RANDOLPH, NJ- Finishing seventh at the New Jersey Cross Country State Meet of Champions is cause for celebration for most runners. It shows that you are one of the top runners in the state and guarantees that you will be a first team All-State selection.
Randolph’s Abby Loveys did celebrate with her family and teammates after her outstanding finish at the MOC, but she was less than satisfied. Coming into this meet she had the 4th fastest qualifying time of all the entrants and had won every race preceding the All-Groups race.
The plan was to race with the top runners and go for the win. Loveys ran with the top two girls through the infamous hill in the “bowl” at Holmdel Park and stayed with them through the two mile mark of the 5k course (3.1 miles). The fast early pace caught up with her, as she faded over the last mile and was passed by other competitors.
Teammates Brooke Olson and Meredith Finley, who both qualified for the Meet of Champions with outstanding times at the Group 4 meet, followed Loveys with solid finishes to give Randolph strong recognition at the event.
After the race, all three Randolph stars turned their attention to preparing for the Footlocker Regional meet at Van Cortlandt Park in New York City the following weekend.
Footlocker has sponsored the high school national championship for many years and it brings together the top Cross Country runners in the nation. Four regional races are held throughout the country and only the top ten runners from each race make it to the Footlocker National Championship, which will be held at Balboa Park in San Diego on December 9th.
The three Randolph girls traveled to Van Cortlandt Park for the Northeast Regional Meet on Saturday November 25. Earlier in the season they had run well at this iconic venue winning the team title at the Xavier Invitational and Loveys took home the individual title. Going into the Foot Locker race, Loveys was seeded 15th and was hoping for a top ten finish running against the top competition from NJ, NY, PA, Maryland and all of New England.
When the gun went off the pace was hot right from the start. The girls went through the first mile in 5:32 and Loveys ran with the lead pack. At mid-race she was still in the top ten as they crossed the bridge over the Henry Hudson Parkway. As her family and coaches nervously waited at the finish and watched for the lead runners to emerge from the woods they erupted with cheers as Abby charged out in 9th place with a solid gap on the next runner. She completed the final sprint down the straightaway along Broadway and punched her ticket to San Diego.
Olson and Finley finished their seasons as two of the top runners from Morris County and they were even more excited than Loveys was when they found out she had earned her trip to California.
It was a tremendous year for Randolph Girls Cross Country as they won conference and county championships along with several invitational titles. They spent the majority of the year in the top 10 in the state, and the expectation is that they will be prominently featured in the upcoming post-season honors. Up next for Loveys is her trip to San Diego, where she will race against top competition from around the country on Saturday December 9th.