Hackensack brings a pack mentality to the Season Opener by Paul Schwartz of The Record
The opening race of the 2017 cross-country season couldn’t have worked out better for the Hackensack boys.
The Comets easily won the Division A team race of the Season Opener at Darlington County Park in Mahwah with a terrific pack effort that should keep them competitive all season, even if they have no individual standouts.
Passaic County favorite Kevin Heredia won the race in 16:27 for the 5,000 meter course, edging Stefan Urquidi of Montclair by 20 meters, but Hackensack placed all five of its scorers in a 32 second pack that started with fifth place finisher Jeff Pena in 17:06 and ended with 20th placer Ryan Morales in 17:38.
“We’re a senior-heavy team where the kids worked well all summer and it started to pay benefits (today),’’ said Comet head coach Jim Levitzke. “We had 24 kids go to summer camp and our captains (seventh-place finisher Jeff Outen and Chris Benetiz, who finished 15th) did a great job getting the kids to run together all summer.”
“They’ve bought into the pack mentality that Coach (Kevin) Healy, (Mario) Santivanez and I have been promoting and I’m not surprised they ran this well today,’’ said Levitzke.
Pena, Outen and Chris Benitez were joined by fellow senior Jorge Dutan, in 13th place. Morales, a junior, is the only non-senior in the top five.
Other boys race winners were defending Bergen County C champion Jake Cooper of Park Ridge/Emerson, winning the B division race in 16:45. Like Hackensack, Tenafly showed a solid pack effort with a 56 second spread between fourth-place finisher Carmel Ohring in 17:29 and the Tigers No. 5, Kevin Kim in 24th place at 18:25. Tenafly held off Pascack Valley, 47-56.
The fastest boy of the day was Dwight-Englewood junior Jeremy Bronstein, who ran a 35 second personal record at Darlington, running 16:09 for a school record and winning by more than 200 meters.
The girls meet looked more like a series of championship meets rather than a mere first race of the year.
Defending Bergen champ and state medalist Northern Highlands, running with its 1-2 runners missing, still got the first two places in the Girls A race and took four of the first nine places to defeat perennial Bergen champ Ridgewood, 30-51.
Sophomore Daisy Liljegren won the race in 19:13, just a second off her personal best, and senior Paige Wilderotter was second. Quinn Carter (sixth) and Courtney Dalton (ninth) also excelled.
But it was sophomore Corinne Barney of Indian Hills who opened the most eyes with her debut 18:35 win in the Girls B meet, upsetting last year’s Bergen Meet of Champions runner-up Mackenzie Hughes of Holy Angels. Indian Hills beat Holy Angels, 29-56, although both teams were missing some of their better runners.
Barney, who medalled in the state Meet of Champions 3,200 last spring, switched from soccer this fall and joined her all-North Jersey twin, Madeline, on the cross-country course.
Alex Walter of Glen Rock won the Girls C race in 19:56, and Lyndhurst took the team title with 51 points.
Ramsey girls third at Raider Run
Maggie Scaglione was fifth and Lily Flood sixth at North Rockland’s Red Raider Run Friday to lead Ramsey to a third place finish behind New York powers North Rockland and Monroe-Woodbury. Scaglione ran the rugged three mile Bear Mountain State Park course in 20:34.57, with Flood finishing in 20:53.27. David Perry was seventh in the boys race in 17:03.42.
Pascack Hills girls run well at Wave Mania
Emily Prendergast was fourth in the Girls II race, running 21:40.2 at Wallkill Valley’s Wave Mania Saturday, helping the Cowgirls to a second-place team finish. Newcomer Isabella Cannao was ninth in 22:29.7.