CBA's Ascent Continues At Manhattan With Thorough Display

* CBA's Joe Barrett shows distance between second-place Peyton Shute with about 1K to go at the Manhattan College XC Invitational 

Photo Credit: Derick Dingle/MileSplit

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BRONX, N.Y. -- "We'll keep it on the low," is how Jack Falkowski put it on Saturday when asked about any goals remaining for the Christian Brothers Academy boys this season. 

In theory, that's easy enough.

But with each passing race, it's becoming harder and harder to envision the Colts as anything but one of the best teams in the country. 

The New Jersey power, ranked No. 5 on the MileSplit50 before the weekend, once again showed its dominance on Saturday in the Eastern States Championship race at the Manhattan College XC Invitational, winning the elite competition with 51 points across a 42-second spread and a 12:44 average. 

La Salle College, which finished second, scored 128. St. Johnsbury Academy (VT) was third with 184. 

Junior Joe Barrett, himself a top 25 runner earning his third straight victory, pulled away on the last hill before the final 1K, clocking a time of 12:13.60.

The team's first five runners were all under 13 minutes on the course, including Alex Kemp (12th, 12:45.70), Connor Clifford (14th, 12:50.60), Alex Mastroly (17th, 12:54.80) and Wyatt Falkowski (19th, 12:56.40). 

Just how good was CBA?

Consider this: La Salle College, which finished second in the team standings, had its second runner into the finish after CBA's fifth runner. 

That kind of top-line depth is good news for any team, especially for one with aspirations at the state, regional and national level. 

"It sets up great for NXN and NXR, because this is a huge race, so many teams," Barrett said. "We have county meets and state meets, but none of those really compare to the size of this meet and it really sets us up with great competition, whether it be team or individuals."

And then there's Barrett. We seem to be witnessing his come-up in real time. He clocked the 10th-best performance on the course with his time of 12:13, passing Devan Kipyego's mark of 12:14.40 last year. 

But this year feels different, too. Barrett, now an upperclassmen, looks confident and is running with momentum on his shoulder, followed by a group of athletes ready to carry -- and close -- the gap. 

With the NJSIAA Group Championships and Meet of Champions up next, the crucial next stage will be NXR Northeast, where CBA will have to execute and qualify for Nike Cross Nationals. From there, the rest is up to the Colts. 

Now, CBA wasn't the only story on Saturday. 

The next best moment was Peyton Shute of Co-Op Gateway (NJ).  

The New Jersey senior, a relative unknown entering the race -- who was caked with dirt after a wipeout after his finish -- came out of the woods in second place, right behind Barrett, and he finished six seconds ahead of third-place Steven Hergenrother, clocking a time of 12:18.1. 

"It means everything to have such a great finish for myself at the Manhattan Invitational," he said. 


"It definitely felt good to be the underdog today," he added. "It took a lot of pressure off me to go out there and race and try to beat people who I know are a little faster than me." 

The performance wasn't lost on Shute, who saw the finish as a sign that he's ready to challenge the big dogs at the state and regional level. He said he's hoping to win the New Jersey Meet of Champions and qualify for Foot Locker Nationals. 

From there, it was also an impressive outing from Millikan's Jason Parra, who flew in from California and finished fifth overall in 12:28.5. 

It's been an up-and-down season for Parra, who was 50th at Woodbridge and 15th at Clovis, but that was not for a lack of trying: Parra was in the mix early on in both races before falling off late.

On Saturday, after his fifth-place finish in New York -- on a rain-soaked and muddy course -- he said he thinks he's starting to get things figured out and has his sights on going after a California state title. He finished sixth in Division I last year. 

Ridgefield's Steven Hergenrother, a pre-race favorite coming off an effort of 14:52 for 5K, finished third overall and said he felt confident going into the last weeks of his season, knowing much is still to be decided. 

1Christian Brothers Academy511+9+11+14+16 (28+31)0:42 1-5 Split | 12:44 Avg
2La Salle College1282+26+27+33+40 (46+79)0:51 1-5 Split | 13:01 Avg
3St. Johnsbury Academy1847+15+18+60+84 (89+98)1:06 1-5 Split | 13:13 Avg
4Saint Anthony's21117+19+24+75+76 (85+114)0:48 1-5 Split | 13:17 Avg
5Boston College High School2164+12+20+63+117 (128+152)1:44 1-5 Split | 13:15 Avg