One week after making a triumphant visit to Rhode Island, the Red Bank Catholic girls cross country team resumed its usual winning ways in New Jersey.
Led by seniors Eryn Mills and Megan Coakley, the Caseys totaled 100 points to win their second straight championship division title at the Shore Coaches Invitational on Saturday at Holmdel Park.
“It’s a very good win for us and it’s another step in the process,” said Mills, who ran Holmdel’s 3.1-mile course in 19:36 to finish ninth overall. “It was a pretty solid effort by all of us.”
Last week, Red Bank Catholic totaled 64 points to win the championship division at the Ocean State Invitational at Goddard Park in Warwick, R.I. Mills and Coakley finished eighth and ninth, respectively, while senior MaryKate McNamara was 16th.
At the Shore Coaches meet, RBC won even without McNamara, who was taking the SATs. Mills was followed by Coakley (15th in 20:01), junior Gracie Eckstein (17th in 20:12), sophomore Gabriel Ferrigine (24th in 20:32) and sophomore Megan Cronk (39th in 20:56).
Among scoring teams, RBC went 9-14-16-23 and 38.
“At the end of the day, I’m pleased with the results,” RBC coach Rob DeFilippis said. “They’re starting to learn to run in big spots, and that’s only going to help us down the road. MaryKate had SATs and was banged up a little bit, but with her or without her you run the race, and that’s what we did.”
Coakley, in particular, has turned in two straight solid races for the Caseys.
“Megan played soccer, came out last year as a JV kid and she’s having a great senior year,” DeFilippis said. “She had a great race last week in Rhode Island and now two weeks in a row she’s really delivered for us. But I told her she’s not going to sleep well at 20:01. If you get 19-whatever it gets you on the all-time list at RBC, so it’s a big deal to break 20 minutes in (Holmdel) Park.”
Haddonfield freshman Briana Gess was the overall winner at 18:36. Lacey senior Danielle Leavitt finished sixth in 19:19.
Red Bank sophomore Lauren Sapone logged the Shore’s fastest time, winning the Varsity C race in 19:18. The time nearly matched her 19:15 at last year’s Meet of Champions, where she finished 29th as a freshman.
“It was really great winning, I wasn’t expecting to do that well,” Sapone said. “I was just trying to get a good time, but I wasn’t expecting it to be that fast. When I crossed the finish line, I was kind of shocked to see my time.”
Middletown North senior Justin Lippert was the top Shore finisher in the boys championship race, taking seventh overall in 16:16. That followed a personal-best 16:35 in a quad meet earlier last week, Lippert’s first time breaking 17 minutes at Holmdel.
“The field was deep,” Lippert said. “Having so much competition in front of you, behind you and right next to you definitely pushes you the whole time.”
Mike Brannigan of Northport (N.Y) took first overall in 15:45. Northport also won the team title with 48 points.
Lippert’s teammate, senior Tom O’Neill, who won the Meet of Champions last year, skipped the Shore Coaches to take the SATs.
Christian Brothers Academy entered its JV team in order to save the varsity for this Saturday’s Eastern States Championship at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The Colts won the Eastern States title last year.
CBA still finished fourth overall in the Shore Coaches race with 132 points. Senior Mike Cassidy was the Colts’ top runner, finishing 13th in 16:30.
“There were seven kids that we held out, we ran the next seven and they averaged around 16:50, so that’s pretty darn good,” CBA coach Tom Heath said. “We were hoping to finish a little better, but it didn’t quite work out. We went out just a little bit too quickly. But everything’s pointing to next week.”
Toms River South senior Kyle Kroon, who ran second at last year’s Meet of Champions, was 11th in 16:28.