20:17 and placed 7th.