Local teams place well in state X-country meet

EBHS, Old Bridge boys teams in top 10; South Brunswick girls get fourth-place finish


Despite strong finishes by members of the East Brunswick High School boys team in the state Group IV cross country meet at Holmdel Park on Saturday, the Bears did not earn the right to move on to this week’s Meet of Champions (MOC).

With five members of the team finishing in the top 75, East Brunswick was awarded 192 points, good enough for sixth place in the meet. Only the top three move on to the MOC.

They included the following: Brian Smith, 17:04.07 (36th); Alex Silverman, 17:06.15 (39th); Alex Elkin, 17:09.98 (45th); Joe DeMarco, 17:17.74 (55th); and Dan De- Marco, 17:30.22 (72nd). Mike Canfield finished in 139th place.

Old Bridge, which placed ninth in the team Group IV standings, managed to place six runners — Corey O’Neill, 16:53.88 (28th); Moheb Thomas, 17:06.60 (40th); Shawn Burke, 17:15.27 (52nd); Joe Capolino, 17:16.90 (53rd). Vincent Vento, 17:34.86 (80th); and Anthony Branco, 17:55.50 104th).

North Brunswick’s Kyle Davis was the top area finisher with a 16:12.28, good for sixth place overall in the Group IV meet. His twin brother, Cullen, scored a 16:41.83, earning the junior 21st place.

In the girls Group IV meet, South Brunswick earned a wildcard spot in the Meet of Champions by virtue of its fourthplace overall finish. Lindsay Sample finished in 19th place with a 19:53.60, and teammates Sophia Ginez and Cayla Del Piano placed 22nd and 30th with times of 20:00.86 and 20:21.72, respectively. Jennifer Smilgis finished in 43rd place with a time of 20.39.44.

For the East Brunswick boys, the season ends with the Bears completing a 5-1 dualmeet record, a second place in the GMC Red Division and two first-place finishes at individual meets, the Roxbury Invitational and DeWitt Clinton Invitational in NYC. However, the highlight of the season was East Brunswick’s first place in last week’s Central Jersey Group IV championships, the team’s third sectional title ever and first since 1995.

As was the case in the Group IV meet, the strength of East Brunswick all season has been how tight the first five members have been timed in meets.

“Usually, only 10 to 20 seconds separate the times of our first five runners in meets,” said coach Mike Harnett. “That’s enabled us to finish well up in the standings although we didn’t have any top individuals. It’s been a very satisfying season. The boys started running over 60 miles a week in June and the effort carried over into our season.

“We may not be through yet,” Harnett continued. It’s possible that some of the team members will compete in the Nike Northeast Regional Championships with an eye toward earning a spot in the Nationals.

For Cullen Davis, the sixth-place finish enables the North Brunswick junior to move on to the Meet of Champions as an individual. Davis is coming off a first-place finish in the Greater Middlesex Conference meet earlier this month.

For the state girls Group IV meet, other area finishers included the following: Maryam Haque, 103rd; Anum Azher, 111th; Stephanie Wong, 112th; Catherine Wu, 113th; Connie Yu, 114th; and Maham Azher 144th; all of J.P. Stevens; and Lindsay Del Piano, 83rd; and Melanie Huen, 139th; both from South Brunswick.

In other group meets, Metuchen’s Kevin Blanchard placed 25th in the Group I boys meet with a time of 17:59.73. Also running for the Bulldogs were Henry Blanchard, who placed 43rd in a time of 18:20.27; James Rasmussan, 58th in 18:43.21; and Troy Kanaszka, 85th in 18:43.21.

The East Brunswick girls team, which did not participate in the state Group IV meet, finished the season in fourth place in the GMC Red Division. Bianca Nfonoyim placed seventh overall in the individual standings for the race while Alyssa Silva placed in 30th.