* Angelina Perez and Gavin Sherry claimed Eastbay Northeast Region Championships on Saturday
Photo Credit: New York MileSplit
Conard (CT) High School and Lakeland Regional (NJ) seniors Gavin Sherry and Angelina Perez, the No. 3 and No. 1 ranked athletes in the nation according to MileSplit, made gigantic statements on Saturday at the Eastbay Northeast Region in New York City, winning the boys' and girls' championships to secure their spots at the Eastbay National Cross Country Championships on Dec. 11 in San Diego, California.
For Sherry, it will mark his second appearance at nationals after his All-American finish in 2019. Perez, meanwhile, booked her first ticket, and what a race it was.
The New Jersey athlete and University of Florida signee never left any doubt, dominating the girls field en route to a winning time of 17:21.5, which was a full 21-seconds in front of the second-place runner, Zariel Macchia.
But Macchia was a story in her own right, too.
The Mastic Beach William Floyd freshman finished ninth at her NYSPHSAA Class A championships just two weeks ago. On Saturday, she followed with a simply incredible improvement, finishing the 5K at Van Cortlandt Park in a time of 17:42.7 as she chopped off 33-seconds from her former 5K best.
Mount De Sales' Juliette Whittaker, 13th at Foot Locker Nationals in 2019, was third in 17:44.7 while West Chester Henderson's (PA) Jenna Mulhern was fourth in 17:46.4 and Cornwall's (NY) Karrie Baloga was fifth in 17:53.2. Baloga was 11th at Foot Locker Nationals two years ago.
The final five female qualifiers finished within 13 seconds of one another.
Massachusetts-based Ellie Shea was sixth in 17:55.3, Rome Free Academy's (NY) Emily Toth-Ratazzi was seventh in 17:58.9, Ursuline's (NY) Daphne Banino was eighth in 18:01.5, Moon Area's (PA) Mia Cochran was ninth in 18:01.7 and Colts Neck's Lilly Shapiro was the final automatic qualifier in 10th in 18:08.6.
The girls field featured four New York athletes in the top 10.
The boys race, meanwhile, featured a race to the finish, with the Stanford University signee Sherry pulling away from Bridgewater-Raritan's Marco Langon -- recently ranked No. 5 in the MileSplit50 -- in the final stages.
Langon, taking his first loss of the season, was second in 15:09.6, while LaSalle Institute's Gitch Hayes was third in 15:18.6 and Fordham's Myles Hogan was fourth in 15:19.3. Union Catholic's (NJ) Shane Brosnan was the first New Jersey boy across the line in 15:24.9, while Manchester's (CT) Aidan Puffer, a Foot Locker Nationals qualifier in 2019, was sixth in 15:26.6.
Corning's Jack Gregorski was seventh in 15:27.7, East Lyme's (CT) Luke Anthony was eighth in 15:28.3, Framingham's Sam Burgess was ninth in 15:29.6 and Newington's (CT) Michael Bohlke was 10th in 15:36.7.
Bohlke had been on the heels of Sherry, Puffer and Anthony for much of the season, finishing fourth at the CIAC State Open Championships on Nov. 5 and fifth at New Englands.