Holmdel – It was a cold and windy day at Holmdel Park on Saturday,but the RFH Girls Cross Country team ran their hearts out, pulling off a big upset against undefeated, number 1 ranked, Voorhees, who had won five consecutive State Championships.
Junior Rachel Christ led the pack of RFH harriers, crushing her own school record with a stunning 18:47 to come in 5th. Freshman Hannah Anderson followed in 14th place (19:43), right in front of senior Shannon McCarthy who came in 15th (19:48). But it was junior Michaella Irvine (20:11) and junior Isabella Maita (20:13), finishing in front of the Voorhees’ fourth finisher that sealed the deal. Senior Molly Hellman finished 35th (21:07) and sophomore Courtney Howley finished 77th (22:01) out of 137 qualifiers.
Standing at the finish, Coach Tim Mcloone wasn’t sure if his team had won and was waiting for the race results when the Voorhees coach sought him out to congratulate him. He was reduced to tears.
“It was a tremendously exhilarating experience. Our teams worked very hard to get to this point. At the end of the day, our team had the fastest average time in the meet (19:44) out of 108 teams and should be very proud,” McLoone said.
After the race, Coach Henry Mercer reminded the team what noted author, physician, and running philosopher George Sheehan had said—“that we should seek out and then cherish life’s peak moments.” McLoone concurred, “if this wasn’t one I don’t know what is.”
The RFH boys’ team had an interesting race as well finishing 13th out of the 20 teams that had qualified in Group 2. The boys were led by Senior Sam Gottuso (17:32), senior Ryan Corbett (17:35) and junior Blake Goodwyn (18:00). Completing the team were senior Jack Maris (18:36), junior Jake Albers (18:57), sophomore James Ball (19:13) and freshman Brendan Thorp (19:23).
With this win, the RFH girls qualified for the 2011 NJSIAA Meet of Champions, which will take place at Holmdel Park on Saturday, November 19.