Winning divisional titles has become a habit for the Middletown South girls cross country team. The Eagles recently captured the B North Division championship besting seven teams in a meet held at Holmdel Park. South has now strung together four years of undefeated seasons in divisional competition while taking the B North title the past two years and the A North title the two years prior. Dual meet scores are calculated based on one-on-one pairings of squads in a single seven-team race.
Middletown South entered the race ranked number six statewide by NJ.com with rival Red Bank Catholic ranked just one click down at seventh. The close rankings were justified here as the Eagles edged the Caseys by the narrowest of margins in a rare tiebreaker scenario. The two squads were deadlocked at 28-28 on scoring of the first five runners of each team. South’s sixth runner, Tess Bizzoso, broke the tie coming over the finish before her Casey counterpart to clinch the victory.
Madison Brand captured the individual title with a clocking of 19:49.79 and RBC’s Maddy Kopec was second overall timed at 20:11.17. South’s Kathleen Shay came across in the dual meet competition and RBC followed with three consecutive runners – Bridget Byrne, Caitlin O’Hare and Emily Dunn. However, the Eagles countered with Shannon Addario, Michelle Coyotl and Danielle Smith coming in as a pack ahead of RBC’s fifth runner to set up the tiebreaker.
Middletown South also notched dual meet wins over Monmouth Regional (25-34), Ocean (15-49), Long Branch (15-50), Manasquan (15-50), Middletown North (15-50) and Wall (15-50). The Eagles were ranked third in the Northeast Region in the Dyestat.com preseason national rankings.
The Ocean Township boys team claimed their second consecutive B North championship at this venue. The Spartans captured seven dual meet wins here with their toughest competition coming from the Manasquan Warriors who they defeated by a 23-35 tally.
Manasquan’s Colin Flood took individual honors over the 64-man field with a 17:04.16 clocking. Flood was followed across the line by Spartans’ Dan Dombrowiecki (17:24.19) and James Hoffman (17:27.42). Squan’s Danny Kelly kept it close crossing the line in fourth place just two seconds behind Hoffmann. However, Ocean secured the win with three runners, Dylan Mannion, Tom D’Auria and Matt D’Auria, coming home before the next Warrior. Ocean picked up six more dual wins versus Middletown South (21-34), Middletown North (18-37), Long Branch (15-48), Monmouth Regional (15-48), Wall (15-49) and Red Bank Catholic (15-50).
Just four days prior, Ocean claimed the Thompson Park Senior Class Meet championship in Jamesburg with a low score of 50 points to turn back Montgomery (103), Raritan (110), Toms River East HS (130), Mater Dei Prep (132) and five other teams. Matt D’Auria paced the Spartans with a third-place finish in a field of 111 runners. Completing the scoring for Ocean were Dan Dombrowiecki (fourth), James Hoffman (sixth), Tom D’Auria (tenth) and Brendan Kipnis (27th).