Maeve Smith, Chloe Care lead Ocean City to first Shore Coaches team title in 28 years!!!!!!

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.

Abigail Kotran, Abigail Waddington finish 1-2 to lead Clearview to first Shore Coaches team title!!!!!!!!

Abigail Kotran and Abigail Waddington went 1-2 and led the Clearview girls to their first Shore Coaches team title ever.

Kotran ran 19:04 and Waddington 19:06 – the two-fastest Holmdel times ever by Clearview girls – and the Pioneers, ranked No. 3 in New Jersey, outscored Northern Highlands 73-83 in the Group B race, with Ridgewood 3rd with 90 points.

It’s the first 1-2 sweep ever by South Jersey teammates in the 45-year history of the Shore Coaches Invitational.

Clearview placed all five scorers in the top 31. Margaret Wisniewski ran 20:15 for 15th and senior Aubrey Donahue and junior Allison Roes finished one spot apart, Donahue in 30th in 21:31 and Roes 31st in 21:38.

Kotran and Waddington recorded the fastest times by Gloucester County girls at Holmdel since 2016, when Rachel Vick of Kingsway ran 18:29 at the state Group 4 meet.

Mainland junior Gillian Lovett, Northern Burlington sophomore Liliah Gordon and Mainland sophomore Sofia Day all finished in the top 10, Lovett in 5th in 19:24, Gordon 6th in 19:26 and day 7th in 19:49. Mainland finished 4th in team scoring with 146 points.

Overall winner Nick Kuenkel leads Cherokee to huge Shore Coaches win over N.J. #2 Westfield!!!!!!!!

Junior Nick Kuenkel was the overall winner and seniors Patrick Ditmars and Conor Jacob also finished in the top-10 and Cherokee upset New Jersey’s No. 2-ranked team to win its first Shore Coaches Invitational team title in 19 years.

Racing in cold and wet conditions, Kuenkel ran 15:56 and became the seventh Cherokee runner to break 16 minutes on the 5,000-meter course at historic Holmdel County Park, edging Westfield’s Avery Keith, a 9:12 two-miler, by three seconds. He’s Cherokee’s first individual winner at Shore Coaches in 20 years.

Ditmars ran 16:05 for 5th place, and Jacob placed 8th in 16:22. Junior Robert Poplau and sophomore Liam Tindall clinched the win, placing 31st and 35th in 17:19 and 17:24.

Cherokee, ranked 10th in the state, defeated Westfield 80-89 to win the Group A team title. Westfield went 2-9-21-23-34, so the big difference was with each team’s 3rd runner, Jacob gaining 13 places and 28 seconds ahead of Westfield’s.

Cherokee averaged 16:37, which is 2nd-fastest ever by a South Jersey school at Shore Coaches. Cherokee averaged 16:35 in 2019.

The team title is Cherokee’s first at Shore Coaches since 2003, when the Chiefs outscored 2nd-place Hunterdon Central 65-96 with Sean McLaughlin, Greg Bredeck, Tom Yersak and James Maneval placing in the top 20. Cherokee also won Group A in 2000.

Kuenkel is Cherokee’s first individual champ at Shore Coaches since Keith Krieger won the 2002 Group A title in 16:15. A year earlier, Marc Pelerin ran 16:00 to win Group A.

His 15:56 matches the fastest Holmdel time by a South Jersey junior since 2015, when Cherokee’s Jack Shea ran 15:46 at the Meet of Champions.

Here’s a look at the 10-fastest Cherokee runners at Holmdel:

15:40 … Shawn Wilson, 2012
15:41 … Ethan Wechsler, 2019
15:43 … Marc Pelerin, 2001
15:45 … Keith Krieger, 2002
15:45 … Shawn Wilson, 2011
15:46 … Jack Shea, 2015
15:56 … Nick Kuenkel, 2022
16:05 … Patrick Ditmars, 2022
16:09 … Joe Halin, 1999
16:12 … Justin Kelly, 2016

Ryan Smith shatters Rancocas Valley record for legendary Holmdel course at Shore Coaches!!!!!

Ryan Smith ran the fastest Holmdel time ever by a Rancocas Valley runner Saturday and placed 4th in the Group B race at the Shore Coaches Invitational.

In cold and wet conditions, Smith ran 16:31 on the historic 5,000-meter Holmdel County Park course and finished only 22 seconds behind winner David McKinnon, a senior at North Hunterdon.

The fastest previous R.V. time at Holmdel was a 16:37 just last year at the Meet of Champions by Andre Faigal. Drew Hodge ran 16:41 at the 2004 Shore Coaches, Jon Harris ran 16:50 at the 1993 state Group 4 meet and Mike Clayton ran 16:53 at the 1987 Group 4 meet.

Smith’s fastest previous time at Holmdel was a 17:44 at last year’s Shore Coaches, so he ran 73 seconds faster on Saturday.

Peyton Shute nearly breaks 16 at Holmdel, Haddon Heights takes 3rd in loaded field in F race at Shore Coaches!!!!!

