R.V. graduate Alicia Belko runs away with NCAA Division 2 Atlantic Region title!!!!!

Rancocas Valley graduate Alicia Belko ran away with the individual title Saturday in the NCAA Division 2 Atlantic Region Championships.

Belko, a California of Pennsylvania senior and transfer from Stockton University, covered the 6,000-meter course at Schenley Park in Pittsburgh in 23:24, beating second-place finisher and teammate Alyson Pierce by 150 meters.

Edinboro had five in the top 21 to edge California 64-87 in team scoring, but Belko and her Vulcans  teammates are on their way to the NCAA Division national championships as well.

Belko and Co. will be back on the same Bob O’Connor Golf Course at Schenley Park on Dec. 1 for nationals.

Belko is the second NCAA regional winner in program history. Julie Friend won the title last year.

Belko is working toward her masters in exercise science at California.

At R.V., Belko placed fourth at indoor sectionals in the 3,200 in 11:30.61 and 11th at states but never ran cross country.


Haddonfield places five in top 30 on the way to second place in Meet of Champions!!!!!

Junior Martin Riddell and senior Greg Eisenhower placed 14th and 15th and all five Haddonfield scorers placed in the top 30 (in team scoring) Saturday as the Bulldogs challenged top-ranked CBA before placing second in the 47th annual Meet of Champions.

Riddell and Eisenhower crossed the line together in 16:10. Senior Derek Gess was 36th overall (2oth in team scoring) in 16:36, senior Ethan Spellmeyer took 50th (26th) in 16:48 and junior Stephen Kasko was 51st (27th) in 16:51.

Christian Brothers outscored Haddonfield 68-86. Kingsway and Cherokee placed third and sixth with 164 and 185 points.

The second-place finish was Haddonfield’s best since the 2010 team placed second.

This was the seventh straight year Haddonfield reached the Meet of Champions and the 32nd time in the last 39 years.

Haddonfield has now finished in the top 10 at the Meet of Champions a remarkable 17 times:

1st – 2001
2nd – 2010, 2018
3rd – 2006, 2007
4th – 2008, 2009, 2015
5th – 1989, 2014
6th – 2017
7th – 2013
8th – 1980, 1986
9th – 1990
10th – 1995, 2000

Overall, it was tremendous day for South Jersey individuals, with nine of the top 21 finishers.

Other South Jersey runners in that group were junior Ethan Wechsler of Cherokee (4th in 15:56), Mainland junior Kevin Antczak (8th in 16:01), Cinnaminson junior Austin Gabay (13th in 16:10), Bishop Eustace senior Connor Melko (16th in 16:11), Delsea senior Colin Kane (19th in 16:23) and Camden Catholic senior Richard Castaneda (20th in 16:23), with Kingsway senior Kieran Burns just out of the top 20 in 21st (16:24).

Williamstown’s Mike Dowd of Rowan College [Gloucester County] places second in JUCO nationals!!!!!

step0001.pngWilliamstown High School graduate Mike Dowd, a sophomore at Rowan College Gloucester County, ran 27:18 in wet, cold and windy conditions to place second in the JUCO XC Division 3 nationals.

Dowd finished behind only Daniel Taylor of Sandhills College in Pinehurst, N.C., who ran 26:32 over the 8,000-meter course at Stanley Park in Westfield, Mass.

Dowd placed eighth as a freshman so he’s now a two-time National Junior College Athletic Association All-America.

The versatile Dowd ran 2:01, 4:31 and 9:51 for the Braves and was also a 57.51 intermediate hurdler.

Rowan placed sixth in team scoring with 221 points. Freshmen Noah Cziryak from Triton [19th in 28:34] and Jake Kolodziej of Washington Township [22nd in 28:47] also placed in the top 25 for the Roadrunners.


Connor Melko becomes Bishop Eustace’s first state XC champion in 35 years!!!!!

Connor Melko won his fourth state title Saturday, his first in cross country, when he ran away from the field in the state Parochial B race at Holmdel County Park.

Melko, a Bishop Eustace senior ran 16:50 over the hilly, water-logged 5,000-meter course, beating the field by 22 seconds. Jeremy Bronstein of Dwight Englewood was second, more than 100 meters back.

Melko won state indoor titles in the 800 and 1,600 as a sophomore and in the 1,600 last year.

It had been 35 years since a Bishop Eustace runner won a state title. Paul Rabon won Parochial B in 1982 and 1983.

Eustace placed second in the team race with 103 points, behind only Newark Academy, which won with 54 points.

Melko is the first South Jersey runner to win Parochial B states in 19 years, since John Sheperd of Wildwood Catholic won the 1999 race in 17:25 on the same course.

Tim Callinan of Sacred Heart (1997) and Mike DeLaney of Wildwood Catholic (1998) along with Rabon are the only other South Jersey winners of this race.

Schalick grad Samuel Gerstenbacher punches ticket to NCAA D-3 National Championships!!!!!

Schalick graduate Samuel Gerstenbacher, an Elizabethtown junior, earned a trip to NCAA Division 3 nationals Saturday when he placed seventh in the Mideast Region Championships at DeSales College in Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County.

