The men’s and women’s cross country teams blew away all competition as they swept the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championships.The men’s team collected its 12th consecutive conference title, and the women’s team tallied its 11th straight.
In the latest Division III poll, the women’s team is ranked No. 12 and the men are ranked No. 13.
Junior Kristen Pogorzelski captured the women’s title in 22:47.10 to be named NJAC Female Runner of the Year. The men’s title was awarded to senior Matt Randal, who took the win in 25:16.00 to be named the NJAC Male Runner of the Year. Also, rookie head coach Phil Jennings was named NJAC Male Coach of the Year.
Randal said, “I knew someone from the College would probably win the race, and it just so happened that it was me to cross the line first. All I cared about was that someone from the College finished first and kept the streak going of the individual champion being from the College.”
In a field of 64 runners in the women’s race, the Lions had 11 of the 12 top finishers and scored 15 points in the meet. Behind Pogorzelski, senior Jenna Fasulo followed at 22:47.80 to get second place. In third, senior Kara Horner finished in 22:57.50.
Freshman Martine McGrath secured her fourth place finish coming in at 23:05.30. Breaking into the top five was freshman Megan O’Leary in 23:05.80.
Coming in sixth place for the College was junior Allison Krayl in 23:06.60, followed by sophomore Erin Enderly in seventh at 23:31.00. In eighth place was senior Sarah Spilman with a time of 23:44.20, and in ninth place came freshman Michelle Barbarasch at 23:59.10.
“Both teams were very solid,” Jennings said. “Overall, the times were faster than last year on the same course. We just took it from the gun, took off with it, and we did exactly what we needed to do.”
In the men’s race, the Lions placed 12 runners in the top 19 of a 66-man field. The men had seven of their runners finish under 26:00 which, according to Randal, is quite an accomplishment.
Senior Jeff Zodda came in second behind Randal at 25:25.30.
Sophomore Brian Kopnicki picked up the third place finish at 25:28.30.
Coming in fifth was freshman Christopher Guerriero at 25:30.50 followed by junior Dave dos Santos in 25:32.70 to take sixth place.
Sophomore Kyle Alpaugh picked up the seventh spot coming in at 25:33.00.
At ninth place was sophomore Galen Johnson at 25:57.70 with junior Greg Howe close behind to pick up tenth place at 26:05.10.
“I feel we did extremely well (in the race),” Randal said. “We had a plan to go out a little harder in the first mile than we are accustomed to in order to get ready for a fast start at regionals and hopefully Nationals. I think we executed the plan very well and as a result we, as a team, ran very fast.”
Next on the Lions’ schedule will be the East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Championships in Connecticut Nov. 5.