HOLMDEL, NJ — The Westfield boys cross-country team came in seventh overall in the NJSIAA Meet of Champions with a score of 191 at Holmdel Park Saturday morning. Christian Brothers Academy won the meet with a team score of 68.
Will Loggia was the top Westfield runner, placing 38th overall and earning 21 points in the team portion of the race. He ran a time of 16:38 (a 5:22 average mile). Will McGlynn was 63rd (33 points) with a time of 16:59. James McCutcheon was 72nd (41 points) with a time of 17:03. Kevin Yucetepe was 74th (42 points) with a time of 17:06, and Jonathan Givelber (98th place, 63 points) clocked in at 17:24.
"Seventh place is a tough spot to finish. We were hoping to rebound well from last week’s second place finish at Groups, but it didn’t come together the way we needed it to," Westfield boys cross-country coach Chris Tafelski said. "Places third through seventh in the race were very tight. Our score of 191 points was just three points out of sixth, six points off of 5th, and 16 points from fourth. When you’re racing against competition that’s this good, there is very little room for error. We tried a more aggressive start than last week, hoping to establish better position in the race. We did a reasonably good job at that, but we weren’t able to build off of that position the way we need to in order to avenge our loss to Kingsway last week.
"Conditions for fast racing were good," Tafelski said. "The course was much firmer than it was last week, the temperature was warmer and the wind was much calmer."
Tafelski added, "I am very proud of our team. They were very focused on accomplishing a very difficult team goal and worked tirelessly from June to today to make it happen. Even though we came up short this season, when you step back and look at the body of work it really was a tremendous season.
"In our sport, we are fortunate that we don’t have to wait until next fall to start working toward the next big thing. We have a lot to look forward to in the winter and spring. We are going to take a much-deserved break, be regular kids for a while, and get excited for track season."
The Westfield girls' team placed 14th in the girls Meet of Champions. Senior Sarah Hacker came in 26th overall, tops among Blue Devils runners, with a time of 19:28, which gave her 17 points. Caroline Collins (78) ran a time of 20:23 for Westfield.
"Sarah Hacker broke her school record again dropping it to 19:28 as our top runner," said Jennifer Buccino, Westfield's girls cross-country coach. "Elizabeth Bielen also ran a personal best time of 20:42 and was our third runner to finish. Our number two was Caroline Collins and our fourth through seventh were Grace Endy, Samantha Salz, Brianna Hatch and Grace Morgan.
"We had hoped to place higher in the team standings but just making it to the Meet of Champions as a Group 4 team is an accomplishment," Buccino said. "This is only the fourth time the team has made it in the history of the program and the first time the team qualified two years in a row. The girls have a lot to be proud of this season, and five of them will be back next year to try to make it three in a row."