Gerstenbacher covered the 8,000-meter course in 26:10, finishing just 15 seconds behind overall winner Harley Moyer of Washington & Jefferson.

The top seven finishers not from teams that qualify for nationals earn at-large bids, so Gerstenbacher will race at NCAA Division 3 nationals at Lake Breeze Golf Club in Oshkosh, Wisc., on Saturday.

Gerstenbacher finished 42nd at regionals as a freshman and 29th last year, so that’s very steady improvement for the Elmer native.

At Schalick, Gerstenbacher ran 4:20.31 for 1,600 meters and 1:56.33 for 800 meters on the track. In XC, he had a terrific senior year, with titles at the Shore Coaches, South Jersey Open and Salem County Championships and a seventh at the state Group 1 meet.

Ethan Wechsler adds name to Cherokee lore with state Group 4 individual championship!!!

Ethan Wechsler continued his breakout junior season Saturday by becoming only the second South Jersey runner to win the state Group 4 individual title in the last 17 years.

Wechsler, a Cherokee junior, covered the water-logged Holmdel County Park course in 16:08. He finished 50 meters ahead of senior Nick Lundberg of Freehold Township, who ran 16:18.

He’s the first South Jersey runner to win the state Group 4 title since Shawn Wilson of Cherokee in 2012 and only the eighth since the meet’s inception in 1946.

Wechsler’s time was fastest of all South Jersey boys in the six state championship races at Holmdel Saturday.

Here’s a full list of South Jersey runners who’ve won the most competitive public school race in the state. As you can see, half of them, including the last three, are from Cherokee.

1969 … Steve Schoenwald [Woodrow Wilson]
1974 … Marty Ludwikowski [Cherry Hill West]
1990 … Jerry Franks [Highland]
1999 … Joe Halin [Cherokee]
2000 … Mike Myers [Eastern]
2001 … Marc Pelerin [Cherokee]
2012 … Shawn Wilson [Cherokee]
2018 … Ethan Wechsler [Cherokee]

For the sake of comparison, Wechsler finished 30th at states last year as a sophomore.

Cherokee’s top-5 also included junior Chase Miller [5th in 16:28], sophomore Brett Shea [26th in 16:55], sophomore Dylan Odud [52nd in 17:17] and senior David Jackson [54th in 17:17].

The Chiefs were missing two of their usual top 5 but still averaged 16:49, which would up tied for the third-fastest average time of the day:

16:38 … Mendham [1st, Group 3]
16:48 … Christian Brothers Academy [1st Parochial A]
16:49 … Kingsway [1st, Group 4]
16:49 … Cherokee [3rd, Group 4]
16:52 … Westfield [2nd, Group 4]

Cherokee has now placed in the top 5 at states in 17 of the last 31 years. The Chiefs have advanced to states 30 of the last 31 year. They were sixth at sectionals in 2012. Here’s their year-by-year finish at states:

1986 – 9th
1987 – 12nd
1988 – 2nd
1989 – 2nd
1997 – 1st
1998 – 1st
1999 – 1st
2000 – 1st
2001 – 2nd
2002 – 3rd
2003 – 4th
2004 – 3rd
2005 – 4th
2006 – 5th
2007 – 1st
2008 – 2nd
2009 – 13th
2010 – 13th
2011 – 10th
2012 – DNR
2013 – 12th
2014 – 8th
2015 – 3rd
2016 – 2nd
2017 – 7th
2018 – 3rd

In the Group 2 boys race? It’s … Haddonfield, of course!!!!! FOR THE 17TH TIME!!!!!

Haddonfield’s big three of juniors Greg Eisenhower and Martin Riddell and senior Derek Gess all finished in the top 10, and Haddonfield cruised to its 17th state XC title Saturday at Holmdel County Park.

Haddonfield won its second in a row and ninth in the last 13 years, outscoring second-place Voorhees 42-75 to win the state Group 1 title.

With the Holmdel course running very slow a day after torrential rain and flooding, Haddonfield averaged 16:51 on the historic hilly layout in Monmouth County.

Eisenhower was fourth overall in 16:30, Riddell sixth in 16:32 and Gess ninth in 16:48 for the Bulldogs.

They were backed up by junior Andrew Gostovich in 14th in 17:07 and senior Griffin Weiner in 17th in 17:20. Gostovich and Weiner were 12th and 14th in team scoring. Junior Grayson Fasolo was Haddonfield’s sixth runner in 23rd in 17:28, which put him ahead of every other team’s fifth runner and every team other than Voorhees’s second runner. Senior Sean Campiglia was Haddonfield’s seventh running, covering the Holmdel course in 18:02 for 38th place.

Haddonfield has the third-most state titles in state history and most in South Jersey history. Only two legendary programs, Christian Brothers of Lincroft with 28 and Bernards with 23, have won more.

Haddonfield’s first title came in Group 2 in 1978. The Bulldogs also won Group 2 in 1980, then moved to Group 1 and won four titles between 1985 and 1990. Back in Group 2, the Bulldogs have won titles in 2000, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018.