Allie Pierontoni leads Kingsway girls to 3rd place and M-of-C berth in loaded state Group 4 XC race with all-time #7 S.J. time at Holmdel!!!!!

Senior Allie Pierontoni and the Kingsway girls mixed it up with most of the top-ranked teams in the state and emerged with a strong third-place finish in the Group 4 state XC Championships Saturday and a wild-card berth into the Meet of Champions.

Kingsway averaged 19:57 on the 5,000-meter course at Holmdel County Park, 5th-fastest of all schools Saturday and 7th-fastest time ever recorded by a South Jersey school at Holmdel.

The Lady Dragons finished with 109 points, behind only New Jersey No. 3-ranked North Hunterdon (41) and No. 1-ranked Ridgewood (76) and ahead of No. 4-ranked Ridge (128).

Kingsway is ranked No. 9 in the most recent state poll. In all, Kingsway ran faster Saturday than four of the eight schools ranked ahead of them and beat another of those eight.

The top eight teams that didn’t finish first or second in any of the six state championship races advance as teams to Saturday’s Meet of Champions, and Ridge (19:54) and Kingsway (19:57) were the two-fastest.

Pierontoni ran a Holmdel PR 19:28 for 15th place and then the Dragons placed four runners — all underclassmen in a five-second span between 29th and 33rd. Pierontoni’s previous Holmdel PR was a 19:41 at the 2017 Meet of Champions

Sophomore Allison MacFarland, junior Ashlynne Burke, freshman Aubrey Pierontoni and junior Sydney Watts all ran between 20:02 and 20:07.

Here’s a look at all the sub-20 averages by South Jersey schools at Holmdel (let us know in the comments section if you see someone missing!):

19:35.42 … Haddonfield, 2013 [5th, M-of-C]
19:45.35 … Kingsway, 2017 [2nd, M-of-C]
19:49.67 … Shawnee, 2013 [7th, M-of-C]
19:53.83 … Haddonfield, 2005 [6th, M-of-C]
19:56.01 … Haddonfield, 2013 [2nd, Group 2]
19:56.20 … Cherry Hill East, 2006 [7th, M-of-C]
19:56.36 … Kingsway, 2019 [1st, Group 4]
19:57.01 … Haddonfield, 2005 [1st, Group 2]
19:57.40 … Seneca, 2013 [2nd, Group 3]
19:58.88 … Kingsway, 2016 [3rd, M-of-C]
19:59.1 ….. Moorestown, 2001 [1st, M-of-C]
19:59.70 … Cherokee, 2010 [6th, M-of-C]

Kingsway’s 19:57 average was fifth-fastest of all schools that raced Saturday, behind Group 4 winner North Hunterdon (19:07), Group 4 runner-up Ridgewood (19:36), Group 3 winner Middletown South (19:42) and Group 4 fourth-place finisher Ridge (19:54).

Kingsway was third at the Meet of Champions in 2016 and second in 2017.

Haddonfield, Cherokee, Cherry Hill East boys earn spots on all-time S.J. Holmdel team list!!!!!

Haddonfield and Cherokee both moved into the all-time South Jersey team list at Holmdel on Saturday with their winning performances at states.

Haddonfield and Cherokee both averaged 16:33 for their five scorers, which move them into the No. 10 and No. 11 all-time spots.

Haddonfield was actually slightly faster — 1.21 total seconds, or an average of about a quarter of a second per runner.

They were 3rd- and 4th-fastest Saturday at Holmdel, behind only Parochial A winner Christian Brothers Academy [16:15 average] and Group 3 winner Mendham [16:21]. Cherry Hill East [16:41 average] was next-fastest among South Jersey schools and that’s the Cougars’ fastest since 2014. It’s also No. 18 on the all-time S.J. list.

Great observation from Dave Stewart, who points out that Haddonfield’s 16:34 is fastest ever in Group 2, breaking the record of 16:35 set in 2015 by Voorhees.

