Cross country qualifies for states fifth consecutive year

Nate Mulberg ('10) Eastside Sports Editor

The lady cross country team continued a tradition of success this weekend as they qualified for states for the fifth consecutive year. Yesterday, November 8th, at the NJSIAA SJ Group 4 Sectional Meet at Delsea High School, the lady cougars placed 5th out of 18 teams. To qualify for states, a team must finish in the top five of their sectional meet.

They had a team average of 20:28 (for 3.1 miles), with Missy Showers (’09) leading the way with a time of 19:27 and a 10th place finish out of 119 runners. Following her was Meghan Marro (’09) in 16th place with a time of 20:01, Colleen Thompson (’11) in 40th place with a time of 20:53, and Natalie Kusza (’10) in 42nd place with a time of 20:56. Finishing out the scoring for the cougars was Taylor Festa (’11) in 46th place with a time of 21:03.

On the boy’s side, results were just as impressive. For the first time in eight years, East’s boys cross country team qualified for states. At the NJSIAA SJ Group 4 Sectional Meet yesterday, November 8th at Delsea High School, the boys placed 4th place out of 18 teams with an average team time of 16:56 (for 3.1 miles).

Team captain Dave Berger (’09) placed 6th out 125 runners to lead the Cougars, with a time of 16:22. Fellow captains Nate Burt (’09) and John Arnold (’09) finished close behind, finishing in 16th and 17th place respectively. Rounding out the scoring for the team was Chris Dinh (’10) in 45th place and Scott Zhao (’11) in 47th place.

The NJSIAA SJ Group 4 State Championship will be held this Saturday, November 15th at Holmdel Park in Holmdel, New Jersey. To qualify for the Meet of Champions, which is a race with all of the best teams in the state following the state meet, the team must place top three in their race. They can also qualify as a “wildcard” team, which means they must finish top three based on average team times against schools from different groups that did not finish in the top 3 of their race.

Also, should the lady or boy cougars not make it as a team, individual runners can still qualify for the Meet of Champions. Any individual that finishes top 10 in his/her race, or has a top 10 time out of the runners that didn’t finish top 10 in his/her race, will qualify for the Meet of Champions.