Cross-Country: Union Catholic Sweeps Conference Titles, Lufrano Nearly Breaks Course Record

The Union Catholic girls won the Mountain Division title at Tuesday's Union County Conference Championships at Warinanco Park in Elizabeth. Credits: Photo courtesy of Union Catholic
The Union Catholic boys won the Mountain Division title at Tuesday's Union County Conference Championships on Tuesday at Warinanco Park in Elizabeth. Credits: Photo courtesy of Union Catholic

The Union Catholic boys and girls cross-country teams, highlighted by Jerika Lufrano’s near course record run, swept the team titles at the Union County Conference Championships at Warinanco Park in Elizabeth on Tuesday.

Lufrano, a junior, threw down the greatest performance in meet history when she blitzed the 3.19-mile course with a meet record time of 18:33, No. 2 all-time in course history. Her victory ignited the Vikings to a near course record average and a 27-37 upset victory over Gov. Livingston, ranked No. 7 in the state. Lufrano ran away from 2016 Union County champion Victoria Vanriele of Gov Livingston and moved into the No. 2 spot in course history. Vanriele was second in 19:11.

Only Katie McCafferty of Oak Knoll, who ran 18:30 to win the Union County title in 2007, has ever covered Warinanco’s 3.19-mile dual meet course faster than Lufrano.

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Lufrano’s 18:33 also helped Union Catholic average 19:45, just seven seconds off the course record average of 19:38 set in 2013 by Westfield.

UC received great performances by sophomores: Leena Morant placed third in 19:38, Zamira Ysaac was fifth in 1955, Zoe Lee placed seventh in 20:14, and Ashleigh Patterson was 11th in 20:28.

UC will have a rematch with Gov. Livingston and showdown with Watchung Division and defending champion Westfield (No. 9) at the Union County Championships on Oct. 25 at Warinanco. 

Lufrano feels she has a chance to break the course record at the county meet and she feels the team race will be a great one.

“I was surprised by how fast I ran,’’ said Lufrano. “It felt great to get that close to the course record and I think I can go faster and get under 18:30 and get that record. And the team race should be a great one at the county meet. Westfield and GL are very strong teams, so we will have to have a great race to win, and I think we’ll be ready to run our best.’’

In the boys Mountain Division race, the Vikings averaged 17:06 and finished 3-4-5-11-16 on the way to a 39-50 victory over runner-up Summit. Justin Cadas led the charge for the Vikings by placing third in 16:47. Trevor Garrity was fourth in 16:52, Andre Rodriguez was fifth in 16:55. Max Berg was 11th in 17:19, and Gerard Rokosz was 16th in 16:40.  

Next up for the Union Catholic boys is a showdown with defending champion Westfield, ranked No. 7 in the state, at the County meet next Thursday.

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