Rathman, Clifford go sub-19 and lead Cherokee girls to their first BurlCo XC title in 9 years!!!

Senior Kate Rathman ran the second-fastest time in course history, and sophomore Nicole Clifford wasn’t far behind, and their 1-2 finish led the Cherokee girls to their first Burlington County Open XC title in nine years.

Rathman ran 18:45 and Clifford 18:57 in the first 1-2 Cherokee finish in meet history, and the Lady Chiefs outscored Shawnee 39-49 for their fourth team title.

Rathman also became the third Cherokee girl to win back-to-back County Open XC titles. Monica Olkowski won in 1988 and 1989 and Megan Lacy in 2010 and 2011.

Rathman’s 18:45 lowered her PR on the 5,000-meter Mill Creek Park layout by nine seconds. Only Lacy’s 17:53 from 2010 is faster in course history.

Rathman’s 18:54 is 8th-fastest in course history and makes her the 4th-fastest girl on the course, behind only Lacy, Rathman and Shawnee’s Deanna Germano in 1985.

The same basic course has been used since 1985, although there have been minor changes that have made it faster. The meet was held at Cherokee from 1994 through 1998.

Cherokee previously won Burlco XC titles in 2004, 2009 and 2010.

Senior Alyssa Blackmon and freshman Kelsey Niglio placed 9th and 10th overall for Cherokee in 20:33 and 20:34, and junior Kayla Adams made it five across the line in 17th place at 21:21.

They were backed up very closely with seniors Riley Gleason and Jaden Sweely, who placed 20th and 21st in 21:39 and 21:40.

The Shawnee trio of freshman Kate Ruona and seniors Isabella Turner and Claire Hauser went 3-4-5, Ruona setting a freshman course record of 18:58 [more on that later], Turner in 19:20 and Hauser in 19:27.

Also in the top 10 were Seneca junior Emma Klouchek [6th in 20:08], Cinnaminson senior Brooke Adams [7th in 20:12] and Northern sophomore Keira Mansure [8th in 20:23].

Here’s a look at all the 1-2 finishes in meet history:

2019: Cherokee – Kate Rathman [18:45], Nicole Clifford [18:57]
2016: Shawnee – Isabella Turner [19:18], Kara Bonner [19:30]
2001: Moorestown – Meghan Hughes [19:29], Colleen Hughes [20:03]
2000: Moorestown – Kelsey Rinehart [19:48], Julia Kuder [20:01]
1996: Shawnee – Lisa Setter [19:16], Nikki Thiemann [19:33]
1995: Shawnee – Karen O’Neil [19:22], Lisa Setter [19:37]
1994: Shawnee – Liz Moore [18:15], Karen O’Neil [18:34] (short course)
1993: Shawnee – Liz Moore [19:23], Karen O’Neil [20:00]
1987: Rancocas Valley – Bonnie Stemmer [20:37], Kris Miragliuolo [20:48]
1986: Shawnee – Lisa Syvertson [19:09], Chris Danks [19:57]
1985: Shawnee – Deanna Germano [18:54], Chris Danks [20:01]
1984: Shawnee – Michelle DiMuro [19:32], Deanna Germano [19:54]
1982: Shawnee – Sue Walker [19:03], Michelle DiMuro [19:24]
 17:53 … Megan Lacy [Cherokee], 2010
18:45 … Kate Rathman [Cherokee], 2019
18:53 … Megan Lacy [Cherokee], 2011
18:54 … Katie Rathman [Cherokee], 2018
18:54 … Deanna Germano [Shawnee], 1985
18:55 … Isabella Turner [Shawnee], 2017
18:56 … Caitlin Orr [Lenape], 2009
18:57 … Nicole Clifford [Cherokee], 2019
18:58 … Natalie Ocasio [Lenape], 2012
18:58 … Kate Ruona [Shawnee], 2019
19:02 … Kate Rathman [Cherokee], 2017
19:04 … Megan Lacy [Cherokee], 2009
19:05 … Caitlin Orr [Lenape], 2008
19:07 … Mara Schiffhauer [Seneca], 2013
19:09 … Lisa Syvertson [Shawnee], 1986
19:14 … Paige McCauley [Seneca], 2012
19:16 … Kara Bonner [Shawnee], 2013
19:16 … Jenna Darcy [Shawnee], 1999
19:17 … Natalia Ocasio [Lenape], 2010
19:18 … Lisa Burkholder [Cherokee], 2005
19:18 … Isabella Turner [Shawnee], 2016
19:19 … Mara Schiffhauer [Seneca], 2012
19:19 … Joey Webb [Seneca], 2013
19:19 … Claire Hauser [Shawnee], 2017
19:20 … Genevive Cickacage [Moorestown], 20153
19:20 … Isabella Turner [Shawnee], 2019


