2011 Cross Country Highlights
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- Photo Albums by Don Rich | Lex Mercado | Marleen Van den Neste
- Girls Seeded Race | Boys Seeded Race
- Interviews: Dustin Wilson | Meredith Speakman | Edward Cheserek | Aisling Cuffe | Tori Gerlach | Angel Piccirillo | Catarina Rocha | Abbey Leonardi | Dan Lennon | Tim Ball
Edward Cheserek crossing the finish in 15:02.9 (Photo by Don Rich)
By Brian Towey
King’s Park, N.Y. _ Edward Cheserek was instructed by his coach Marty Hannon to ease himself into his race at the Foot Locker Northeast Regionals at Sunken Meadow Park on Long Island Saturday. When the time came to push, the results were historic.
Cheserek ran 15:20.9, breaking John Gregorek’s course record of 15:32.3 set in 1977. After running abreast of the lead pack through a first mile in the 4:50s, the St. Benedict’s (N.J.) junior let loose.
“The first mile was kind of slow,” said Cheserek. “Once I got there, I tried to go.”
Cheserek, looking relaxed, cracked open a 10-second lead on a pack of seven runners that included Piscataway (N.J) senior Tim Ball, Dustin Wilson of Chesnut Hill (Pa.) and Connecticut state champion Connor Rog.
While practicing on the course Friday, Cheserek, who compared the lolling hills at Sunken Meadow to the training grounds in his native Kenya, sensed that the record might fall.
“I said, let me go one more loop and it comes to me- maybe I’ll get this record,” said Cheserek.
Cheserek let it all go on the descent from Cardiac Hill, running alone. As he came firing around the last turn, with less than 200 meters to go, it was clear that the record was his.
“He leaves me speechless,” said Hannon.
Cheserek recognizes the inherent pressure, and the high stakes of the Dec. 10 Foot Locker Championship in San Diego. Still, like most else in this record-breaking season, he is taking it as it comes.
“I’m just going out there, chilling out a bit, and going to run the course,” said Cheserek.
Top 10 Boys Foot Locker Northeast Finishers
1. Edward Cheserek NJ
2. Daniel Lennon NY
3. Tim Ball NJ
4. Joel Hubbard MA
5. Dustin Wilson PA
6. Matt McClintock ME
7. Jonathan Green MA
8. Blake Udland NJ
9. Connor Rog CT
10. Chris Allen MA
Angel Piccirillo crossing the finish at Foot Locker Northeast Regionals.
Photo by Don Rich
By Brian Towey
King’s Park, N.Y.- Angel Piccirillo’s sixth-place finish at the Foot Locker Northeast Regionals at Sunken Meadow Park in 2010 was enough to get her to San Diego. However, on her Foot Locker Northeast return Saturday, the Homer Center (Pa.) senior put her experience to good use.
“Last year I didn’t run a smart race,” said Piccirillo. “Now that I’ve seen the course before (I know what to do).”
Piccirillo let New Yorker Laura Leff set an early pace while she waited to move.
“After the first mile I started to reel in the leaders,” said Piccirillo. “Going into Cardiac Hill I wanted to be in the top two or three.”
Piccirillo’s mature 18:01.4 win bodes well for her chances at the Foot Locker Nationals on Dec. 10 in San Diego. The Villanova commit held off a late charge by Kennebunk (Maine) senior Abbey Leonardi (second, 18:05.7), who clinched her third straight Foot Locker Nationals appearance.
“I think we broke away around Cardiac (Hill) and we both kept exchanging leads,” said Leonardi, who finished 16th at last year’s Foot Locker Nationals.
Another returning qualifier, Catarina Rocha of Peabody, Mass., used a second-half surge to climb to third place.
“I had a lot left for the last thousand,” said Rocha. “I was in seventh. I caught up to third before Cardiac.”
Eighth-place finisher Caroline Kellner (18:35.9) of Plainsboro, N.J. will also make a return appearance at Foot Locker Nationals.
Holly Bischof of Bishop Eustace (N.J.), Leff, a sophomore from West Genesee High School in Syracuse, N.Y., and Hannah Oneda of Winter’s Mill (Md.) also earned bids to San Diego.
