October 22, 2013 at 3:50 PM
SUMMIT, NJ - Girls and Boys Cross Country runners Gillian McIlroy and Greg Casagrande have been named Summit High School Athletes of the Week, presented by The Alternative Press of Summit, for the week ending October 20.
Each week throughout the school year, one girl and boy athlete will be honored for distinguishing herself / himself in the arena of competition, in the classroom, and for demonstrating exemplary, Hilltopper-caliber sportsmanship and leadership qualities.
McIlroy won her second consecutive Conference Championship with a time of 19:12 , which is just two seconds off her personal best. She won the race by one minute, 12 seconds.
"With expectations high, Gillian is always rising to the occasion." said Summit High School (SHS) Cross Country Coach Dave Field. McIlroy has had a strong season for the Hilltoppers, finishing second in the senior race at the Magee Invitational, fourth at the Six Flags Safari Invitational, and first at both the Shore Coaches Invitational and at the Union County Conference - Mountain Division Championship. At the Shore Coaches Invitational, she set a personal best mark of 19:54.
Senior Captain Casagrande has led Summit Varsity to their first Conference Championship since 1962, helping establish a new school-record, five-man average time of 16:56, shattering the old mark set in 2008 by nine seconds.
“Early in the season I told this team that, in order for it to achieve its goals, it was going to need serious contributions from seniors. I identified Greg as one of those we were counting on, and he has responded in fine fashion,“ said Head Coach Neal Sharma. He added, "The strength of a cross country team is its fifth runner, and Greg's performances have made us much stronger as we get into the heart of championship season.”
Casagrande recently cracked the all-time senior performance list at Holmdel with a time of 17:44, and was the Hilltoppers fifth scorer -- and ninth overall -- at the Mountain Division Conference Championships running 17:15. His time was a full minute better than his previous personal best set last year, and two minutes faster than his time from his sophomore year.