Ciambriello leads Knights to sixth place at MOC


Staff Writer

MIGUEL JUAREZ staff Old Bridge's Nick Carbone runs to the finish at Saturday's season-ending Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park.MIGUEL JUAREZ staff Old Bridge’s Nick Carbone runs to the finish at Saturday’s season-ending Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park. The Old Bridge cross country team capped its campaign by taking sixth-place in the NJSIAA Boys Cross Country Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park.

The Knights’ top runner, Matt Ciambriello, ran a 15:46 to finish in second place behind Colts Neck’s Craig Forys, who set a course record of 15:16. Nevertheless, Old Bridge coach Rich Gebauer said Ciambriello’s time set a record for Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) runners, and ranks 16th in state history.

Other Old Bridge runners who placed include Nick Carbone (16:59), Breandan Lyman (17:13), Kyle Kauth (17:30), Travis Mahoney (17:42), Peter Jodogne (17:43) and James Hauser (18:18).

“It wasn’t quite our best day, but we still took sixth place in the state, and that’s pretty good,” said Gebauer, whose team won it all in 2004. “The boys accomplished a lot.”

Ciambriello said that he did not start out as fast as he did at the overall Group IV meet because Forys did not pick up the pace until the one-mile mark. A group of other runners followed. While Ciambriello waited a bit, he came on strong at the end, passing all but Forys.

The Knights entered the MOC after comfortably winning the NJSIAA overall Group IV championship Nov. 11. Ciambriello finished in second place 16:02, behind Forys, who finished in 15:31. Old Bridge also won the Central Jersey Group IV sectional and captured the GMC Red Division crown with a 7-0 dual meet record.

Ciambriello, meanwhile, will go on to compete next in the Foot Locker Cross Country Northeast Championship at Van Cortland Park in New York, where he is hoping to qualify for a berth in the national event. Ciambriello ran the event last fall, with an eye on this season.

“I understand the course and I know the pace will be fast,” he said. “I’m prepared.”

One of Old Bridge’s tri-captains, the modest Ciambriello said he does not usually have a preference as to the pace as he adapts to what the other runners are doing.

The strategy has served him well, helping him to first-place finishes in the GMC meet, the Shore Coaches Invitational, the Holmdel Invitational and the Stuart Memorial. His 15:44 performance at the CJ Group IV sectional at Thompson Park in Old Bridge set a team record.

Ciambriello said that while this year’s team was solid, the 2004 squad was slightly better.

“That was really a great year, and winning it all was a great feeling,” he said. “Still, this year’s team is very good – it takes a lot to get into the Meet of Champions.”

As for his future plans, Ciambriello said he plans to continue running in college and is considering several schools. In the meantime, he will also compete for the Knights’ winter and spring track contingents, where he runs in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter events.