Photos by Kyle Brazeil
Jackson N.J. - This weekend was the 2nd annual Six Flags Wild Safari Invitational in Jackson N.J. Teams came from all of New York to participate in the unique meet, which finds runners running through the world's largest safari zone. With 40 schools from New York contributing to the field with runners from five states, NY found itself well represented. MileSplit NY was on location covering the meet that found New York taking five team varsity titles and two individual first places.
While the course suffered heavy rainfall the day before, runners were still treated to 1.2 miles of safari running, highlighted by a brief pass by a buffalo enclosure. Many runners found the woodland trails to be damp, as an inordinate amount of athletes finished with one shoe or less than they began with. Still, despite the minor setbacks, this unique meet was a fast flat course that led to some impressive performances.
Girls - Taken out by a quick pace from Julie Macedo of the Charter School of Wilmington (De) rips 16:53, who would later go on to break the meet record by well over a minute, Shenendehowa found their way into the race. Placing 2nd overall, we spoke to coach Rob Cloutier of Shenendehowa on how he felt his race went, despite missing his top runner to a college visit.
"We're missing Lizzie (Predmore) today, she is up on a college visit at BC for the weekend," Cloutier said. "We still ran very well. We are used to our flat 2.5 mile course at our own school, so todays flat course was really an asset. We have a lot of converted girl soccer players, and today was a good way for them to learn how to run competitively. It's still only early September, but I'm proud of how they raced today."
Boys - It was St. John the Baptist's superior pack running that put them over the top, as they triumphed over South Brunswick (N.J.) by a healthy margin. Ryan Depinto of Syosset also had a great showing with a time of 16:10.
Girls - A close race between Pearl River and Suffern ended in Pearl River's favor. Ursula Svoboda of Suffern, who was named one of the All Six Flags Great Adventure Team in 2010, fell short to Molly Shine of Pearl River this year.
Boys - New York's top finisher was Dan Reilly of Wantagh, who came through in 3rd at 16:03. Wantagh would take place fourth overall in Varsity B.
Girls - New York's top runner was Somers' sophomore Bene Abbate, who finished 14th in 19:55. Somers took 5th overall in Varsity C.
Sarah Corning runs with Bene Abbate from Somers (right)
Boys - Somers showed well for New York as it placed first overall in Varsity C. With a team average of 16:51, the performance was highlighted by a sixth-place finish by junior Justin Zorn in 16:22. This was Somers' first time attending the meet, and the exciting course was a major attraction. We spoke with senior captain Scott Friedman about his feelings towards the course:
"This course was great," Friedman said. " Seeing Kingda Ka in the backdrop was amazing, then to top it all off, we won. We're excited that we've won both of our Invitationals, but we are all aware that winning in September doesn't guarantee a win in November."
Somers' second man, Dave Sammel
Girls - Highlighted with an impressive first place finish in 18:13 by Megan Young, Nanuet took the top team title as well for Varsity D. Leading the whole way, it was the constant sound of footsteps that pushed Young, as Brianna Feerst of Point Pleasant, N.J. was close behind her the entire race. We spoke with Young after the race to get her opinions on an excellent performance..
"I felt really slow out there," Young stated. "I usually like the challenge of the rain and the mud, but today was a little overkill. I am really happy with my performance in the race, it was a nice season's best. I'm looking forward to continuing to improve."
Boys - New York saw another first place finish on the boys side with Brendan Wortner of Dobbs Ferry, that also happened to be the fastest boys' time of the day. Wortner crossed the line in a quick 15:44. Ryan Phillips of Regis also impressed as he came in 3rd, clocking a 15:54.
We apologize for any confusion. Collegiate, hailing from NYC won the team title for Varsity D, showing an excellent performance from front runner Will McDuffie, placing second in 15:49.