ELIZABETH, NJ -- Abby Granrath finished first to lead a potent frontal attack that sparked the Union Catholic girls to the team title and Myles Plummer placed third in the boys race at Tuesday's 82nd Union County Championships at Warinanco Park.
Granrath, who finished seventh as a freshman last year, ignited a 1-2-5 finish for UC with her winning time of 19:10 over the 3.19-mile course as the Vikings averaged 19:50 on the wet layout on the way to a 51-61 victory over runner-up Summit. Defending champion Westfield was third with 74.
Right behind Granrath was her teammate, senior Leena Morant, second in 19:14. Freshman Kathryn Power picked off two runners just before the finish line to cross fifth in 19:44.
Granrath, Morant, and Power all finished ahead of Summit's No. 1 runner, which was a huge key to the victory. UC's underclassmen-powered pack (Morant was the lone senior in the top five) also featured freshmen Elsa Spoor, 21st in 20:31, and Maameyaa Nyinah, 22nd in 20:32.
Granrath is the third girl from UC to win the County title as she joined Caitlin Glynn (2014) and Jerika Lufrano (2018). The team title was the first for UC since it won back-to-back championships in 2014 and '15, and is especially satisfying for the Vikings after placing third in 2017 (two points behind first-place Westfield), and second last year (three points behind Westfield).
UC coach Mike McCabe is proud of how his runners executed their race plans, and with how fast they closed.
"Really excited to win it again,''said McCabe. "Very proud of our girls. Abby and Leena had a similar race plan, with the goal of winning the race if it played out properly. Very proud of both of them. Leena and Abby have developed together throughout the season. Having each other all year is what allowed them to race so well. Kathryn was huge. She made a big move late to to grab important team points. Freshmen Elsa and Maameyaa never gave up and raced hard to the finish, each passing three girls in the last 800 meters to secure the win."
In the boys race, Plummer, a sophomore at UC, ran his best race of the season when he ran 16:25 to place third and lead the Vikings to a third place finish. Plummer finished just seven seconds behind the winner, Max Russo of Oratory.