CBA takes boys title; Red Bank Catholic wins girls

CBA takes boys title; Red Bank Catholic wins girls

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CBA takes boys title; Red Bank Catholic wins girls

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LAKEWOOD

The Shore Conference Championships boys cross country meet record took a beating — and then some –Thursday.

Four runners broke the record at fast, flat Ocean County Park in temperatures near 50 degrees under sunny skies. The fleetest feet belonged to the Christian Brothers Academy Colts’ Mike McClemens. The senior blazed over the 3.1-mile course in 14:43, leading the Colts to the team title.

Second was Freehold Township’s Dylan Tarpey (14:49). Third and fourth were CBA’s Blaise Ferro (14:51) and Middletown North’s Tom O’Neill (14:54). The previous record was 15:02, set in 2010 by CBA’s Mike Mazzacarro.

The Colts averaged 15:04.40 per runner, breaking the mark of 15:08 they set last year. They scored 24 points Thursday. McClemens sped in front to stay with one mile left in the race.

“I knew I was running really fast,” he said. “I realized nobody was taking the pace. O’Neill dropped off a little bit. Everyone pushed each other. It just happened that I closed really hard. I am so excited. Other courses are hilly and muddy. I was so psyched for this race. I really wanted that record.”

McClemens said Mazzacarro has played a large part in his success.

“He was such a great runner,” McClemens said. “He was great at motivating the other runners. He taught me how to train and get ready for my races.”

McClemens won despite a minor injury to his left knee Thursday of last week.

“I hurt it a little bit in a workout,” he said. “I nicked it. It hurt. I went for some easier training runs and it was fine. I am definitely back to where I was. I felt great today.”

McClemens takes pride in wearing the Colts’ uniform.

“There is no better feeling than to put on the CBA jersey,” McClemens said after the Colts won the meet for the seventh straight time en route to their 30th overall title, another record. “CBA greats of the 70s and 80s wore this jersey. We know we are expected to carry on the tradition. Teams 20 years from now will be expected to carry on the tradition.”

CBA packed seven runners into the top 11. No. 5 Tom Bogan finished in 15:10. No. 7 Tom Rooney finished in 15:13. Josh Kruppa was eighth in 15:25. Aidan Durney placed 10th in 15:39. No. 11 was Nick Trigani (15:39).

Holmdel junior Marin Warner and the Red Bank Catholic Caseys starred in the 3.1-mile girls race.

Warner won in 17:28. The Caseys ran to the team championship with 88 points, averaging 18:29.00 per runner. Red Bank Catholic won its second straight title and 10th overall.

Warner went ahead to stay late in the race.

“It was pretty close for most of the race,” she said. “I went down the last hill and I was like, ‘I have to go,’ and I finally got away from them. The hill was very close to the finish line. I stayed in the back a little bit and took the lead at the end. I felt really good, comfortable. I saved my energy for the kick at the end.”

Warner broke her time goal.

“I wanted to break 18 minutes,” she said, “and I set a personal record. It was a real fast time for me. At the beginning of the first loop, I tried to stay in the top 10. Once I hit the second loop, I knew I had to go.”

Warner entered the race not sure of speeding to success.

“I was not sure I would win,” she said. “There are some real good girls in the Shore Conference. I wanted to race on high speed and get that win. Winning is such a huge honor on such a great course.”

Warner said she enjoyed competing at Ocean County Park.

“I love this course,” she said. “I love doing 800s and one-mile runs. This is a good course to get my speed up compared to running at (hilly) Holmdel Park. Running cross country is real fun and challenging. I like running on different courses. Some are hilly. There are different challenges on every course.”

The Caseys met the challenges of Ocean County Park, placing four runners in the top 20. Eryn Mills was sixth in 18:03.36. Megan Coakley placed 15th in 18:30.78. MaryKate McNamara was 19th in 18:32.15. Megan Cronk was 20th in 18:34.60.

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