39th Annual Manhattan Invitational Boys Eastern States Championship Race Preview

All this week, MileSplit NY will be running previews for one of the biggest meets in Manhattan, outside the marathon.  All opinions presented below are those of Perry King, creator of http://section1-nys-running.com .  Stay tuned for more pre-meet coverage as well as extensive on-site coverage of The Manhattan College Invitational on Sunday, October 9th.


Sunday, October 9, 2011.  Van Cortlandt Park -- the Bronx



The 4th running of the Boys Eastern States at the Manhattan Invitational includes 16 team evenly split between NY and NJ plus 7 more from DE, PA, RI, MA, NH, and FL. The guys' side of the action may be even more exciting than the girls' simply because the battle for the ES championship is far more open even though the team cited in one ranking service as the #1 team in the nation will be running in both of the Eastern States races. 2010 ES runner-up Christian Brothers Academy- NJ is favored to defend its high ranking, but there are a number of teams that should provide a good challenge. The race also has the top runner in the nation, which always spices up the action.

The lineup for the 2011 Eastern States race includes the following:

·         Four US ranked teams among top 25, as listed by XCNation, and 7 among the top 50 of  Marc Bloom’s rankings. They run in order from #2 Christian Brothers Academy- NJ to #4 Fayetteville-Manlius to #15 Shaker to #24 Rush Henrietta.

·         Five of the top 6 teams from New York.

·         Four teams that are ranked #1 on a state rankings list (DE, NJ, NY, RI).

·         12 runners that have a 180+ TR rating.

·         One #1 guy from St. Benedict's (NJ) named Edward Cheserek who is running at a level that is leaving the other runners in his races almost 2 minutes behind him. If he and #2  Futsum Zeinasellasie of Indiana meet up in the future, the speed of light will be tested.

·         An easy prediction: if a guy from Florida wins the race, there will be a big Celebration. (See below, final school in team snapshot table)

Lots to enjoy and be in awe of at VCP this Saturday. Race kicks off at 2:45.

Recent History Snippets – the Evolution of Speed

The Manhattan College Invitational meet started in 1973 after decades of predecessor races that drew teams to the renowned Van Cortlandt Park course. A few famous runners such as Alberto Salazar and Luis Ostolozaga took a crack at running the fastest time at the meet in the 1970s. In 1985, Monroe Woodbury’s John Trautman topped Salazar’s 1975 record of 12:22.5 by almost 4 seconds when he ran a 12:18.7. This mark would stand for an eternity until 2006 when NJ’s premier runner Craig Forys ran down one of NY’s top guys, Steve Murdock, in the final stretch of the D race to shatter the record by 8 seconds with a 12:10.7. Fory’s mark lasted for another eternity of about 15 minutes until it was demolished by 0.1 seconds by NY-runner Tom Gruenewald in the E race. In 2008 the E race winner Solomon Haile of MD lowered the record by another 4 seconds to 12:06.61. In 2009 Joe Rosa of NJ’s West Windsor – Plainsboro North lowered the record another 3 seconds to 12:03.77 in the F race.

A championship Eastern States race for the boys was first introduced in 2008 and was won by Don Bosco Prep of NJ, with sophomore Joe Rosa of WW-PN winning the race in 12:19.99.Joe's twin brother Jim won the Eastern States race last year (Joe was injured), but times in general were about 20 seconds slower than the previous year, and many believe that the changes in the course necessitated by the major VCP renovation lengthened the distance considerably.  Last year’s results were:


Top 5 teams: 1. Shaker (NY) 102, 2. Christian Brothers (NJ) 144, 3. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY) 168, 4. Warwick Valley (NJ) 183, 5. Great Oak (CA) 187, 6. Rush-Henrietta 187

Top 10 Runners:  1. Jim Rosa, West Windsor - Plainsboro North (NJ) 12:28.70;  2. Edward Cheserek, St. Benedict's (NJ) 12:34.41; 3. Mike Mazzaccaro, Christian Brothers (NJ) 12:49.20; 4. Matthew McDonald, North Hunterdon (NJ); 5. Ryan Meehan, Bishop Hendricken (RI); 6. Zachary Fraelli, La Salle (RI); 7. Mark McGurrin, Fayetteville-Manlius (NY); 8. Dan Mykitsyn, Christian Brothers (NJ); 9. Andrew Roache, Fayetteville-Manlius (NY); 10. Matt Jablonski, Loyola Blakefield, (MD).


