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Boys’ Cross Country

by Marc Narducci

Bishop Eustace Crusaders
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Eric Franklin was a first-team all-conference performer. Senior Alex Stelmaski, junior D’vonne Trumbo and junior Alex Hull were second-team selections. Other key veterans include juniors Anthony Morelli, Brennan Edel and Ryan Giarraputo. Franklin had a strong spring track season, lowering his time in the 3,200 to 9:40. He is a serious all-South Jersey candidate. Coach Matt Ciociola calls Stelmaski “one of the toughest runners I have coached.” Morelli dropped his 3,200 meter time from 10:50 to 10:05 and Ciociola lauds him for his dedication to training. Hull and Trumbo give the Crusaders a top five returning.

OUTLOOK: The Crusaders have the depth, talent and experience not only to make a run for the Olympic Conference National Division title with Paul VI, but also to compete for a sectional and state championship. If the improvement that the runners showed during the spring carries over to the fall, this will be a dangerous team.

Camden Catholic Fighting Irish
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Stephen Graham and junior Kyle Kirk were all-conference performers. Other seniors back include Will McHugh, Nick Turner, Connor Oberle, David McConnell and Marvin Sandoval. Junior Collin Pierlot and sophomore Tim Slack are other returning veterans for coach Dennis Quinn. Among the expected newcomers are sophomores Tyler Levine and Edwin Pellot, along with juniors Kevin Benjamin, Daniel Fisher and two players from the basketball team, Thomas Organ and Ivan Robinson.

OUTLOOK: The Irish were 4-2 last season and enter this season expected to finish behind perennial Olympic National contenders Bishop Eustace and Paul VI. However, this is a team that could surface as an outside contender. If any of the newcomers can make a definite impact, this is a program that should continue to improve.

Cherokee Chiefs
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Shawn Wilson will be among the state’s top runners. He was the South Jersey runner of the year after placing second in the state Group 4 meet and fifth in the Meet of Champions. Sophomore Justin DeTone was among the top freshmen in South Jersey last year and figures to be a top five runner for the Chiefs. Two other returning veterans are senior Philip-Robert Cerria and senior Matt Decker. Junior Kaleb Burch, among the Chiefs’ top distance runners in track, joins cross country for the first time after previously playing soccer. Junior Sam Dugan is also out for cross country for the first time after showing much promise in track. Sophomore Robert Harper played soccer last year and was strong in spring track. Senior Danny Mintzer is expected to contend for one of the top seven spots.

OUTLOOK: Coach Steve Shaklee (134-14) has produced one of the state’s top programs and this year should be no different. The Chiefs are the defending S.J. Group 4 and Olympic Conference American Division champions and, despite losing five of last season’s top eight runners, are again expected to be a force in S.J. Group 4 and possibly beyond.

Cherry Hill East Cougars
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior Ben Dillon had a strong spring, finishing sixth at the S.J. Group 4 championships in the 3,200. Coach Matt Cieslik calls Dillion “one of the more talented runners we’ve had in the last 10 years.” Junior Jared Dashevsky and sophomore Dan Helfand both had strong springs running the mile. Dashevsky ran 4:36 while Helfand was timed at 4:43. Senior Mike Minion ran 10 minutes flat this spring in the 3,200, while senior Mike Wang returns with varsity experience.

OUTLOOK: Led by Dillion, this will be a highly competitive team. The Cougars won’t be favored to win a S.J. Group 4 title, but placing in the top five will be a realistic goal.

Cherry Hill West Lions
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Leading the way are two returning first-team all-conference performers, senior Peter Skryzalin and junior Tyler Brake. Junior Nickolas Boensch was a second-team all-conference selection. Skryzalin was 21st in the S.J. Group 3 championships, while Brake was 26th and Boensch 28th. Also back are junior Anthony Verme and senior Max Matez.

OUTLOOK: The Lions were second in the Olympic Conference Patriot Division and could challenge, but won’t be listed as a favorite. The key will be replacing two key graduates, Connor Schuck and Joe Seaman.

