Ridgewood and Indian Hills girls make their name at Shore Coaches meet by Paul Schwartz of The Record
While Katelyn Touhy of North Rockland (NY) was continuing to add to her legend as the greatest girls high school distance runner in American history Saturday at the Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel, the Ridgewood girls cross-country team was starting to write it’s own story.
Touhy won the girls Varsity A race in an almost unbelievable 16:21 for the 5,000 meter course, more than a minute faster than the previous record at the place that has been New Jersey’s course of record for the last 40 years.
In the same race, the Ridgewood girls team, consisting of four freshman and a sophomore in its top five, shocked North Hunterdon, the defending New Jersey state champion and the top-ranked team in the state this year, to win the team title, 79-87.
The Ridgewood win came two races after the Indian Hills girls, the Record’s #1 North Jersey team prior to the race, made it’s own statement, placing five runners in the top 14 and winning the girls C race, 31-99 over a very good Allentown team.
Ridgewood’s fabulous freshmen certainly made their debut at Holmdel an auspicious one. With Camryn Wennersten leading the way with a fourth place finish in 18:59, fellow ninth graders Olivia Shattuck (12th, 19:47), AnneMarie Tretola (24th, 20:10) and Lily Williams (25th, 20:10) were joined by soph Sarah Policano (17th, 19:59), in running the fourth fastest team time ever by a North Jersey team at Holmdel, trailing only the 1980, 2013 and 2014 Ridgewood teams. Katie Keyes, the only senior in the Maroon top seven Saturday, came close to her Holmdel PR, running 20:36.
“They’re everything what I hoped this group could be,” said Ridgewood coach Steve Opremcak. “We checked all the boxes, following a race plan, racing for each other and finishing the last 1.1 miles hard as we hoped.”
“We have to stay healthy and acclimate ourselves to school and work, and have to handle being in the spotlight now.”
Indian Hills has been in that spotlight a little longer, as the Braves returned most of the team that was eighth in the State Meet of Champions last week. Corinne Barney was second in 19:10, freshman Allison Lounsbury third in 19:33, Madeline Barney sixth in 20:04, Scarlett Jekic ninth in 20:33 and freshman Abbey Churchhill 14th in 21:03.
Dwight-Englewood senior Jeremy Bronstein got North Jersey off to a winning start with his triumph in the boys Varsity G race, winning by 65 meters in a Holmdel best time of 16:45.
“PR’s are always nice, but I know I can run a lot faster,” said Bronstein, who was third in Non-Public B last fall. “I’ve got a lot of big meets just ahead, and I definitely want to be back at Holmdel for the State Meet of Champions. I’m just going to work hard, have fun, and do my best to qualify.”