Bears, Knights impressive in the early going


Staff Writer

East Brunswick’s Adam Cesanek (above) and Monroe’s Ely Segarra (r) race to the finish at Saturday’s Cougar Invitational in Colts Neck.  East Brunswick’s Adam Cesanek (above) and Monroe’s Ely Segarra (r) race to the finish at Saturday’s Cougar Invitational in Colts Neck. The cross country season is in full swing, and it’s becoming more and more apparent that the local talent should fare pretty well against the best in the state this fall.

While this weekend’s Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel Park will provide the biggest test of the young season for many local teams, some of the area’s elite harriers were showing their speed this past weekend as well.

While the top-ranked Old Bridge boys were displaying their prowess by taking fifth place overall in their division at the competitive Stewart Memorial Invitational at Warinanco Park in Roselle, the East Brunswick boys were stealing the spotlight at the Cougar Invitational in Colts Neck.

PHOTOS BY CHRIS KELLY staff PHOTOS BY CHRIS KELLY staff The Knights, the top-ranked team in the Greater Middlesex Conference, were led by Matt Ciambrello, who finished in third place overall with a time of 16:41. Nick Carbone’s 11th-place finish (17:06) also helped Old Bridge secure its solid showing.

Meanwhile in Colts Neck, the second-ranked Bears enjoyed a stellar day, as senior Yannick Wood (16:29), senior Dan Gilbert (16:32) and junior Eric Sorkin (16:43) finished 3-4-5 in the boys varsity large school 5K race at Bucks Mill Park.

Their strong showing, along with senior Adam Cesanek’s seventh-place finish (17:12) and a 33rd-place finish from junior Ira Guberman (18:34), allowed East Brunswick to easily capture the team title.

The Bears team total of 41 was an impressive finish, well ahead of second-place South Brunswick (85 points), another of the GMC’s better teams that has looked strong early on.

Monroe’s boys finished in sixth place with 184 points, led by senior Scott Roman’s eighth-place finish (17:17) and a 23rd-place finish from junior Adam Modzelewski (18:20).

Individually, Colts Neck’s Craig Forys started the season — a season he plans to conclude with an MOC title — running a 15:56 to set the pace. He was the only runner under 16:00 on the Bucks Mill Park layout.

In the girls action, the East Brunswick contingent also performed well, placing fourth as a team with 140 points. The Bears were led by senior Victoria Krupnik (20:08) and junior Erin Comerford (20:16), who finished in 13th and 14th, respectively.

Sophomore Sarah Smith was not far behind in 19th place (20:53).

The Bears’ fourth-place finish was two spots above rival South Brunswick, who finished with 153 points. The Bears are ranked fourth in the GMC, while the Vikings entered Saturday’s action ranked second, behind Old Bridge.

The Monroe girls also ran in Colts Neck on Saturday and finished in eighth-place (159), led by senior Ely Segarra’s ninth-place finish in 19:59. Sophomore Damaris was next across the line for the Falcons in 21:12, followed by senior Ali Push (21:47).

Colts Neck’s girls took home the team title with 27 points, led by Brianne Jacku-cewicz and Ashley Higginson’s 1-2 finish.

As Jackucewicz, the highly touted Colts Neck freshman, and teammate Higginson, last year’s indoor Meet of Champions (MOC) 3,200-meter champion, shadowed each other during Saturday’s Cougar Invitational at Bucks Mill Park, they gave everyone a preview of what to expect in cross county in 2005.

They are probably the best tandem in the state.

Saturday, they didn’t break a sweat as both dipped under Higginson’s 2004 meet and course record (18:52).

The win went to Jackucewicz in 18:42, with Higginson backing off at the line to place second (18:43).