Eastern Vikings
PLAYERS TO WATCH: A trio of seniors will be the leaders on this team–Mike Twist, Cole Knaster and Matt Gill. Juniors Erik Lee and Spiro Kokolis and sophomores Jake Caruso and Anthony Sokolowski add tremendous depth to this veteran team.

OUTLOOK: This is expected to be one of the Vikings’ top teams in recent years. Eastern competes in the Olympic American and S.J. Group 4, where Cherokee is a frontrunner in both, but this should be a competitive team, one capable of placing in the top five in the sectionals.

Gloucester Catholic Rams
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior Andreas Logothetis was a first-team all-conference performer. Other regulars returning include seniors Miguel Orlina, Sean Heath, Jacob Barger, Sam Keller, Rory McPeak and Albert Ragozzino, junior Billy Simila and sophomore Brendan Kain. A newcomer to watch is freshman Sean Simila.

OUTLOOK: The Rams were 4-4 and surpassing that record is realistic. One of the top runners from last year, junior Colin Ward, has signed up for football, so that would be a key loss. The turnout is healthy under coach Jack Heath (239-109), and this is a competitive program. The Rams likely won’t vie for a sectional title, but could be a factor in the Tri-County Conference Diamond Division.

Haddonfield Bulldogs
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Greg Halla is among the top returning runners in South Jersey. He placed 37th in the Meet of Champions last season. Junior Alex Gigliotti and junior Patrick Shea are other all-conference runners from last year. The other senior on the team is Robert Spaeth, who was usually among the Bulldogs’ top five runners last year; junior John Greenberg was also usually among the top five in 2011. Others who will battle for a top 7 spot include juniors Chris Ehrhardt and Matt Stewart, sophomore Danny Brennan and freshman Austin Stoner. Runners to watch are sophomores Chris Goings, Nick Forbes and Matt Troiani.

OUTLOOK: The Bulldogs were the consensus No. 1 team in South Jersey for the sixth straight year. They also won the S.J. Group 2 title. With such a strong nucleus back, coach Nick Baker has another team that will not only contend for the top spots, but is a state Group 2 contender.

Lenape Indians
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior Julian Greco was a first-team all-conference selection while senior Marquis Cox earned second-team honors after placing 22nd in the S.J. Group 4 championships. Other returning veterans are senior Mike Dannenfelser, junior Dan O’Leary and sophomore Yianni Christou.

OUTLOOK: With three of the top seven returning from last year, the Indians should continue to field a highly competitive team, one that placed second in the conference last year. While Cherokee remains the favorite in the Olympic American and S.J. Group 4, Lenape has the potential to be a Top 20 team in South Jersey.

Moorestown Quakers
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior Kevin Horten has the potential to be one of the top runners in the Burlington County Scholastic League, according to veteran coach Lorenzo Eagles. Horten placed 14th in last year’s S.J. Group 3 championships. Junior Joe Inglis looks to surpass what was a breakout sophomore season when he placed 17th in the S.J. Group 3 meet. Others back from the top seven include senior Luke Howard and junior Reed Kramer, who is coming off of a strong spring track season. Junior Ryan Caffrey came on strong late last season to earn a varsity letter. Other potential varsity contributors include seniors Cory Klawunn and Kyle Siegel, junior Greg Munilla and freshman Harrison Morris.

OUTLOOK: The Quakers were 14-1 and placed second in the division to Northern Burlington last season. Coach Eagles, who has an 85-6 career mark, should have the Quakers contending in the division, and by season’s end, the Quakers could be a top five team in the sectionals.

Moorestown Friends Foxes
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The top returning scorers from last year are juniors Coles Driscoll and Dan Van Deerlin and seniors Alex Howard, Adeola James and Spencer Bard. Other returning runners are junior Joe Mulholland and sophomore Anthony Torres. Freshmen to watch include Zachary Day and Jacob Schoifet.

OUTLOOK: While defending Friends League champion Germantown Friends remains a solid favorite to successfully defend its crown, Moorestown Friends could be the league’s second best team. The experience is there and if the team has strong summer training, it should translate to success in the fall.

