Manhattan College Invitational: Varsity Boys Races:
Race “A”: Chaminade (N.Y.) senior Thomas Awad broke 13 minutes for the first time, running 12:57.24 for the win, while New York City’s Collegiate School continued its fine showing this fall, collecting 107 points to defeat Chaminade (121) and Warwick Valley (126).
“He took the lead at about the halfway mark in the backhills,” said Chaminade coach Bill Carriero of Awad. “I heard the footsteps behind him but he was able to hold them off.”
Race “B”: Chariho of Rhode Island produced a stunning victory with 61 points, as frontman Mike Marsella punctuated the win with a 12:43.47 finish, the third-fastest time of the day. Chariho defeated North Hunterdon (N.J.) (116 points) and Baldwinsville (N.Y.) (123 points).
“We’ve always been kind of the underdog team,” said Chariho coach Bill Haberek who has brought his teams to Van Cortlandt since 1992 “It’s good to get our name out there.”
Haberek noted that while Rhode Island is a small state, its running community is boosted by coaches like Jim Doyle, whose Bishop Hendricken team finished fifth in the Eastern States race, and has been a friend to the program.
“He’s always encouraged us to go to big meets out of state,” said Haberek. “Some coaches kind of hold onto what they know (but he doesn’t).”
Chariho, which took spots 1, 2, 4, and 7, is thinking big.
“Our goal is to get to Nationals,” said senior Dan Kilcoyne, who finished second in 13:04.73. “We’ve been talking about it since the summer. We’ve been working for this and if everyone progresses I think we can do it.”
-Baldwinsville coach Jason Glashauser, whose team has come to the meet since the 70’s, brought a different type of team to the Bronx this year. With a number of strong 800-meter runners in this year’s crew, Glashauser was forced to adjust his usual approach.
“With other teams I like to get out extremely hard,” said Glashauser. “With this group, I told them to get yourself in the first quarter of the race. Once you hit the false top on the course, I want you to hammer it for the next 200 meters to the real top. That’s what they did.”
The approach paid off. Juniors Alec Peinkofer (third, 13:08.97) and Andy Fleming (10th, 13:31.77) led the way to a third-place finish.
Race “C”: La Salle College (Pa.), led by juniors Tom Coyle (second, 13:04.99) and Andrew Stone (fifth, 13:20.88) collected 45 points for an impressive win. They defeated Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons (N.Y.) (second, 130 points) and Mountain Lakes (N.J) High School (136 points). Senior Stephen Lewandowski of Mountain Lakes won the race in 12:59.14.
Race “D”: In one of the fastest varsity races, the three-man Walt Whitman (N.Y.) pack of Zach Cammer, Michael Damato, and Pat Cummings went 3,4,5 to lead a decisive Whitman win with 45 points. The Long Island school defeated St. Joseph’s Prep (Pa.)(second, 135 points) and Lincoln-Sudbury (Ma.) (third, 137 points)
Brendan Smith of CBA-Syracuse in Syracuse, N.Y. defeated Blake Udland of Millburn (N.J.) 12:50.99-12:56.37 for the win.
Race “E”: Lowell (Ma.) stormed into Van Cortlandt and for the second year in a row won their varsity race. Coach Phil Maia and his team of “city kids” were led by Alexis Andujar (second, 13:15.03) and Patrick Coppinger (third, 13:16.30), scoring 55 points for an impressive win over Hackensack, N.J. (117 points) and Pearl River (N.Y.) (135 points).
“We didn’t know what to expect,” said Maia, whose team is ranked third in Massachusetts.”So we just pushed our kids out there.”
Shoreham-Wading River (N.Y.) senior John Lee won the race in 13:12.83.
“I didn’t know if I could win the race but I thought I would be in the top three,” said Lee. “I don’t have a great kick but I was able to hold them off.”
Race “F”: St. John the Baptist (N.Y.) showed that it’s not just a power on the track, collecting 73 points for the win. Sean Ferguson (ninth, 13:52.06) and Sean Hall (11th, 13:57.05) led a tight group of runners.
“The goal was to forget about everything else and just race,” said coach David Wood. “It was too hot to do anything else.”
Stuyvesant, the defending Public School Athletic League champion in New York City, finished in second (96 points), led by first-place finisher Konrad Surkont, who ran 13:06.47 in his 2011 debut. Junior Jack Stevenson also showed well for Stuyvesant, finishing in fourth in 13:17.21.
St. John’s Prep (Ma.) finished in third with 144 points.
Second-place finisher Mitchell Kun of Sheepshead Bay High School in Brooklyn turned in a gutsy performance despite the stifling heat, running 13:12.29.
Race “G”: Smithtown (N.Y), led by Rob Calamia’s third-place finish in 13:28.39, scored 93 points to defeat Haddon Township (N.J.) (157) and West Morris Mendham (N.J.)(169).
Junior Stephen Bourget of Manhasset High School (N.Y.) won the race in 13:18.65, followed by senior teammate Charlie Morris (fifth, 13:36.44).
“I put in a nice surge halfway through and I was able to take the lead,” said Bourget.
Morris noted that the extraordinary size of the meet and the narrowing of the course in the first 400 meters makes for some unsual racing strategies.
“At the opening you know you kind of have to go out faster than you’re used to ,” said Morris. “You have to prepare yourself for having to hang on longer than you’re used to. Then people start to break.”