Top 5 teams: 1. Christian Brothers (NJ) 116, 2. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY) 125, 3. Haddonfield (NJ) 137, 4. Germantown Friends (PA), 5. Liverpool (NY)



Team Previews

23 teams are slated to run in the 2011 Eastern States, 8 from both NY and NJ and 7 from other states. NY runners are all previewed through Bill Meylan's Tully Runners ratings, but information on teams from other states is not always easy to find and compare. Numbers in parentheses following runners are TR ratings, either the standard composite for NY runners or a meet score from an available race for other regional runners.

There are four nationally ranked teams in the race as listed by XCNation, so the action should be at a very high level.

Before running through the teams, we have to look at the dozen guys expected to be at the head of the race. Edward Cheserek of St. Benedict's was the lone underclassman among 12 seniors in the top 13 at last year's Eastern States. He and race-winner Jim Rosa battled down the final stretch about 20 seconds ahead of a pack of the next 12 guys. This year Cheserek has been bouncing around up in 200+ TR stratosphere as the US #1 runner, and we'll go with 208 for his number. His nearest pursuers appear to be Piscataway NJ's Tom Ball at around 193 and US #17 Dustin Wilson of Chestnut Hill PA at 187 and CBA-NJ's Tim Gorman at 186 TR.  There are about 12 guys with TRs of 180+, and almost all will be kicking down toward the Tortoise and Hare together. And lest anyone thinks that little movement occurs in the last 600m after rounding the last turn, check how much territory Bishop Hendricken's Ryan Meehan and La Salle's Zachary Fraielli made up there last year to grab the 5th and 6th places. One final note, the next three underclassmen after Cheserek from the 2010 race were Shaker's Mike Libruk and Jon Vallecorsa and CBA-NJ's George Kelly, all of whom are featured in the list below.


12 Seriously Fast Guys:

Edward Cheserek - St. Benedict's (NJ)


Tim Ball - Piscataway (NJ)


Dustin Wilson - Chestnut Hill (PA)


Tim Gorman - Christian Bros. (NJ)


Nick Ryan - Fayetteville-Manlius (NY)


George Kelly - Christian Bros. (NJ)


Mike Libruk -  Shaker (NY)


Quincy O'Connor - Celebration (FL)


Mike McClemens - Christian Bros. (NJ)


Jon Vallecorsa - Shaker (NY)


Nate Kozyra - Rush-Henrietta (NY)

Christian Costello - Don Bosco (NJ)



In a 5K, a point is equal to about 3 seconds, and even at the 2.5M distance for the Manhattan races, Cheserek's 15-point margin over the next best runner would equate to close to 40 seconds. Astounding. 


Teams snapshot by key data:



Man Hat Place

National and State Rank

NYS Class Rank

2011 Trophies

2010 NXN Place

TR – Top 5

TR Avg

Christian Brothers Acad (NJ)

2nd - ES

#2 US, #1 NJ


 1st  at Bowdoin, 5th in NXN (2010)




3rd - ES

#4 US

 #1 - A

1st in V-V-S-1,  2nd in NXN (2010)




1rst - ES

#15 US

#3 - A

1st  in McQuaid AAA and 2nd in Queensbury-1 and V-V-S-6, 13th in NXN (2010)



Don Bosco (NJ)

16th - ES

 #3 NJ


2nd at Bowdoin



Bishop Hendricken (RI)