Alexis Panisse, a senior from Cardozo High School in New York City, became the city’s first female qualifier in seventh place (18:29.4). Panisse rolled her ankle in the first mile, but recovered to make a strong push for the finish.
“I don’t play excuses,” said Panisse. “This was my major goal, to make the top 10. I was pushing for it.”
Pennsylvanians Meredith Speakman (Boiling Springs High School) and Tori Gerlach (Pennridge) grabbed the final two spots.
NOTES: Cornell junior Katie Kellner and former Foot Locker champion Aisling Cuffe were in attendance cheering on Kellner’s sister, Caroline.
Top 10 Girls Foot Locker Northeast Finishers
1. Angel Piccirillo PA
2. Abbey Leonardi ME
3. Catarina Rocha MA
4. Holly Bischof NJ
5. Laura Leff NY
6. Hannah MD
7. Alexis Panisse NY
8. Caroline Kellner NJ
9. Meredith Speakman PA
10. Tori Gerlach PA
South Region Footlocker Girls Finalists!
South Region Footlocker Boys Finalists!
- Photo Albums by: Digital Pixel | Thomas McLeroy | BSCM
- Boys Race | Girls Race
- Interviews: Craig Nowak | Cali Roper |
Girls Qualifiers 1 1 #1981 Cali Roper (12) TX #1 17:02 5:29 2 2 #2056 Sophie Chase (11) VA #1 17:06 5:30 3 3 #779 Grace Tinkey (11) GA #1 17:08 5:31 4 4 #2249 Megan Moye (12) VA #2 17:11 5:32 5 5 #324 Olivia Ortiz (11) FL #1 17:13 5:33 6 6 #1144 Samantha George (12) NC #1 17:15 5:33 7 7 #96 Bridget Blake (11) FL #2 17:26 5:37 8 8 #1168 Alana Hadley (9) NC #2 17:27 5:37 9 9 #1966 Karis Jochen (11) TX #2 17:31 5:39 10 10 #436 Lily Williams (12) FL #3 17:32 5:39
1 1 #1974 Craig Nowak (12) TX #1 14:37 4:42 2 2 #2022 Ahmed Bile (12) VA #1 14:38 4:43 3 3 #1989 Daniel Vertiz (12) TX #2 14:40 4:43 4 4 #470 Joshua Brickell (11) GA #1 14:41 4:44 5 5 #1158 Thomas Graham (12) NC #1 14:52 4:47 6 6 #2234 Sean McGorty (11) VA #2 14:54 4:48 7 7 #910 Jacob Thomson (11) KY #1 14:55 4:48 8 8 #2221 Thomas Madden (11) VA #3 14:56 4:49 9 9 #1014 Mark Blackmon (12) NC #2 15:01 4:50 10 10 #1956 Robert Domanic (11) TX #3 15:02 4:50
1 2 Molly Seidel 12 HARTLAND WI 17:08 5:31 2 26 Julia Bos 11 ROCKFORD MI 17:14 5:33 3 1 Erin Finn 11 WEST BLOOMFIELD MI 17:34 5:40 4 233 Taylor Manett 12 ROCKFORD MI 17:35 5:40 5 78 Maria Hauger 11 SHAKOPEE MN 17:40 5:41 6 168 Sydney Scott 12 IDAHO SPRINGS CO 17:43 5:42 7 126 Nicole Mello 11 COLUMBIA MO 17:43 5:42 8 63 Alexandria Fons 10 FRANKLIN WI 17:43 5:42 9 36 Lindsey Burdette 12 HORTON MI 17:43 5:42 10 8 Kaylee Flanagan 11 ROSELLE IL 17:44 5:43
1 1 Futsum Zeinasellassie 12 INDIANAPOLIS IN 14:58 4:50 2 517 Jake Leingang 11 BISMARCK ND 15:10 4:53 3 4 Michael Clevenger 12 DECATUR IL 15:11 4:54 4 602 Malachy Schrobilgen 12 OAK PARK IL 15:13 4:54 5 2 Tony Smoragiewicz 12 RAPID CITY SD 15:15 4:55 6 70 Evan Chiplock 12 SAGINAW MI 15:18 4:56 7 258 Grant Nykaza 11 BEECHER IL 15:18 4:56 8 9 Ryan Polman 12 INDEPENDENCE OH 15:20 4:56 9 636 Addison Dehaven 10 BROOKINGS SD 15:20 4:57 10 471 Sam Berger 12 ZIONSVILLE IN 15:20 4:57
Jillian Fanning crossing the finish line in 17:47 (All photos by Kyle Brazeil)
Nick Ryan crossing the finish line in 15:59.1
Manlius Girls - 1st place team
Kinetic Girls - 2nd place team
Shaker Boys - 1st place team
Manlius Boys - 2nd place team
- Nick Ryan (Jr., Manlius) won the boys Championship race in 15:59.1. Mike Libruk finished 2nd in 16:03.8 followed by Daniel Galford.