Despite cold and rainy conditions, Peyton Shute on Saturday became Gloucester County’s fastest runner at Holmdel County Park in 12 years.

Shute, a junior at Woodbury, ran 16:01 to place 4th in the Group F race at the Shore Coaches Invitational. That’s fastest by a Gloucester County runner at Holmdel since Paul Szulewski of Williamstown ran 15:54 at the 2010 Meet of Champions. It’s a family best: Older brother Brady ran 16:09 in 2020 at the Holmdel Invitational.

The only other faster runners from Gloucester County at Holmdel are Mike Mantini of Gateway [15:54 in 1978] and Anthony Dentino of Washington Township [15:59 in 2010].

Also in the Group F race, Haddon Heights packed five scoreres in 72 seconds and placed 3rd in team scoring with 104 points behind only New Jersey No. 3 Union Catholic [24] and Delbarton [91]. Heights averaged 17:22 on a course that’s slow and challenging even in good conditions.

Senior Jack Bolling led the way for the Garnets in 8th place in 16:38, senior Colin Patterson was 15th in 17:01, senior Ryan Wells took 23rd in 17:25 and then junior Jayden Gonzalez and sophomore Reggie Hernandez finished in 17:53, with Gonzale officially in 32nd and Hernandez in 33rd .

Cinnaminson’s Alex Boyko, Matt McCarron run 1-2 in Shore Coaches D race!!!!!

Senior Alex Boyko joined a long and illustrious list of Cinnaminson runners to win Shore Coaches titles when he crossed the line first Saturday in the Group D race at Holmdel County Park.

Boyko ran 16:25 in cold and rainy conditions and led three Cinnaminson runners in the top 10. Senior Matt McCarron was 2nd in 16:41 and senior Patrick Storti 7th in 17:38.

Boyko and McCarron are the first South Jersey teammates to go 1-2 in a Shore Coaches race in eight years, since Luke Petela and Owen Long of Haddon Township finished 1st and 2nd in the Group F race in 2014

Boyko joins Bill Mason [Group E in 1998], Jon Anderson [Group E in 2002], Mike Ungvarsky [Group D in 2015, Group E in 2016] and Austin Gabay [Group A in 2018 and 2019] as Cinnaminson Shore Coaches winners.

Bernards edged Cinnaminson 67-78 to win the Group E team title.

Lower Cape May senior Jack Cura [3rd in 17:30] and Cedar Creek junior Matt Winterbottom [5th in 17:31] also finished in the top 10.

Will Mrozinski leads Paul VI to Group G team title at Shore Coaches Invite!!!!!!

Paul VI packed all five of its scorers in the top 20 and won its 10th Shore Coaches team title Saturday in Holmdel.

Junior Will Mrozinski placed 4th in 17:03 to lead the way for PVI. Despite the poor conditions, the time is a 35-second Holmdel County Park PR for Mrozinski, who ran 17:38 at Parochial A states last year.

Senior Joseph Wigginton [12th in 17:45], senior Tyler Smith [15th in 17:56], senior Matthew Houch [17th in 18:08] and sophomore Christian Napoli [20th in 18:14] all finished within half a minute of each other for the Eagles.

Paul VI averaged 17:49 on the hilly, water-logged 5,000-meter state championship course at Holmdel County Park and outscored Kinnelon 68-90 to win its first title since 2017, when it beat Dunellen 78-125 to win Group G.

Paul VI also won Group B in 1981, 1993, 1994 and 2000, Group A in 1984 and 1989, Group C in 1995 and 1999 and Group G in 2017.

Audubon junior Aiden Williams and senior Joseph Gaspari placed 7th and 11th out of 131 runners, Williams in 17:20 and Gaspari in 17:39.

Duke’s Austin Gabay runs blazing 8,000 and leads huge South Jersey contingent at Paul Short Invitational!!!!!!!

Austin Gabay ran a huge 8,000 PR Friday and was Duke’s fifth finisher at the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh.

Gabay, a Cinnaminson graduate and a sophomore at Duke, led a large contingent of South Jersey runners, covering the historic 8,000-meter XC course at Lehigh’s Goodman Campus in 23:44.

He placed 62nd overall in the men’s Gold race. Overall, his time was 62nd-fastest of nearly 1,200 runners in the four races.

Gabay’s previous-best 8,000-meter time was a 24:10 at the 2020 ACC Championships in Cary, N.C. That was actually his last 8,000 XC race before Friday at Lehigh.

Although Gabay was Duke’s 5th finisher, he crossed the line only 24 seconds behind Duke’s 1st finisher, Matyas Csiki-Fejer, who was 16th in 23:20. He finished only 42 seconds behind overall winner Parker Wolfe of North Carolina. The first 100 runners finished within a 57 seconds of each other.

Duke placed 5th with 157 points, behind only UNC [64], Villanova [100], Utah State [105] and Georgetown [138]. Duke is ranked No. 8 in NCAA Division 1 Southeast Region.