10th- ES

#1 RI


4th in Great American Race of Champions



Rush Henrietta

6th - C

 #24 US

#5 - A

2nd in McQuaid-AAA, 1st  in V-V-S – 7



St. Anthony's

1st - D


 #4 - A

1st in St. Anthony's A-2



West Windsor - Plainsboro South (NJ)

11th - ES

 #2 NJ


2nd in Shore Coaches merge



Piscataway (NJ)


 #48 NJ-Milesplt


25th in Shore Coaches merge



Tatnall (DE)

8th - ES

#2 DE


2nd in Marymount, 8th in Great American RoC

178-173-170 157-152


Monsignor Farrell

2nd - A


  #6 - A

1st in Mayor's Cup



Salesianum (DE)


 #1 DE


1st in Salesianum Champ and Marymount, 2nd in Briarwood Champ



Ridgewood (NJ)

19th - ES

 #5 NJ


4th in Shore Coaches merge, 5th at Bowdoin






 #18 - A

5th at Canterbury



Hopkins School (CT)




 Tops at Bruce MacDonald



St. Benedict's (NJ)


#131 NJ Milesplit


9th in Passaic -3




18th - F



 7th in V-V-S-5



Chestnut Hill (PA)




11th in Briarwood Champ





 #245 NY Milesplit


14th at Bowdoin



Pascack Valley (NJ)

13th - F



15th in Six Flags -B



Monsignor Donovan (NJ)




 8th in Passaic Coaches-2



Celebration (FL)




45th in UF Mt, Dew





Teams previewed by race position order.


Shaker (NY)

Overview:  #15 US team, and #3 in NYS-A. 1st in 2010-ES. 13th in 2010 NXN. Running a little behind expectations missing one of their big 3, but Bison are looking for a repeat crown at ES.

Roster:  Mike Libruk (184), Jon Vallecorsa (183), Adam Schwenzfeier (169), Ryan Recchia (168), Ethan Hausamann (164), Maxwell Morgan (161)

Team Data: 173.6 TR. 1st in McQuaid-AAA (over Rush-Henrietta), 2nd in Queensbury-1 and V-V-S-6 (lost to Arlington)

Comments: With Christian Delago trying to fight his way back from injuries, frontrunners Mike Libruk and Jon Vallecorsa have been pushing the Bison for a repeat States title. They now have 3rd best TR avg. of teams in ES.


Piscataway (NJ)

Overview:  #48 in NJ MIilesplit. The Chiefs are pointed toward a top 10 finish, and frontrunner Tom Ball is one of the few guys with a shot at keeping Edward Cheserek in sight.

Roster: Tim Ball (193), Marcus Hatchett (166), Lance Weaver (161), Deer Patel (157), Josh Kumar (155)

Team Data: 166.4 TR. 8th in New Jersey Shore Coaches-A race, and 25th overall.

Comments: Tom Ball was 1st in the Shore Coaches-A race and 2nd overall, and he should finish in top 3 at ES. The Chiefs have some decent strength and could finish in top 10.


Christian Brothers Academy - Lincroft (NJ)

Overview:  #2 US team,  and #1 NJ team. 2nd in 2010 ES. 5th in 2010 NXN. The Colts are again the favorites at Eastern States, and as the nation's top-ranked team, they likely have enough horses to hold off FM and Shaker.

Roster:  Tim Gorman (186), George Kelly (184), Mike McClemens (183), Jack Boyle (178), Aaron Liberatore (176), Conrad Lippert (176), Billy Bragg (172)

Team Data: 181.4 TR. Finished 1st at Bowdoin (26-72 over Don Bosco), and 1st overall in the New Jersey Shore Coaches merge..

Comments: With Gorman, Kelly and McClemens running into the 180s, CBA has not only the top strength but also a lot of very high-level 4-5-6 guys to regain the title they won in 2009.


