The Nutley Raider Cross Country team made the long and early trek out to the always scenic Horseshoe Lake Park in Succasunna for the 2019 Roxbury Cross Country Invitational. When reached for a comment at the Pre-Meet Press Conference sponsored by the US Coast Guard, junior Sean Bernardo said, “If we are in Succasunna, why is this meet called the Roxbury Invite?” After a quick Morris County geography lesson from History Teacher/Cross Country Coach Ryan, Bernardo’s issues with the name of the meet were settled. The Raiders ran under almost perfect weather conditions for an early September cross country race. At the Pre-Meet Press Conference sponsored by the US Coast Guard, senior co-captain Brian McCormack said, “I’ll tell you what, I will take this weather all season long.” Fellow C0-Captain Nick Duca chimed in with, “I am freezing Brian, you don’t know what you are talking about.” New Team Meteorologist Shannon Granelli commented on the weather at the Pre Meet Press Conference, “Behind what is left of Dorian, will be solid upper-level flow out of the Northwest which will drive cooler air into the region to be pulled down further at the surface by the back-side of Dorian’s departing cyclonic flow. At this surface this means beautiful conditions for Saturday. We’re talking comfortable temperatures during the day, cool temperatures at night and all with low humidity. You cannot ask for better conditions for early September.”
The novice races were the first of the day. Due to what seemed like major construction in the park, the normally flat and fast 2.2 mile short course had to be converted to a shorter 1.6 mile course. At the Pre-Meet Press Conference sponsored by the US Coast Guard, all of the Raiders who were in the Novice race said in unison, “We are OK with the course being over half a mile shorter.” Leading the way for the Lady Raiders on the short course was freshman Shayla Ismael who covered the 1.6 miles in 12:16.9, fellow freshman Megan Riccardi was next in 12:30.6. Freshman Lily Kremer was 3rd for the Raiders with a time of 13:31.4 and freshman Stefania Ugliarolo was 4th for the Raiders in 13:48.3. Freshman Kendra Hergenhan finished next for the Raiders in 14:10.4, and junior Elaine Dong(16:59.4) and freshman Reilley Granelli was next for the Raiders at 17:08.5. The results of the Boys Novice Race saw junior Dante Fequiere cross the line in 10:38.5, while sophomore Ben Wuebben was right behind him at 10:46.2. Freshman Justice Rivera used a big kick over the last 100 meters to finish in 11:00.1. Junior Saumya Dwivedi crossed in 12:22.4.
In the Future 4 races, the Girls were led by by Freshman Erica Spina who dropped a huge PR of 23:11.5, cutting almost three minutes off her previous fastest time. Next for the Raiders was Junior Kaitlyn Mui at 25:38.8, who cut 1:20 off her previous best 5K. Junior Maddy Seckler cut 45 seconds off her PR clocking as 25:39.5. Senior Co-Captain Shannon Granelli ran a seasonal best time of 25:40.6. At the Post Meet Press Conference sponsored by the Turtle Back Zoo, Maddy Seckler was quoted “I think my faster time was due to the fact that we ran around a lake literally shaped like a horseshoe. At Branch Brook, the pond is boring and kind of round.” In the Boys Future 4 race, the Raiders were led by Junior Luca Vespa who got under 20 minutes for the first time this year, clocking a 19:59.3. Junior Tyler Chang just missed cracking the 20 minute barrier, coming in at 20:02.5. Sophomore Jimmy Bernardo ran a 22:12.4 which was his fastest time of the young season. Sophomore Alvin Briones rounded out the scoring for the Raiders in the race with a 24:15.1. Jimmy Bernardo was quoted at the Mid-Meet Press Conference sponsored by Hobby Lobby, ” I am excited to run today, the weather is perfect, the competition was great and the course seems to be running fast. I hope breathing will be better today than it was Thursday at Branch Brook.”
In the Fastest 4 Race, the Girls were paced by junior Tiffany Miruelo who clocked a huge PR of 21:25.4, cutting 1:51 off her previous PR. Freshman Beth Christman dropped a 23:10, which was over a minute PR for the young harrier. Senior Co-Captain Gianna Marinaro ran her fastest time of the year crossing the line in 23:51.4. Freshman Sarah Gibney cut nearly a minute off her previous fastest 5K crossing in 24:55.4. In the Boys Fastest 4 Race, junior Sean Bernardo paced the Raiders with his 17:37.9 time. Seniors co-captains Nick Duca(18:38.7) and Brian McCormack(18:39.5) ran 2nd and 3rd for the Raiders. Junior Anish Kumar came in at 19:29.4) to complete the scorers for the Raiders. Senior Gianna Marinaro was quoted at the Post Meet Press Conference sponsored by the Turtle Back Zoo, “I forgot how much I loved running here. The new course made the last mile seem a bit long, but overall this is a great course.”
In the Girls JV Race, the Raiders saw junior Morgan Defluri find her 5K groove again clocking a 24:11.1. Senior Skylar Demikoff crossed in 25:40.1, which was her fastest 5K of the year by almost three minutes. Sophomore Sophia Aivazis(26:40.8), junior Alexandra Wasko(27:31.5), junior Meghan Macaluso(27:58.9), seniors Alexa Hergenhan(29:18.7) and Kelly Waddleton(32:28.9) all ran their fastest times of the young season. At the Post-Meet Presser sponsored by the Turtle Back Zoo, Senior Kelly Waddleton stated, “”It was a beautiful day to run and a great atmosphere. Excited to see our team to continue to not only succeed as runners but together, as a team, as a family.”
Next up for the Raiders will be Week 2 of the SEC Duals at Branch Brook Park on Tuesday at 4:00 PM.