Schalick grad Sam Gerstenbacher of Elizabethtown records huge 8,000 PR, #2 in conference history!!!!!

Samuel Gerstenbacher PR’d again Saturday, running the second-fastest 8,000-meter run on any course by a Landmark Conference runner.

Gerstenbacher, an Elizabethtown senior from Schalick, ran 24:30 over 8,000 meters in the Inter-Regional Border Battle hosted by Rowan at DREAM Park in Logan Township, only about 25 miles from his hometown of Pittsgrove Township.

Gerstenbacher’s previous 8,000 PR on any course was 24:54 at the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh two weeks ago.

The only faster 8,000 ever by a Landmark Conference runner was registered by Dillon Farrell of Moravian in 2014. Farrell, from North Wales, Bucks County, ran 24:24 when he placed 17th at the NCAA Division 3 Championships at the Golf Center at King’s Island in Mason, Ohio.

Gerstenbacher placed 8th overall Saturday in a field of 256 runners.

Gerstenbacher is off until Nov. 2, when he races in the Landmark Conference meet at Colmar Manor (Md.) Park.

After placing fourth in the conference meet as a freshman, Gerstenbacher has won it the last two years.

The only three-time winner in meet history is Paul Thistle of Susquehanna in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Thistle, a graduate of Wissahickon High School in Lower Gwynedd Township, Montgomery County, went on to win the 2013 Penn Relays Olympic Development steeplechase.


Ocean City girls win 10th straight Cape May County meet with near-sweep broken up by Middle Twp. freshman!!!

Sofia Jurusz of Middle Township broke up an Ocean City sweep with a fifth-place finish, but the Red Raiders still scored a near-perfect 16-69 win over Middle in the Cape May County Championships Friday.

Senior Casey McLees ran 19:02 to win the 5,000-meter race at the Cape May Zoo in Lower Township.

Junior Alexa Palmieri, senior Rebecca Millar and senior Emma Sardy completed the Ocean City sweep of the first four spots, Palmieri in 19:29, Millar in 20;16 and Sardy in 20:22. Junior Erin Hanlon placed sixth in 20:34.

Ocean City junior Isabella Padula and senior Reghan Handley both also finished in the top 10, giving the Red Raiders seven of the top nine finishers. Padula was 8th in 21:16 and Handley 9th in 21:19.

Jurusz ran 20:26 for fifth, her fastest time this year on any 5,000-meter course.

Also in the top 10 were junior Lindsay Robbins [7th, 20:49] and senior Jayne Seitz [10th in 21:26] of Cape May VoTech in Middle Township.

The team title is Ocean City’s 10th in a row and 30th in the last 33 years. Wildwood Catholic won in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

It’s the 22nd time the Red Raiders have scored fewer than 20 points in winning the county title.

Let’s take a look at Ocean City’s most frequent winning scores:

15 points: 11 times [1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2001, 2002, 2014]
16 points: 2 times [2003, 2019]
17 points: 3 times [2004, 2013, 2005]
18 points: 3 times [1990, 1995, 2015]
19 points: 3 times [1996, 2012, 2017]
20 points 1 time [1999]
22 points: 1 time [2016]
25 points: 2 times [2010, 2011]
27 points: 1 time [2000]
28 points: 2 times [1998, 1999]
29 points: 1 time [2018]
32 points: 1 time [1997]

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.