Pascack Valley (NJ)

Overview:  #141 in NJ Milesplit. Finished 13th in Manhattan F race in 2010. The Indians are among the little guys here, but frontrunner Benjamin Malone should run big.

Roster:  Benjamin Malone (176), Dean Pitorski (137), Mike Shine (106), Scott Wagner, Mike Rogozinski

Team Data: 114.6 TR. 15th in Six Flags-B.

Comments: The Indians are giving Malone a chance to see if he can get into the top 20 among the best.


Tatnall  (DE)

Overview:  Ranked #2 in DE. 8th in 2010 ES. With three guys running in the 170 TR range, the Hornets have a chance to finish in the top 10 again and knock off state rival Salesianum.

Roster:  Sam Parsons (178), Steve Garrett (173), Alex Giacco (170), Patrick Lynch (157), Jack Hagood (152), Justin Casanova (146)

Team Data:  166.0 TR. Finished 2nd at Marymount and 8th in the Great American race of Champions..

Comments: Tatnall looks to be running a little behind at the back from where they were last year, but the team starting 12 slots down from the Hornets should give them extra impetus for a top 10 finish. Tatnall starts from the same #5 slot as last year, and if you know things like that, you seriously need help.


Ridgewood (NJ)

Overview: #5 team in NJ. 19th in 2010 ES.  The Maroons look to move up from last year's back of the pack finish and prove they are one of NJ's top 5 teams.

Roster: Levi Jennings (169), Nick Salamone (164), Will Ades (163), Travis Spicer (162), Storm Dublirer (162), Mark French (152)

Team Data: 162.2 TR. 5th at Bowdoin and 4th in New Jersey Shore Coaches merge.

Comments: Ridgewood has a little more depth than last year, and with a big effort the Maroons could get up for a top 10 finish.


Don Bosco (NJ)

Overview:  #3 NJ team. 16th in 2010 ES. The Ironmen's big 1-2 punch at the top may help them to get a top 5 finish in a very crowded field up front.

Roster:  Christian Costello (180), Ryan Tucker (177), Kyle Levermore (172), Nicholas Carapezza (169), Nick Lapinski (167), Nicholas Mendolia (167), Brian Taylor (162)

Team Data:  172.6 TR. Finished 2nd at Bowdoin.

Comments: Don Bosco is strong and deep, and with Costello and Tucker challenging up top, the Ironmen could bust into the top 3 teams here.


West Windsor - Plainsboro South (NJ)

Overview:  #2 NJ team. 11th in 2010 ES. The Pirates look to pack in enough runners just outside the top group to get a top 5 finish.

Roster:  Thomas Vinci (174), Dan Sheldon (173), Jacob Riff (170), Dan Riff (169), AJ Chavez (163)

Team Data:  170.0 TR. Finished 2nd in New Jersey Shore Coaches merge.

Comments: WW-PS does not appear to have the upper elite runners to chase down a top 5 finish. Starting the race next to NJ rankings rival Don Bosco could be a motivator for Vinci, Sheldon and crew.


Chestnut Hill (PA)

Overview:  The Blue Devils are running in the Eastern States to give #19 US-ranked frontrunner Dustin Wilson a shot at bringing home the individual title.

Roster:  Dustin Wilson (187), Greg Baird (142), John Haas (122), Graham Allen, Skip Rosmila

Team Data:  121 TR. Finished 11th in Briarwood-Champs.

Comments:  The Devils' Wilson has one of the top 3 TRs going into the Eastern States, so he definitely should be up among the leaders.


Rush-Henrietta  (NY)

Overview:  #24 US team, and #6 in NYS-A. The Royal Comets are always happy to promote their fast name, and this year they are in the mix for a top-5 finish with Nate Kozyra looking to settle in among the leaders.

Roster:  Nate Kozyra (182), Andrew Sweeney (177), Mickey Burke (176), Alex Raymond (169), Brennan Root (160), Colby Burke (159)

Team Data: 171.8 TR. 2nd in McQuaid-AAA and 1st in V-V-S-7 races.

