CBA harriers back on top after winning Group title

first_img Tom Heath is not easily impressed. So, when he praised his Christian Brothers Academy’s cross country performance at the NJSIAA Group Championships, you can believe it was special. The Colts were extraordinary as they regained the Non-Public A state championship, and reaffirmed that they are the best team in the state and the favorites to win the Meet of Champions on Saturday at Holmdel Park. The Colts had gone four years without winning a State Group championship, the longest drought in their storied history. They put those failures and frustrations behind them on Nov. 13 when they put on a show beating three-time defending champion Don Bosco, 35-80. Mike Mazzaccaro won the individual Non- Public A championship, posting a 15:41 to get the Colts championship parade off to a great start. He will be a contender for the individual title, along with West Windsor-Plainsboro North’s Jim Rosa and Westfield’s Jeremy Elkaim (who won their respect Group championships). George Kelly was third (16:16), Dan Mykityshyn, seventh (16:23) and Conrad Lippert, 10th (16:29). Completing the scoring for the Colts was William Bragg in 14th (16:37). As if placing their first five runners in the top 14 wasn’t impressive enough, Jack Boyle (16:47) and Aaron Libertore (17:03), CBA’s sixth and seventh runners finished 15th and 20th. As a team, the Colts top five averaged 16:17.20, among the fastest team averages in Holmdel Park history. “It was an extremely good day,” said Heath, who has led the Colts to 22 Group championships. The Colts cross country season began to take shape last spring when George Kelly had a great outdoor season. That gave the Colts three strong runners for the fall at the front in Mazzaccaro and Mykityshyn, who were already proven, and now Kelly. “That made us a very, very elite team,” said Heath. “That’s an awfully tough top three. For CBA to become a state championship team, however, Lippert, Bragg and Boyle had to become more than potential. “They had to learn how to race,” said Health. The trio has improved steadily during the season and is now in peak form, making this a very deep team. Saturday, the Colts will look to extend the MOC record for wins, which stands at 15 to 16. The top three teams from the Group championships plus the top 10 individuals automatically qualified for the MOC. There were two wild card teams, those with the fastest average times among the nonqualifiers and 10 wild cards for the fastest nonqualifying individuals. Mater Dei’s Daniel Polanco ran his way to the MOC by finishing eighth in the Non-Public B race (17:32). The Seraph boys were fourth (134). Holmdel’s Shannon Nelson slipped in as a wild card with her 20:07 in the Group II race. She was 14th, but her time was fast enough to earn an invite to the MOC. The Hornets, the CJ II champions, were fifth (144). BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer last_img