Christian Brothers Academy Is A National Contender After Manhattan Invitational Win

Christian Brothers Academy (NJ) has a history of being one of the best cross country teams in the Northeast as well as the entire country. This year is no different, as they are ranked No. 13 in the Flo50 national rankings. 

This past weekend at the Manhattan Invitational, CBA once again put on a show of strength by upsetting No. 8 Green Hope, which placed third, and beating No. 15-ranked Fayetteville-Manlius, which placed second. 

"The last couple of weeks we've been progressively moving back in the rankings," senior Ryan Miele said. "I think beating three other teams in the top 25 really shows that we're [a threat] this year and we're not pretenders."

Team Scores 2017 Manhattan Invitational: 

Rank Team                      Total    1    2    3    4    5   *6   *7   *8   *9
   1 Christian Brothers Academ   136    7   22   33   36   38   61  109
      Total Time:  1:05:18.10
         Average:    13:03.62
   2 Fayetteville-Manlius        147   11   19   34   41   42   85  138
      Total Time:  1:05:27.10
         Average:    13:05.42
   3 Green Hope                  180   17   21   32   40   70   75   87
      Total Time:  1:05:52.40
         Average:    13:10.48

This isn't the team's first big performance at the Manhattan Invitational, though. In fact, in the past 10 years, the CBA boys have won the Eastern States title six times. And this weekend the squad had one of their better team averages, running 13:03.62.

"This race is all about the team, and it really shows where we're at and I think we're at a pretty good spot after this one . . . we brought home [the trophy]," CBA senior Brian Hill said. "These big races, they really show what the team's all about and I think we rose to the occasion today, so I think that's a good sign for later on." 

According to Miele, the team's pre-race strategy of packing up and running together on the course helped them execute the win.

"The race went out pretty fast," Miele explained. "The second half we all packed up and found each other and we all worked together the last half mile, and closed really hard as a team. So it was a great team win, shows the country what we got."  

CBA's History At Manhattan: 

yearplace at Manhattan Invitational average
20171st w/136 points13:03.62
20161st w/202 points13:12.16
20153rd w/205 points13:01.44
20144th w/215 points13:01.68
20131st w/86 points12:44.00
20121st w/94 points12:44.54
20111st w/60 points13:01.22
20102nd w/144 points13:17.29
20091st w/116 points13:01.90
20086th w/221 points13:18.69

Over time, we've seen CBA have the same success at the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Region since the start of region qualifying meets in 2008.

They've won five of nine NXR Northeast team titles and have qualified for NXN seven times. In 2011, the squad had their best team performance at NXN by finishing first with 91 points on a 15:58 average and 24-second one through five split.

CBA's History At NXN Northeast: 
yearNXN NE Team Finishaverage1-5 split 
20161st w/122 points16:31.10:38.1
20152nd w/140 points16:37.21:14.8
20142nd w/102 points16:35.90:50.5
20131st w/85 points16:15.00:43.7
20121st w/73 points16:22.00:47.1
20111st w/38 points16:24.60:21.9
20101st w/102 points16:36.7N/A
20096th w/198 points17:02.9N/A
20088th w/239 points17:29.3N/A

Since their win in 2011, CBA has finished in the top 10 on three occasions and the top five twice. The team's worst finish came in 2015, when they placed 20th out of 22 teams. 

The team has been trying to make it back to number one ever since. For the seniors, the past few years have not been exactly the way they wanted to leave their mark on CBA history. 

"We've kind of had a burnout factor the past couple years, and this year we're trying to focus on avoiding that," senior John Sheridan said. "Later season is our goal, and this is just the beginning." 

CBA's History At NXN:

yearNXN Team Finishaverage1-5 split
20167th w/235 pointsN/AN/A
201520th w/401 points16:25N/A
201411th w/271 points16:231:19
20132nd w/139 points15:470:44
20124th w/167 points18:100:58
20111st w/91 points15:580:24
20105th w/179 points17:22.30N/A
20058th w/204 points17:27.381:13
200411th w/284 pointsN/AN/A

Like many teams, CBA is looking to balance racing experience along with keeping fresh for the second half of the season.

"A lot of us are kind of inexperienced with the varsity action, so it's a fine line racing to get the experience but keeping ourselves fresh," junior Tim McInerney explained. "We're doing all the little things -- stretching, all that kind of stuff -- trying to do whatever we can to preserve our bodies."

"As a senior class you always want to leave the program better than the way you found it, and it was in a pretty good spot when we came in as freshmen," Hill said.

Hill also acknowledged that they may not have had their best race at NXN, but that doesn't mean CBA hasn't been in the national conversation in 2016.

"To say that we were not at the upper half of last year I think is an understatement. We won the 4x-1-mile indoors so we were always at the top nationally," Hill noted. "I think at NXN we didn't really have our best day overall as a team and that's definitely motivating us this year. At CBA we want to be the top every year, and that's always our thought no matter what the finish is the year before. But obviously, there's a little extra motivation."

Hill and his senior class want to use that motivation to help put themselves on the map as one of the best squads in CBA history. 

"As a senior class you always want to leave the program better than the way you found it, and it was in a pretty good spot when we came in as freshmen," Hill said. "I remember when we came in, in the summer, and we want to leave it better than that and leave it in good hands for the underclassmen. For seniors, that's always one of the motivations.

"You want to leave your mark on the program and make it better, and that's something special because lots of senior classes have done that at CBA and that's why we're still good and always a national powerhouse."

CBA's Top Seven At The 2017 Manhattan Invitational: 

Brian Hill 7th12:40.5
Luke Reid22nd13:02.9
Ryan Miele33rd13:09.8
Troy Hill36th13:11.1
Tim McInerney38th13:13.8
John Sheridan 61st13:27.2
Nick Rienzo 109th13:52.5