CBA harriers break record on way to 17th MOC crown

first_imgBY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer Christian Brothers Academy’s George Kelly sprints to the finish line at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions held Nov. 19 at Holmdel Park. Kelly was second overall with a personal best 15:37 for the 5K, helping CBA extend its state record to 17 MOC crowns. The Colts also broke the team average course record. ERIC SUCAR staff The Christian Brothers Academy cross country team painted another masterpiece on Saturday.The Colts took down their Holmdel Park course record while extending their staterecord NJSIAA Meet of Champions titles to 17 on Saturday, Nov. 19.Led by George Kelly’s second-place time of 15:37, the Colts had a team average of 16:04.4, breaking the record set last year by the Colts, of 16:05.23.“They did well,” said head coach Tom Heath, the one constant in all 17 of CBA’s MOC titles. “We got the record.“We didn’t start too well, but they didn’t panic,” he added. The Colts put on their usual display of destroying the competition in the second half of the 5K race. Heath pointed out that the Colts gained more than 100 points on the field from the first mile to the finish.CBA’s team score of 45 points was well ahead of runner up Don Bosco with 111.Mike McClemens (15:59), Bill Bragg (16:06), Jack Boyle (16:14) and Conrad Lippert (16:25) were CBA’s scorers. In team scoring they were 6-9-11-18.Kelly became CBA’s second fastest runner at Holmdel Park as he and PascackValley’s Ben Malone (15:40) fought it out over the second half of the race for second place behind 2011 champion Tim Ball of Piscataway (15:31). “Iwas 25th at three-quarters, but I never settled in, I kept pushing,” said Kelly, who finished first in team scoring. “I caught up with Ben Malone and followed him all the way. We had a nice battle at the end.”In comparing this year’s CBA team to the equally great 2010 squad, Kelly said you only had to look at the Colts’ fifth runner.“What separates this team is that we are so much deeper,” he explained. “We have a stronger fifth guy.“Last year we had a first runner in Mazz [Mike Mazzaccaro], who brought the average down,” he added.Mazzaccaro, who is now running for Princeton University, also finished second in 2010, but his time was 15:20.The gap this year between the Colts’ first to fifth runners is much smaller. The Colts’ sixth and seventh runners, Aaron Libertore (16:31) and Scott Zapcic (16:38), are right there with the others. They would have been the third and fourth scorers on Don Bosco. That’s how deep and talented these Colts are.Last year at this time, Mike McClemens was a freshman watching this race. This time around, he was a main cog in the CBA machine as its No. 2 scorer and broke 16:00 for the first time.“I was so excited for this race,” he pointed out. “It feels so good [getting the course record]. I ran pretty well.”Mazzaccaro was in attendance Saturday and said he wasn’t surprised this group got the record that he spearheaded last year.“It was awesome to see guys you’ve run with the last three years get the record,” he said. “It was easy for me to see them getting the record.“I know how good they are from running with them,” he added. “They’ve been very good all year. They’re older and wiser.”Mazzaccaro said now that he is a CBA alumni he understands why so many of the former Colts come to the MOC and follow the team. It’s the tradition he and those before have established and are proud to be a part of.“For me, this [MOC championship] is very big,” he said.Of course, as the No. 1-ranked team in the country, the Colts have more on their plate.“It’s great to win this [MOC], but our goal is the nationals,” said Kelly.That goal begins this Saturday at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., with the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional. The top two teams automatically qualify for the Nike Cross Nationals the following Saturday, Dec. 3, in Portland, Ore., at Portland Meadows.The Colts won the Northeast title last year en route to a fifth place at the national championships.“We talked about the nationals all year,” said Heath. “It’s time to step up and do it.”Kelly, Bragg, Liberatore and Zapcic all ran in the NXN last year for the Colts.Holmdel’s boys finished 11th (256) in the MOC, led by Jack Baisely (16:42) and Travis Fodor (16:46), who were 28th and 35th in team scoring for the Group II state championsIt was a big day for the Shore Conference. In addition to CBA’s win, Rumson- Fair Haven’s girls won their first-ever MOC title over two-time defending champion Hillsborough, 126-142.Rachel Christ led the Bulldogs in ninth place overall (18:35).Holmdel’s Lennon Cooper (19:42) and St. John Vianney’s Courtney Thompson (19:50) both qualified individually via the wild card and finished 42nd and 56th overall.last_img read more