Surprisingly, Cherokee’s 16:33 average is fastest in school history. The Chiefs averaged 16:35 twice — when they were second at the 2000 Meet of Champions and at this year’s Shore Coaches.

Obviously, the course runs much faster now than back then, so a 16:35 in 2000 would be considered a superior performance than a 16:35 now.

In any case, Haddonfield, Cherokee and Cherry Hill East along with Group 1 winner Haddon Township all get another crack at Holmdel — the roller-coasters, the Bowl, the tennis courts, the back woods and the final open straightaway — at the Meet of Champions Saturday.

Here’s the all-time South Jersey Holmdel team list. As always, corrections and additions are welcome. Just send me a note through the comments link.

1:21.38 …….. Mainland Regional, 2003, Meet of Champions [1] (16:19)
1:21:38.40 … Haddonfield, 2010, Meet of Champions [2] (16:19)
1:21.47.8 ….. Haddonfield, 2001, Meet of Champions [1] (16:21 )
1:21.54.72 … Kingsway, 2017, Group 4 [1] (16:22)
1:22.05 …….. Mainland Regional, 2003, Group 4 [1] (16:25)
1:22.10.23 … Cherry Hill East, 2014, Group 4 [1] (16:26)
1:22.31.39 … Haddonfield, 2018, Meet of Champions [2] (16:30)
1:22.36.50 … Cherry Hill East, 2014, Meet of Champions (16:31)
1:22.40.09 … Cherry Hill East, 2015, Group 4 [2] (16:32)
1:22.47.31 … Haddonfield, 2019 Group 2 [1] (16:33)
1:22.48.52 … Cherokee, 2019 Group 4 [1] (16:33)
1:22.52.92 … Kingsway, 2014, Group 4 [2] (16:34)
1:22.55.00 … Cherokee, 2019, Shore Coaches [3] (16:35)
1:22.59.94 … Cherokee, 2000, Meet of Champions [2] (16:35)
1:23.05.92 … Haddonfield, 2009, Group 2 [1] (16:37)
1:23.07.58 … Haddonfield, 2009, Meet of Champions [4] (16:37)
1:23.22.69 … Haddonfield, 2015, Meet of Champions [4] (16:40)
1:23.23.75 … Cherry Hill East, 2018 Group 4 [4] (16:40)
1:23.26.98 … Mainland Regional, 2002, Group 3 [1] (16:41)
1:23.29.78 … Haddon Twp., 2014, Meet of Champions [10] (16:41)
1:23.30.28 … Haddonfield, 2014, Group 2 [1] (16:42)
1:23.39.03 … Kingsway, 2014, Meet of Champions [4] (16:43)
1:23.40.91 … Mainland Regional, 2002, Meet of Champions [1] (16:44)
1:23.43.72 … Cherokee, 2004, Meet of Champions [5] (16:44)
1:23.44.08 … Haddonfield, 2015, Group 2 [2] (16:44)

Here are all the sub-17 averages from Saturday:

16:15 … Christian Brothers Academy
16:21 … Mendham
16:34 … Cherokee
16:34 … Haddonfield
16:40 … Cherry Hill East
16:40 … St. Peter’s Prep
16:42 … West Windsor-Plainsboro North
16:44 … Ridge
16:48 … North Hunterdon
16:53 … Old Bridge
16:57 … West Windsor-Plainsboro South

Schalick’s Gerstenbacher on his way to NCAA D-3 XC Nationals after huge race for Elizabeth at Regionals!!!

Schalick graduate Samuel Gerstenbacher is on his way back to nationals!

Gerstenbacher, a senior at Elizabethtown University, placed third Saturday in the NCAA Division 3 Mideast Region XC Championships, earning an auto berth at nationals

Gerstenbacher covered the 8,000-meter course at Lehigh University’s lower campus in Bethlehem in 24:44, finishing behind only Pat Watson of Stevenson [24:24] and Jared Pangallozzi of Johns Hopkins [24:40].

