Before the 2018 Cross Country Season began last year, the Girls Cross Country team was ranked 4th in the county. Instead, they won the Bergen County Meet of Champions by a landslide and finished 2nd in the State of New Jersey. This year, all eyes are on them as they entered the preseason ranked 1st in the State. Now multiple weeks into the official season, they have maintained their ranking followed by last years NJ #1, North Hunterdon. The girl maroons returned their top five from last year’s cross country season, all sophomores and juniors, (Camryn Wennersten, Olivia Shattuck, Annamarie Tretola, Sarah Policano, Lily Williams) with the addition of another junior (Claire Hamlet) and sophomore (Lucia Rabolli) as their sixth and seventh member. Currently, the Girls team has been undefeated. This winning streak includes not only batch meets, but also two large invitationals ranging up to 6,500 runners which both the girls and boys programs have participated in. The first of these meets was the Bowdoin XC Classic which occurred late September this year. Ridgewood’s own Camryn Wennersten won the Girls Varsity II race and came second in the merge with a time of 18:41. Wennersten’s performance led the Maroons to a 59-121 win over Holmdel, NJ #4.
The girl maroons then continued their efforts at the Shore Coaches Invitational a week later. This particular meet is used as a measure to see where the top New Jersey teams stack up. Well over 100 teams on both the girls and boys side competed in this meet. The girls maroons came away with an effort deserving them of the win. NJ #2 North Hunterdon came in second with only a 110-184 gap behind Ridgewood. However, the Ridgewood Girls cannot rejoice yet as North Hunterdon did not seem to race all of their top scorers, a difference that will put the Maroons and the Lions almost neck to neck during the state series. The Varsity and JV girls also won the Big North Freedom Conference as well as the County Championships. For now, the team predicted to come out on top is still undecided, but the rest of the season is looking positive for the maroons, as they won the Lou Molino Bergen Meet of Champions as well as the North 1 NJSIAA Sectionals.
The boy maroons came in a respectable 12th in the merge of the Shore Coaches Invitational and 8th in the merge at the Bowdoin XC Classic, proving they are one of the top programs in the state. The addition of former Don Bosco runner Sean Fortunato will help boost the maroons to hopefully have an even more competitive edge on the State level. Sean has recently come off his 30-day period of not being allowed to compete as a result of transferring schools. The maroons also found a new varsity runner in Jay Boogaert. Boogaert, who had participated in soccer during the fall season the last two years, has been the maroons top runner this season. The maroons raced their JV team at the Brett Taylor Invite the same weekend as the Shore Coaches Invitational. The JV team had many personal records and came away with the win. Additionally, both Varsity and JV boys won the Big North Freedom Conference as well as the County Championships, and Varsity boys have enjoyed success as they won the Lou Molino Bergen Meet of Champions and the North 1 NJSIAA Sectionals. Remarkably, in the Doc Braver Invitational on Halloween, JV boys posted a top 10 Ridgewood sweep, achieving a perfect score of 15. Unfortunately, last year, the maroons were unable to qualify for the State Meet of Champions. This year, with a team that is appearing stronger than last year’s team, they should be able to qualify.
Graphic: Sunny Rhew