WARREN, NJ - The WHRHS boys’ and girls’ Varsity cross-country teams had a very solid showing at the NJ Group 4 North 2 Sectional Championships at Oak Ridge Park in Clark on Nov. 15. Many of the Warrior runners had personal bests, all the more remarkable coming during a season shortened by the pandemic.

Senior Emma Baeyens captured third place in the girls race, with a time of 19:09. She bested her previous fastest time by 37 seconds, and scored the third fastest time on the day out of all of the North Group 2 teams.

Along with Baeyens, the other runners on the girls team, Bronwyn Rafieyan, Nora Mehler, Samantha Glass and Cate Reilly, combined to place fourth as a team, with an average time of 21:59. Due to the pandemic, the Group 4 State Championships were canceled, but the Lady Warriors would have qualified for the event.

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And Baeyens was invited individually to compete in the Holmdel Invitational which took place on Nov. 25. Only 15 individuals in the state were selected, in addition to the top 10 teams in the state.

The boys team came in 6th place, with a team average of 17:57. First year runner, sophomore Zai Yang led the way, with a time of 17:35, besting his previous fastest time by over one minute. Junior Luke Anderson and senior Cian Reilly also saw personal bests.

Coaches Luke LaChac, Mike Porter and Nancy Marsillo were extremely pleased at these results and the overall improvement of the team throughout the season.  As has been the case with all high school sports this fall, there were many challenges to overcome and the team really stepped up and gave it their all. On any given day, no one knew whether there would be a “next day” or not, but the athletes determination and grit never wavered. The coaches and athletes are very grateful that the teams were able to practice most every day and compete in several races.

Complete race results were as follows:


Girls Varsity:Emma Baeyens (19:09, third), Bronwyn Rafieyan (22:24, 34th), Nora Mehler (22:38, 36th), Samantha Glass (22:51, 40th), Catherine Reily (22:52, 41st), Charlotte Aschoff (23:06, 45th), Rachel Williams (23:36, 49th).

Boys Varsity: Zai Yang (17:38, 25th), Michael Minieri (17:39, 27th), Luke Andersen (17:55, 30th), Ethan Steier (18:08, 36th), Cian Reily (18:23, 47th), Bryan Zhang (18:28, 48th), Andrew Cuonzo (18:40, 56th).