- Jillian Fanning (Jr) led the whole way to take NXN NY in 17:47. Samantha Nadal (Sr) finished 2nd in 18:14 with Mary Cain (So) finishing 3rd in 18:19.
- Girls Team Auto Qualifiers: Fayetteville-Manlius with 41 points and Saratoga with 57 points.
- Boys Team Auto Qualifiers: Shaker with 78 points and Fayetteville-Manlius with 93 points.
- Ellie Purrier of Richford (VT) won the girls championship race with a time of 18:30.6 over 2nd place finisher Sarah Disanza (NJ) in 18:41.7. Marisa Ruskan (NJ) finished a close 3rd in 18:42.1.
- Jack Leahey (NJ) won the boys championship race in 16:08.9. Tyler Gibbons (NJ) finished in 16:11.5 for 2nd and Wesley Gallagher (MA) ran a 16:14.6 for 3rd.
Edited and photos by Kyle Brazeil
Wappingers Falls NY - Great races, great competition, and great moments for high school athletes: everything NXN promises was delivered on a tough Bowdoin Park course. The temperature evened out at a high-for-November 60 degrees, but couldn't mend the muddy conditions leftover from yesterdays brief rain. But for most of the athletes, the mud was little distraction from the overall goal. The top two teams automatically qualify to run in Portland, Oregon next Saturday at the NXN Championships, along with the top 5 individuals not already on a qualifying team. For those teams who nab the dreaded 3rd and 4th positions, their hopes for Oregon rely on an "At-Large" qualifier, decided by a team of experts Sunday afternoon; you can check back here tomorrow to see if your favorite got the bid. MileSplit NY was on scene to cover all the action; also at the course for the awards ceremony was legendary announcer Ian Brooks, as well as 2008 Olympian Andrew Wheating.
Never has the race for second been so exciting.
In both of today's NXN Northeast Regional events at Bowdoin Park, the suspense ran past first place to the race for runner-up, which represented what is most likely the final available national team spot in the region.
In the boys race, Christian Brothers Academy ran what its runners and coach called their finest meet of the season en route to dominating 38-117 win over Pembroke High School's (Ma.) Titans Track Club. The Brothers packed five into the race's top overall 18. George Kelly (5th, 16:15.5), Jack Boyle (6th, 16:19.2) and Tim Gorman (16:23.2) all notched top-ten performances in route the team's 38 team points. It was Gorman's first race in two weeks after he sat out at last week's New Jersey Meet of Champions.
That left the race for second wide open, which a gaggle of teams were jockeying for and had legitimate reasons to do so. From New Jersey, Don Bosco and Westfield had been running against CBA all year and felt confident that they could rise to the challenge.
But it was Massachusetts' seasoned Pembroke team, which was returning to the regional after it qualified for the national meet a year ago, that punched its tickets. Coach Greg Zopatti told me before the race that last year's team was the school's best ever since it opened eight years ago. This year, he wasn't sure what would happen. Either way, he said, they were ready for a fight.
"It's going to be a real rock fight for that second place spot," Zopatti said.
Pembroke (Titans XC) got big help from its top runners, Wes Gallagher, who was the meet's top returning runner and who finished second on Saturday in 16:14, and Christian Stafford, who finished 12th overall (9th in team) in 16:28. It was their top finishers that helped make up for a weaker-than-usual finish from its fifth man to secure their second straight trip to Portland. The Titans beat Westfield High School's Blue Devils Track Club of New Jersey by seven points.
Titans' Jack Leahy won the race overall, with a time 16:08.
