MORRIS HILLS, NJ - On Saturday, the Bernards High Cross-Country team returned to a course where they have seen success in recent years. The Mounties visited the Greystone Park in Morris Plains on a pleasant autumn day to compete with teams from all parts of Central and North Jersey in the Stewart Memorial Invitational.
In 2014, Greystone was good to Bernards. The Boys and the Girls Teams swept to championships in the North II, Group 2 sectional championship last October. Neither team scored a championship at the Stewart, but the renown BHS star power was on display.
Last year’s captain, Sydney Rudin made a surprise visit to cheer the team on. Rudin (BHS 2015) is now a member of the University of Delaware track and field team.
Junior standout Paige Petty led the Mountaineer women to a third place finish in the crowded field of seventeen teams. Petty emerged from the field of 115 runners near the front of the pack. She took over first place in the first mile, and stretched her lead to 25 seconds over her nearest competitor.
The BHS faithful are accustomed to seeing Petty at the front of the pack, but she was not the only star in the BHS firmament today. Junior Ava Cummings finished sixth with a time of 21:06.04.
The varsity performances were as follows:
Paige Petty 19:12.76
Ava Cummings 21:06.04
Heather Wright 22:40.91
Kiera Cullen 22:45.62
Sabrina Sooy 24.00.07
Deirdre Kelshaw 24:01.42
Zasha Wojtech 24:52.19
Last year’s sectional team champs lost three varsity runners - Will Howes, Chad Pisano and Evan Underhill – to graduation. The remaining varsity runners have fought through injury and illness. Varsity runners Quentin Kelly and Connor Roehr have been sidelined with injuries, and team captain Richard Gruters has been under the weather. Despite the injuries the Boys entered the day undefeated in conference meets.
The Gruters brothers finished at the front of the one hundred three-runner field. Sophomore Stuart Gruters finished second overall at 17:00.68. His older brother, Richard finished thirteenth with a time of 17:39.11. Anchored by the Gruters brothers and a personal record by Sophomore Alex Kotwick, the Mounties finished fifth out of fifteen teams.
The varsity times were as follows:
Stuart Gruters 17:00.68
Richard Gruters 17:39.11
Alex Kotwick 18:06.47
Dane Oberschmidt 18:54.55
Leo Kirkpatrick-Baird 19:09.72
Thomas Perone 19:10.30
Rutger Velloso 19:56.64