BASKING RIDGE NJ - The Bernards High Boys 3200 meter relay team found itself in a familiar place after today's Somerset County Relays.  The team found itself "in the winners circle" after pulling out a thrilling victory over Ridge High School today at the Ridge High School track.

Anchor Stuart Gruters passed through the finish line one stride ahead of his Ridge counterpart, completing his 800 meter leg at 1:58.  The team's time for the 3200 meters was a blazing 8:07.12.  Ridge finished second at 8:07.66.  Distance powerhouse Hillsborough finished third at 8:11.71.

Team Captain Richard Gruters took the baton to begin the race.  He ran the first leg in 2:00 to put the team in the lead.  Quentin Kelly ran the second leg in 2:06, and Junior Connor Roehr ran the third leg in 2:01 to hold the lead.  "Quentin and Connor both ran their hearts out to keep that lead going, which they did well." said the Captain.

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When Stuart Gruters took the baton for the final 800, Ridge and Bernards were neck-and-neck.  Gruters rival gave Ridge a big lead with a half a lap left in the race, but Gruters, always a strong finisher, counter-kicked to take the lead in the final meters of the race.

"It was a great day," said Richard Gruters.  "We hit our time from nationals this winter."

But of course, distance runners are never one hundred per cent satisfied, even when they win.  "We all felt really good and we're looking to improve upon what we did today next week at Penn," concluded the Captain.

The relay team has already qualified for the Penn Relays.  The Gruters brothers and the Mountaineers relay team are no strangers to big time races.  During the winter season, the team competed in the Nike Indoor Nationals.  During the 2014-15 season, the brothers competed in the Penn Relays as members of the 3200 meter relay team along with Quintin Petty and Will Howes.  The 2014-5 team also competed in the Nike Indoor Nationals where they finished second in the Emerging Elite class.

The Penn Relays will take place next Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.