The first seven finishers from schools that don’t earn a team berth at nationals [Carnegie Mellon and Johns Hopkins] advanced automatically.

Gerstenbacher was 42nd at Regionals as a freshman, 29th as a sophomore and 9th as a junior.

Last year, Gerstenbacher finished 83rd at XC nationals in Wisconsin. He’s competed at NCAA nationals twice in track, placing 17th and 12th the last two years in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Gerstenbacher will race next weekend at the NCAA Division 3 Championships at E.P. Sawyer Park in Louisville, Ky. The men’s race is scheduled to begin at 10:45 a.m. Saturday.

Every South Jersey girl that ran 21:00 or faster at Holmdel today!!!!

Hopefully, the results now available from Holmdel County Park are all correct, but after the catastrophic timing issues at states Saturday who knows?

Either way, this is our best attempt at a New Jersey sub-21 list from the various state races. Any errors or omissions please let us know as always in the comments section!

18:55 … Olivia Shafer, Egg Harbor Township
19:05 … Kate Rathman, Cherokee
19:06 … ***Kate Ruona, Shawnee
19:15 … *Sarah Naticchia, Haddonfield
19:28 … Allie Pierontoni, Kingsway
19:32 … *Payton Weiner, Haddonfield
19:43 … ***Grace Wassell, Highland
19:50 … *Maura Keane, Washington Township
19:55 … **Keira Mansure, Northern Burlington
19:56 … *Alexa Palmieri, Ocean City
20:01 … Casey McLees, Ocean City
20:02 … **Allison MacFarland, Kingsway
20:06 … ***Aubrey Pierontoni, Kingsway
20:07 … *Sydney Watts, Kingsway
20:08 … *Sophie Steidle, Collingswood
20:15 … *Allison Colflesh, Haddonfield
20:16 … *Julia Smith, Schalick
20:20 … Claire Hauser, Shawnee
20:21 … *Katie Sparks, Paul VI
20:25 … *MaryKathleen McCurdy, Cherry Hill East
20:27 … Isabella Turner, Shawnee
20:37 … *Isabel Slimm, Cherry Hill East
20:38 … Marleigh Puglia, Schalick
20:39 … **Madison McNiff, Cherry Hill East
20:41 … Lilly Sirover, Haddonfield
20:42 … **Nicole Clifford, Cherokee
20:43 … ***Alexis Tepper, Cherry Hill East
20:45 … *Carly Nicholson, Delsea
20:46 … ***Juliana Grasso, Timber Creek
20:47 … ***Kelsey Niglio, Cherokee
20:48 … Alyssa Blackmon, Cherokee
20:52 … **Allison Helkowski, Kingsway
20:54 … *Lindsay Colflesh, Haddonfield

We THINK this is a list of every South Jersey boy that ran sub-17 today at Holmdel!!!!!

We just looked at the Parochial A boys results and saw a Washington Township runner listed, so obviously there are still some issues with the results. We looked again a minute later and he had been removed.

So this list could very well be incomplete or incorrect. BUT … based on all the information that was available as of 9 p.m. on Saturday, this should be a pretty close approximation to a list of all South Jersey boys who broke 17 minutes at Holmdel County Park Saturday in the various state championship XC races.

Lots of PRs, but a shout-out in particular to Triton sophomore Dennis Fortuna, who was South Jersey’s top sophomore with a 16:33 in his first race ever at Holmdel!