1. 38 Brothers XC Club-NJ (16:24.6 82:02.6 0:21.9) ** Christian Brothers NJ 2. 117 Titans TC-MA (16:47.3 83:56.3 1:18.6) ** Pembroke MA 3. 124 Blue Devil TC-NJ (16:50.2 84:10.8 1:02.1) ** Westfield NJ
1. Jack Leahy SR Blue Devil TC-NJ1 2. Tyler Gibbons SR Ridge Runners-NJ 3. Mike Marsella SR Chargers XC-RI 4. Benjamin Malone JR UNA-NJ-River Vale
5. Christian Costello SR Bergen XC Club-NJ
The girls race brought even more excitement, and once again the tension was reserved for second place. Just six points separated the second through fifth place teams, and one point from the all important 2nd to 3rd. Champlain Valley eeked by Massachusetts' Weston High School 197-198 to notch what will likely be the final girls national qualifier spot in the Northeast region. Rounding out the top five were last years Northeast champion Hillsborough XC Club and Pennsylvania's North Hills XC Club, both with 203 points.
The race's winner, Hamilton-Wenham (H-W XC), won with four underclassman, including a freshman in its No. 1 spot (Emily Weigand, 15th) and a sophomore in its No. 2 spot (Emily Horgan, 17th). Coach Steve Sawyer said his team's top runner, senior Kerry Phelan, who finished 39th, had an off day, but it was the team's careful execution of its pre-race strategy – "careful and cautious" for the first half of the race and "rock and roll" for the second half – that helped keep the team focused.
"We had our best race of the year," Sawyer said.
In the race for second, Champlain Valley also had a disappointing finish for some of its top five scorers. But coach Scott Bliss said he got key performances from his sixth and seventh runners.
"We ran well enough to get in, but it wasn't one of our best performances," Bliss said.
Race favorite Elle Purrier, of Richmond, Vermont, left no doubt that she was the top runner in the field, leading from the gun to win in 18:31. A trio for New Jersey runners – Sarah Disanza, Marisa Ruskan and Dana Giordano – finished in a pack about 11 seconds back.
1. 142 H-W XC Club-MA (20:05.8 100:28.8 0:32.3) ** Hamilton-Wenham MA 2. 197 Champlain Valley XC-VT (20:14.7 101:13.1 2:15.1) ** Champlain Valley VT 3. 198 Wild Kitten AC-MA (20:22.4 101:52.0 1:29.4) ** Weston MA
1. Elle Purrier JR Richford RC-VT 2. Sarah Disanza JR High Point Wildcats-NJ 3. Marisa Ruskan JR Bridgewater-Raritan TC-NJ 4. Dana Giordano SR Bernards TC-NJ 5. Ann Herman SR UNA-PA-Yardley
- Boys winner - Elliot Clemente from Belen Jesuit won the boys, 14:58, second all-time on the course.
Top girls teams (top 2 auto advance)
1. Tatnall 2. Assumption 3. Midlothian 4. Green Hope
Individual Girls Advancers
Julie Macedo (DE) 17:01 girls winner
Carolyn Bethel (VA)
Kara Dickerson (VA)
Erica Amatori (NC)
Sydney Foreman (NC)
Top boys teams (top 2 auto advance)
1. Belen Jesuit Prep (FL)
2. Brentwood (TN)
3. Brookwood (GA)
4. Albemarle (VA)
Individual Boys Advancers
Adam Visokay (VA)
Sam Roberson (NC)
Mike Crozier (DC)
Matthew Scwartzer (VA)
Sam Parsons (DE)
Glen Head XC Club
Redondo Beach XC Club
Simi Valley XC Club
Chesterfield XC Club
Palatine XC Club
Santa Clarita XC Club
Rancho Cucamonga XC Club
Westfield XC Club
BOYS CA QUALIFIERS
Trabuco XC Club
Arcadia XC Club
Santa Clarita XC Club
Rancho Cucamonga XC Club
GIRLS CA QUALIFIERS
Newhall XC Club
La Costa XC Club
Redondo Beach XC Club
Simi Valley XC Club
- Sarah Baxter (So, Simi Valley) Division 2, had the fastest time of the day for the girls in 17:08 for 5K. Carrie Verdon (Sr., Campolindo) Division 3 had the 2nd fastest time of the day in 17:19 followed by Karlie Garcia (Jr., Oakmont) Division 2 in 17:20.