Comments: Rush needs a little more depth at the back to nail down a top 5 spot in a tough field, but with a big effort from Kozyra, Sweeney, and Burke, the Comets should finish high.


Bishop Hendricken (RI)

Overview:  Ranked #1 in RI. 10th in 2010 ES. RI's top team this year and one of the three here that can claim 5 guys in the 170s range. The Hawks should have enough of a top pack to pull in a top 5 place.

Roster: Michael Potter (178), Mark Vuono (174), Colin Tierney (171), Tyler Henseler (171), Connor Doyle (170), Collin Manning (167)

Team Data: 172.2. Finished 4th in Great American Race of Champions.

Comments:  Last year it was RI power La Salle running in Eastern States, this year its top team Bishop Hendricken. The Hawks should be right in there with Don Bosco and Rush-Henrietta in the fight for the top 5.


Fayetteville Manlius (NY)

Overview:  Ranked #4 in US and #1 in NYS-A. 3rd in 2010 ES. 2nd in 2010 NXN. FM could pull off a sweep of the Eastern States team titles in 2011, though October is usually a little early for the Hornets to get into a maximum buzz

Roster:  Nick Ryan (185), Matt Deyo (178), Bryce Millar (177), Colin Fitzgibbons (173), Jules Wellner (173), Ben Thomas (171), Conor Farrell (170)

Team Data: 177.2 TR. 1st in V-V-S-1

Comments: The Hornets' goal is to win a national championship this year, so they will not do anything that takes them off that set path. Whether they're at the building stage yet to win the ES remains to be seen, but with Nick Ryan, Matt Deyo, and Bryce Millar at an elite level, they may have enough to catch CBA-NJ.


Monsignor Farrell (NY)

Overview:  #16 in NYS-A. Finished 2nd in Manhattan A race in 2010. Lining Monsignor Farrell up next to St. Anthony's may provoke an unholy war on Sunday between the two top NY Catholic schools. Look for Farrell to hang close to their CHSAA rivals and ride toward a top 10 place.

Roster:  Dan Galford (175), John Bentivegna (167), Steve Arnone (165), John Lucchesi (161), Alex LoProsti (161), Brian Tress (158), Daniel Lewandowski (157)

Team Data: 165.8 TR. Finished 1st in Mayor's Cup.

Comments: Galford leads a Lion team that has enough depth to get into single digit places, and though Staten Island isn't the Bronx, Farrell is the closest to being a home team among the power squads.


St. Anthony's (NY)

Overview:  #4 in NYS-A. Riding a wave of victories over the last month, the Friars hope the momentum carries them to a top 5 place at Eastern States.

Roster: Thomas Diliberto (172), Jake Hensler (171), Patrick Gentry (171), Matthew Taddeo (169), Kevin Kreider (168), Brian Smith (159), Christopher Regan (157)

Team Data:  170.2 TR. 1st in races at St. Anthony Invite, Suffolk Coaches, and Randolph meets.

Comments: Busting in among the top NY public schools in the NYS-A rankings, the LI school has a pack at around the 170 TR mark that might be able to feed off each other for a top 5 place.


Greenwich (NY)

Overview:  Unranked. The Witches fly down to NYC in October with one elite and one very good runner to represent the small teams in the Eastern States.

Roster:  Austin Lane (178), Jeremy Spezio (167), Chandler Hansen (133), Devlin Kennedy, Lorne Montague

Team Data: 128.8 TR. Finished 7th in V-V-S-5..

Comments: Lane and Spezio give Greenwich a big top presence for a Class C school, but the Witches just don't have depth. Lane may be looking at a top 20 finish.


Salesianum (DE)

Overview:  #1 in DE. One of the top two teams in DE along with Tatnall, Salesianum is another team in the crowd fighting to break into the top 10.

