November 17, 2021

PHS Boys’ Cross Country Takes 4th at Group Meet, Hoping to End Fall on a High Note at Meet of Champions

FAST COMPANY: Members of the Princeton High boys’ cross country team take off at the start of the Mercer County championship meet last month at Washington Crossing Park. Last Saturday, PHS placed fourth at the state Group 4 championship meet at Holmdel Park. The Tigers figure to be back at Holmdel on November 20 for the Meet of Champions as they should make the meet as a wild card entry after three state Group races remaining were to be completed on November 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Earlier this month, the Princeton High boys’ cross country team found itself in a battle with Manalapan High for first place at Central Jersey Group 4 sectional meet.

PHS prevailed in the November 13 competition at Thompson Park, scoring 82 points to edge Manalapan by two points to win the title.

Last Saturday at Holmdel Park in the state Group 4 championship meet, the two squads were again matching each other stride for stride but this time the prize was third place.

While PHS junior Andrew Kenny had a big day, taking eighth individually in a time of 16:15 over the famed 5,000-meter course, it was not enough as Manalapan came in at 134 to take third with the Tigers posting a score of 149 to grab fourth. Powerhouse Ridge took first at 91 with Westfield coming in second with a score of 99.

The next PHS finisher was junior Marty Brophy who took 42nd in 17:08 with junior Zachary Deng finishing 46th in 17:11, senior Addison Motto coming in 47th 17:13, and sophomore Maxwell Dunlap placing 55th in 17:21.

As for the PHS girls, junior star Robin Roth continued her late surge. After taking second individually at the Mercer County Championships and fifth at the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional meet, Roth placed 17th overall at the Group meet, posting a time of 20:06.

Roth’s heroics helped PHS take sixth in the team standings with a score of 174 in a meet won by Cherokee at 82.

Following Roth for the Tigers was sophomore Kyleigh Tangen, who placed 28th in 20:19 with junior Lucy Kreipke coming in 33rd at 20:28, freshman Florica Eleches-Lipsitz taking 57th in 21:25, and senior Ryan Vaughey placing 60th in 21:45.

With three state Group races to be completed on November 16 as they were postponed from last Saturday after thunderstorms blasted though the area, the PHS runners are hoping to be back in Holmdel Park on November 20 for the Meet of Champions as wild card entries.

The top two Group finishers plus the next fastest eight wild card teams will advance to the MOC. The Tiger boys appear to have a spot locked up no matter what happens with the remaining Group races, while the PHS girls are in good position to join the fun on Saturday.