The College of New Jersey sophomore Jack Ennis, who never broke 2:06 for 800 meters, 4:39 for 1,600 meters or 9:59 for 3,200 meters during his high school career at Shawnee, recorded his first major college victory over the weekend.
Ennis, a 2018 graduate of Shawnee, ran 19:01 over 6,000 meters at the Green Lane Fields in Ewing to win the TCNJ Invitational.
Ennis was one of five TCNJ runners that packed in under two seconds as the Lions scored a perfect 15 racing against Stockton and Ocean County College.
These are our favorite stories – runners that don’t experience immediate success but stick with track or cross country, never stop working and keep improving.
Ennis led four South Jersey alums across the line. Junior Robert Abrams from Cherry Hill West was second in 19:01, and sophomore Pat Mulligan from Haddon Township and sophomore William Mayhew of Delsea took third and fourth, both in 19:02.
Evan Bush from Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville completed the 1-5 sweep in 19:02.
The Cherry Hill East boys made the trip up to Lakewood a successful one Friday by taking the merge in the class races at the Battle at Ocean County Park.
Senior Oliver Adler ran 15:41 over a course that was somewhat less than 5,000 meters, the fourth-fastest time of the day.
Adler, who ran 16:47 at Holmdel last fall, was the Camden County 1,600 champ last spring at 4:23.29 and ran as fast as 9:31.72 for 3,200 meters at the M-of-C.
In the junior race, Aiden Eyre and Gabe Rodriguez finished 5th and 6th in 16:17 and 16:23, and in the sophomore race Ethan Anderer (16:24) and Dylan Hagan (17:06) ran 4th and 9th.
East was responsible for four of the 23-fastest times in the sophomore, junior and senior races.
In the freshman race, run on a shorter course, Peter Tepper took 9th for East in 11:34 and teammate Michael McCurdy was 19 seconds back.
Cherry Hill East outscored Freehold Township 99-136 in the merge.
Adler, Rodriguez and Eyre were all on the Cherry Hill East team that placed third last year at sectionals, eighth at states and 12th at the Meet of Champions.
Liam Murphy of Allentown, the indoor Meet of Champions 3,200 winner last year, ran 14:52 to win the senior race, the fifth-fastest time in course history
An auspicious start for the Cherokee Chiefs, who had the lowest team score at the Cherokee Challenge even without their No. 1 runner.
While Ethan Wechsler was off on a recruiting trip, his teammates won the boys team title at the 24th annual Cherokee Challenge on their home course, edging West Windsor-Plainsboro North by eight points.
Wechler, fourth in the Meet of Champions last year and the No. 2 returner, was visiting Duke over the weekend, but his teammates picked up the slack in the annual season-opening series of class races.
Cherokee had four of the top 18 runners overall and in the MileSplit merge finished with a 108-116 win over West Windsor Plainsboro North.
Cherokee went 4-9 in the senior race, with Tyler Jackson running 10:02 over the 3,200-meter course on the Cherokee grounds and Chase Miller two seconds back in ninth in 10:04, and the Chiefs went 4-5 in the junior race, with Brett Shea and Nico Grilli running 10:06 and 10:07.
Overall, Jackson, Miller, Shea and Grilli finished 5-12-17-18. Cherokee’s fifth runner was Michael Gavio, who ran 10:28 for 27th in the senior race.
Jackson had the fastest time among South Jersey runners, Miller was fourth and Shea and Grill were seventh and eighth.
Cherokee became the first South Jersey school since Ocean City in 2010 to win the boys team championship. This is the first time since team scores were first kept in 2004 that Cherokee won the title.
Kate Rathman began her senior year by running the fastest time among South Jersey runners at the Cherokee Challenge over 3,200 meter on her home course at Cherokee.
Rathman ran 11:42, finishing second to Maddy Kopec of Red Bank Catholic, who won the senior race in 11:33. Kopec finished 15th in the XC Meet of Champions last fall.
Kopec and Rathman had the two-fastest times of the day. The next-fastest South Jersey girl was Collingswood’s Sophie Steidle, who won the sophomore race in 12:14
Rathman’s time is fastest by a South Jersey girl in any Cherokee Challenge race since 2015, when Alyssa Aldridge of Mainland won the sophomore race in 11:34 and fastest by a Cherokee girl since Megan Lacy ran 10:54 in 2011.
Last fall, Rathman was the Burlington County and Olympic Conference XC champion. She was a sectional champ in the 1,600 and 3,200 indoors and ran 5:02.94 outdoors, which makes her the No. 2 returner in South Jersey.
Super race this morning for Audubon junior Zachary Williams, who placed second in the junior boys race at the 24th annual Cherokee Challenge.
Williams ran 10:02, finishing behind only Jackson Braddock of Southern Regional, who covered the 3,200-meter course in 9:42, which matches the fastest time in the junior-class race since Lou Corgliano of Hammonton ran 9:40 back in 2012.
Williams ran 11:03 for 19th in the sophomore race last year, so that’s more than a minute improvement over last year. Granted the conditions were much better this year but still a huge time drop.
Williams actually beat his track 3,200 PR of 10:05.65, which he ran last May at Group 1 sectionals.
Williams is the first Audubon runner in meet history to place in the top three in any of the boys or girls class races at Cherokee.
He finished just ahead of Colonial Conference rival Brady Shute of Gateway-Woodbury, who was third in 10:05.
Jack Bolling of Haddon Heights on Saturday morning became the first South Jersey runner in five years to win the freshman race at the 24th annual Cherokee Challenge.
Bolling ran 10:49 over the two-mile course in Marlton, edging Paul Kresloff of Moorestown by 25 meters.
The last four freshman boys winners at Cherokee were from Pennsylvania or Delaware. The last South Jersey winner was Joe Grandizio of Kingsway in 2014.
The last 1-2 S.J. finish in the freshman race came in 2012, when Austin Stoner of Haddonfield and Owen Long of Haddon Township ran 1-2.
Bolling is the first individual winner from Heights in 15 years, since Matt Mitchell won the junior race in 2004. He was the Colonial Conference Middle School champion last year as an 8th-grader.
Elizabethtown senior Samuel Gerstenbacher placed second out of nearly 100 runners in the Light up the Night Invite at Dickinson University, less than two seconds behind Dickinson’s Bryce Descavish.
Gerstenbacher, a Schlick graduate, covered the 5,000-meter course in Carlisle, Pa., in 15:52.2. Descavish ran 15:50. No other runners were under 16 minutes.
Elizabethtown did win the team title by three points over Dickinson, going 2-5-6-13-14-15, for a 40-43 win with their sixth runner displacing Dickinson’s fifth.
Gerstenbacher was named Landmark Conference Athlete of the Week for his performance.
Gerstenbacher is a two-time Landmark Conference XC champion. In the spring he ran the steeplechase in 9:00.21 and raced in the NCAA Division 3 championships.