Roster:  Matt McKenna (172), Matthias Arauco-Shapiro (166), Ryan Hughes (163), Liam Magerr (163), Pat Haley (162), Scott Davis (159)

Team Data: 165.2 TR. Finished 2nd in Briarwood-Champ and 1st in Salesianum and Marymount races.

Comments: The Sallies have a decent amount of depth and the obvious mission to beat out state rival Tatnall for a top 10 place.


St. Benedict's (NJ)

Overview:  Unranked. Edward Cheserek could be making history on Sunday.

Roster:  Edward Cheserek (208), Adebayo Eisape (146), Benjamin Guerin (116), Isaac Tucker-Rasbury (107), Joshua Martins (105)

Team Data: 136.4 TR. 7th in Passaic-3

Comments: Probably never in recent times has one runner stood so alone at the top of the charts going into the Manhattan races (on the guys's side). The Gray Bees' Cheserek will likely control the race from way out in front from the beginning, and it will be interesting to see if any of the other elite runners try to go with him. Set the camera for its fastest speed.


Londonderry (NH)

Overview:  Ranked #5 in NH Milesplit. The Lancers have a decent amount of depth and should finish about 15th in the ES.

Roster:  JR Winn (168), Mitch Sroka (163), Andreas Geiger (162), James Mercier (156), Devereux Geiger (147), Josh Leahy (142)

Team Data: 159.2 TR. Finished 1st in Essex Invite..

Comments: Londonderry represents the NE public schools in the Eastern States this year, and with Winn, Sroka, and Geiger in the 160s TR, the Lancers should do well enough for a top 15 place.


Bethlehem (NY)

Overview:  Ranked #18 in NYS-A. The Eagles have a similar makeup as their starting-line neighbors Londonderry.

Roster:  Luke Carpinello (169), McKinley Gray (165), Benjamin Fishbein (165), Matt Crawford (154), Chris Shaw (149), Tom Quackenbush (148)

Team Data: 160.4 TR. 1st in Grout-1.

Comments: With Carpinello, Gray, and Fishbein hanging in the 160s, Bethlehem should be good for a top 15 finish.


 Celebration (FL)

Overview:  Unranked. With a name like this, I want to see the t-shirts these guys wear. And everyone should also want to see the Storm's Quincy O'Connor, one of those seriously fast guys.

Roster: Quincy O'Connor (183), Diego Sanchez (117), Robert Rainey, Luis Puesan, Evan Buckstein

Team Data:    95.2 TR. 45th in UF Mt. Dew Invite

Comments: They may have the lowest TR rating of any team in the ES, but the Storm have a name that can't be beat and a guy who can run with the best.


Monsignor Donovan (NJ)

Overview:  NJ Catholic comes to the Manhattan to catch the action in the best way.

Roster:  Donovan Fifield (138), Ryan Loughery (126), James Harrigfeld (123), Trent Stone (106), Seamus McGovern (45)

Team Data: 107.6 TR. 8th in Passaic Coaches-2 race.

Comments: Not one of the stronger teams in the ES, but the Griffins should get a memorable run in.


Hopkins School (MA)

Overview:  The MA prep school has one extremely good runner. TRs based on loose estimations for the Golden Hawks.

Roster:  Matt Klein (178), Calvin Park (139), Teddy Heines (125), Dan McCabe (122), Amjad Talib (121)

Team Data: 137.0 TR. 5th in Canterbury Invite.

Comments: Trying to rate a private school like Hopkins is tough, but Klein ran a 15:38 5K at Canterbury, which is fast.


Trinity (NY)

Overview:  Like NJ's Monsignor Donovan, Trinity is in the race to experience the best of XC, and the Tigers should at least get some support from Matrix fans.

Roster:  Sam Marchan (139), Jeremy Ferguson (130), Nicholas Ellenoff (124), Sho Hoshizume (107), Finn Freyman (104), Jack Bolster (103)

Team Data: 120.8 TR. Finished 19th at Bowdoin.

Comments: Running with giants..