- Darren Fahy (Sr., La Costa Canyon) Division 2 led the boys for the fastest time of the day in 15:03 for 5K. Sergio Gonzalez (Sr., Arcadia) Division 1 finished with the 2nd fastest time of the day in 15:05 and Dylan Blankenbaker (Sr., Ramona) Division 2 had the 3rd fastest time in 15:10.
- Division 1 Boys: Sergio Gonzalez (Sr., Arcadia) won the state title with a time of 15:05 followed by Luis Gutierez (Sr., Rancho Cucamonga) in 15:12 and Bryan Guijarro (Sr., Knight) in 15:14. Trabuco Hills won the team title with 71 points followed by Arcadia with 87 points.
- Division 1 Girls: Buchanan junior, Hagen Reedy, ran a time of 17:27 to win the division 1 race. Laura Hollander (Sr., Marina) was a close 2nd in 17:32 followed by Sarah Robinson (So., Gunn) in 17:56. The San Clemente girls won the team title with 87 points. Vista Murrietta was 2nd with 105 points.
- Division 2 Boys: Darren Fahy (Sr., La Costa Canyon) continued his undefeated winning streak with another top finish, winning the division 2 race with the fastest time of the day in 15:03. Dylan Blankenbaker (Sr., Ramona) finished 2nd in 15:10 and Aubrey Myjer (Sr., Mountain View) took 3rd in 15:15. Golden Valley (SS) won the boys title with 86 points followed by Loyola with 111 points.
- Division 2 Girls: Sarah Baxter (So., Simi Valley) won her 2nd straight cross country title with the fastest time of the day in 17:08. Mariel Mendoza (Sr., J.W. North) was 2nd in 17:39 and Karis Frankian (Sr., Saugus) finished 3rd in 17:42. Saugus won the girls title with 67 points followed by La Costa Canyon with 88 points. US#9 Simi Valley slipped to 4th place after their number 4 runner was DQ'd.
- Division 3 Boys: Danny Martinez (Sr., St. John Bosco) won the boys division 3 race with the 4th fastest time of the day in 15:11. Jonah Diaz (Sr., Palos Verde) finished in 15:16 and Thomas Joyce (Sr., Campolindo) came in 3rd in 15:20. Palos Verdes won the boys title with 100 points followed by St. John Bosco with 112 points.
- Division 3 Girls: Carrie Verdon (Sr., Campolindo) ran a 17:19 to win the division 3 girls race with the 2nd fastest time of the day. Karlie Garcia (Jr., Oakmont) finished a very close nail biter 2nd in 17:20 and Madeleine Ankhelyi (Jr., Vista Del Lago) took 3rd in 17:34. Palos Verdes won the girls title with 103 points followed by Vista Del Lago with 143 points.
- Division 4 Boys: John Lawson (Jr., Sir Francis Drake) won the boys division 4 race with a time of 15:20. Kyle Bueckert (Jr., Maranatha) finished 2nd in 15:40 and Daniel De La Torre (Jr., La Salle) was a close 3rd in 15:42. Yreka claimed the boys title with 131 points. Salesian took 2nd with 170 points.
- Divison 4 Girls: Vanessa Fraser (Jr., Scotts Valley) won the girls race in 17:46. Teammates Cami Chapus and Amy Weissenbach (both seniors) battle for 2nd place, both finishing with a time of 17:57. The 2nd place was given to Chapus. JSerra won the girls title with 102 points. S.L.V. finished 2nd with 116 points.
- Division 5 Boys: Billy Gaudreau (SR., St. Margarets) finished 1st with a time of 15:28 over Connor Clark (Jr., S.F. University) with 15:44. Finished 3rd was Nick Ratto (Sr., St. Joseph Notre Dame) in 15:45. St. Margarets won the boys team title with 52 points. Desert Christian finished 2nd with 98 points.
- Divison 5 Girls: Julie Maxwell (So., Branson) won the girls race in 17:52 followed by Bridget Blum (Sr., S.F. University) in 18:22 and Kat Gregory (Sr., Priory) in 18:27. San Francisco University won the boys girls title with 74 points followed by Xavier Prep with 107 points.