Cherokee grad Jack Shea was St. Joe’s top finisher with a lifetime-best 24:18 in his second race as a Hawk. His previous all-course 8K PR was a 24:36 back in September of 2018 as a freshman at Northern Arizona at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational in Verona, Wisc. Shea graduated from NAU in the spring and is now a grad student at St. Joe’s. He ran 13:44.57 on the track last spring at Stanford.

Three seconds behind Shea was Bishop Eustace grad Connor Melko, a senior at Lehigh. Melko ran 24:21 on his home course and was the Engineers’ top finisher. That’s also a big 8,000 PR for Melko, whose previous fastest 8K was a 25:24 on Lafayette’s Metzger Field course last September.

Also under 25 minutes was Cornell sophomore Brady Shute from Woodbury, who ran 24:36. His fastest previous 8,000 was a 24:50 at Lock Haven last weekend.

Yale’s Martin Riddell, a sophomore from Haddonfield, ran 24:41, more than a minute and a half faster than he ran on the same course last year. Riddell ran 26:24 at Paul Short last year and that was his fastest previous 8,000.

Matthew Coffey, a St. Joe’s senior from Camden Catholic, ran 24:46, his first time under 25 minutes for an 8,000. His previous personal-best was a 25:31 at last year’s Paul Short. His teammate, sopohmore Colton Johnson from Paul VI, was four seconds back. It appears to be his first collegiate 8,000. Another St. Joe’s runner from South Jersey, Eastern’s Aidan Groff, also dipped under 25 with a 24:52. That’s an 8,000 PR by more than a minute. He ran 25:55 at Paul Short last year.

The winding, twisting course in Bethlehem (with a brief forway into Hellertown) was used for the 1979, 1983 and 1993 NCAA Division 1 Championships.

Nearly 150 schools from around the country raced Friday at Lehigh at the 48th annual running of the Paul Short Invite.

Egg Harbor girls average 20:15 in PR-loaded performance at Stockton Invitational!!!!!!

With four girls in the top 20, the Egg Harbor girls placed second in the Stockton Invitational Friday, just one point behind Toms River North.

Egg Harbor, ranked 13th in the state, fell 71-72 to No. 10 Toms River North but finished 15 points ahead of No. 19 Southern Regional in a meeting of three top-20 programs.

EHT’s top 5 averaged 20:15 on the 5,000-meter course on Stockton University’s campus in Galloway Township.

It was certainly a promising performance for EHT, which was led by junior Michaela Schlemo, who ran an all-course 5,000 PR of 18:46 for 3rd place. Her previous 5,000 best was 18:53 at last year’s Cape Atlantic Championships on the same course in Galloway Township.

Senior Lindsay Taylor [9th in 19:49], junior Taylor Rooney [16th in 20:34] and sophomore Bithania Andemariam [19th in 20:41] also finished in the top 20, and freshman Page Pacquing – in her first varsity 5,000 ever – was EHT’s 5th finisher in 34th in 21:27.

All five EHT runners ran an all-course 5,000 PR. Andemariam’s previous 5K PR was a 23:27 from last year’s CAL meet, so she PR’d by nearly three minutes in her first 5,000 of the fall.

Rooney has run track previously but this is her first season of cross country, so two of EHT’s top five had never run a varsity 5,000 before.

Mainland sophomore Sofia Day placed 2nd overall in 18:23, behind only T.R. North freshman Jessica Abbott, who won the race in 18:03.

Also in the top 10 were Wildwood sophomore Macie McCracken [4th in 18:49], Mainland junior Gillian Lovett [5th in 19:08], Atlantic City senior Madeline Dischert [6th in 19:19], Paul VI senior Shaelan McNally [7th in 19:33] and Camden Catholic sophomore Nilaa Ponnappan [10th in 19:52].

With 5 in the top 10, top-ranked Haddonfield girls roar to Bowdoin Classic team title!!!!!!

The Haddonfield girls packed their five scorers in 41 seconds and romped to the team title in the Varsity 1 race at the Bowdoin Park XC Classic Saturday at Wappingers Falls, N.Y.

Haddonfield, ranked No. 1 in New Jersey, went 3-6-7-8-9, scoring 33 points and finishing 44 points ahead of 2nd-place Corning (N.Y.) , which scored 77 and got second on a 6th-runner tiebreaker over New Milford.

Senior Helene Usher was Haddonfield’s top runner, taking 3rd in 19:39. Junior Ava Thomas, junior Riley Slootsky, freshman Riley Austin and junior Audrey Naticchia then swept 6th through 9th place, with Thomas breaking 20 minutes in 19:57 and Slootsky, Austin and Naticchia running between 20:12 and 20:20 over the challenging 5,000-meter course along the Hudson River 70 miles north of New York City.

It was the first championship race for Austin, who had run two batch races previously.

Union Catholic, ranked No. 2 in New Jersey, won the Varsity 2 race 21-96 over Bronxville.