15:48 … Austin Gabay, Cinnaminson
15:51 … Ethan Wechsler, Cherokee
15:52 … Kevin Antczak, Mainland
16:01 … Oliver Adler, Cherry Hill East
16:08 … Martin Riddell, Haddonfield
16:11 … Sebastien Reed, Pitman
16:12 … Andrew Gostovich, Haddonfield
16:31 … *Anas Bensaoud, Clearview
16:33 … **Dennis Fortuna, Triton
16:33 … Chase Miller, Cherokee
16:34 … *Aidan Eyre, Cherry Hill East
16:34 … Tyler Jackson, Cherokee
16:37 … *Zachary Williams, Audubon
16:38 … Jake Aylmer, Haddon Township
16:39 … Stephen Kasko, Haddonfield
16:40 … Dan Wyshinski, Pennsville
16:40 … *Gabe Rodriguez, Cherry Hill East
16:47 … *Brady Shute, Gateway-Woodbury
16:48 … *Brett Shea, Cherokee
16:48 … **Seth Clevenger, Haddonfield
16:48 … Luke Kramer, Ocean City
16:51 … Xavier Seals, Woodstown
16:55 … *Stone Caraccio, Kingsway
16:56 … *Zack Rhoda, Zack, West Deptford
16:59 … Thomas Flear, Clearview Regional

EHT’s Olivia Shafer crushes Holmdel with sub-19 in Group 4, advances to Meet of Champions!!!!!

Olivia Shafer became the first Egg Harbor girl under 19 minutes at Holmdel County Park with her 4th-place finish at the state Group 4 meet.

Shafer ran 18:55, 40 seconds faster than her 19:35 at last year’s Meet of Champions, which had stood as the previous-fastest time by an EHT runner at Holmdel.

Older sister Abby Shafer previously held the mark at 19:45 from the 2011 state Group 4 meet. The fastest EHT girl outside the Shafer family is Michaela Pomatto, who ran 20:37 last month at Shore Coaches.

Shafer’s time is second-fastest ever by an Atlantic County girl, behind only Mainland’s Alyssa Aldridge, who ran sub-19 eight times at Holmdel, including a 17:55 in 2016.

The only other Atlantic County girl to run under 19 at Holmdel County Park is Holy Spirit’s Monique Purcell, who ran 18:59 in 1978 – the first year the current course at Holmdel went into use.

With her 4th-place finish, Shafer advances to the Meet of Champions Saturday on the same course.

There were three South Jersey girls in the top 10, with Shafer, Cherokee senior Kate Rathman [7th, 19:05] and Shawnee freshman Kate Ruona [9th, 19:06].

All the results aren’t in yet, so we can’t put together a list of South Jersey’s fastest times at the various state meets

Kingsway placed third in Group 4 team scoring behind North Hunterdon and Ridgewood. We’ll have more on Kingsway later, but the Dragons presumably will advance to the Meet of Champions as a wild card with an average time of 19:57.

Cherokee wins 6th state XC title! And someday we might even have official results to prove it!!!

Cherokee outscored Ridge 94-121 Saturday to win its first state XC title in 12 years and sixth overall.

Cherokee’s six state titles are 12th-most in state history. The Chiefs have the third-most Group 4 titles, behind only Westfield (15) and Passaic (8) and fourth-most among South Jersey schools, behind Haddonfield (18), Haddon Township (12) and Paul VI (7). Haddon Township and Haddonfield also won state titles on Saturday.

Senior Ethan Wechsler ran a Holmdel PR 15:51, finishing two seconds behind Jackson Braddock of Southern Regional.

Wechsler, whose previous Holmdel PR was 15:56 at Shore Coaches, ran 15:51, 6th-fastest in Holmdel history by a Cherokee runner.

Here’s the all-time Cherokee Holmdel top 10:

15:40 … Shawn Wilson, 2012
15:43 … Marc Pelerin, 2001
15:45 … Keith Krieger, 2002
15:46 … Jack Shea, 2015
15:51 … Ethan Wechsler, 2018
16:09 … Joe Halin, 1999
16:12 … Justin Kelly, 2016
16:13 … Tom Yersak. 2004
16:14 … Greg Malloy, 2010
16:18 … Greg Bredeck, 2005
16:20 … Alex Yersak, 2007

Unfortunately, because of the inexcusable day-long timing issues at Holmdel County Park we don’t have any other information about Cherokee’s team title and who knows when we will.

But all in all it was a very good day for the Chiefs, and we’ll add more details as soon as we have them.

If we ever do.