Paul VI Eagles
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Seniors Neil MacFarlane, Adam Verna and Dan Marino and junior George Balzer were first-team all-conference selections. Senior Mike Patterson was a second-team choice. Also back to add depth are juniors Robert Cleary and Jake Durante-Koller and sophomores William Schmidt and Ben Rottler-Gurley.

OUTLOOK: The Eagles were 5-1 last season and they won the South Jersey Parochial Meet. With an experienced team, coach Breton Bonnette’s Eagles will again vie for division and sectional titles. Bishop Eustace looks to be the Eagles’ top contender on both fronts. This is an especially strong senior class with a unit that has a lot of experience, and it should all pay dividends this season for the Eagles.

Seneca Golden Eagles
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Ryan Schubert will return this year from an injury that forced him to miss last season. Ed Bohi was a second-team all-conference selection. Other returning veterans include Nate Balcerkiewicz, Joey Lupo and Joseph Hackney.?

OUTLOOK: This is will be a solid club, but Seneca won’t be listed with the favorites in the Olympic Conference Patriot Division. Last season, Seneca was third in the division, and with the return of Schubert, a realistic goal would be moving up a place in the standings.

Shawnee Renegades
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior Brendan Tecce placed 42nd in the South Jersey Group 4 championships, while junior Jimmy Muller was 50th and senior Matt O’Rorke was 62nd.

OUTLOOK: Shawnee must replace graduated all-South Jersey performers Connor Herr and Peter Murray, who placed first and third respectively in the S.J. Group 4 championships. That enabled Shawnee to place second behind Cherokee. Despite the graduation losses, Shawnee will aim to be among the top teams in what is always a loaded Group 4 field.

Washington Township Minutemen
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Kyle Leonard is expected to be among the top runners in South Jersey. Last season, he placed sixth in the S.J. Group 4 championships, and four of the first five finishers have since graduated. Senior David Hazel placed 44th in the Group 4 meet, senior Ian Kulis was 54th, and junior Anthony Mills was 64th.

OUTLOOK: The Minutemen finished seventh in the South Jersey Group 4 meet last season, and with a strong returning cast should be a top five team, possibly even in the top three.

Schedules

Bishop Eustace Crusaders
9/15 at South Jersey Shootout at GCC, 8:30 a.m.
9/29 at Shore Coaches Invitational, 9 a.m.
10/2 at Olympic Conference Division, 4 p.m.
10/6 at Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel State Park, 7 a.m.
10/13 at Camden County Open, 1 p.m.
10/15 at South Jersey Frosh/Soph Meet at GCC, 3:45 p.m.
10/19 at Olympic Conference Meet at GCC, 3 p.m.
10/24 at Haddonfield Sub-Varsity Invitational, 3:45 p.m.
11/3 at Robert Kiessling SJ Parochial Champs, 10 a.m.
11/10 at NJSIAA Group Meet, 10 a.m.
11/17 at NJSIAA Meet of Champions, 11 a.m.

Camden Catholic Fighting Irish
9/12 at GCC, 5 p.m.
9/19 at Batch Meet at GCC, 4 p.m.
9/22 at South Jersey Shootout at GCC, 8:30 a.m.
9/29 at SJ Track Coaches Association Championship at Delsea, 10 a.m.
10/3 vs. Paul VI at GCC, 5 p.m.
10/13 at County Open Meet at GCC, 1 p.m.
10/19 at Conference Championship at GCC, TBA
11/3 at NJSIAA Meet at Delsea, 10 a.m.
11/10 at NJSIAA Group Meet at Holmdel, 10 a.m.
11/17 at NJSIAA Group Meet at Holmdel, 11 a.m.

Cherokee Chiefs
9/11 at Cherry Hill West, 5 p.m.
9/15 at Cherokee Challenge, 9 a.m.
9/20 at Batch Meet at GCC, 4:35 p.m.
10/2 at Cherry Hill West, 5 p.m.

Cherry Hill East Cougars
9/11 at Batch Meet at GCC, 5 p.m.
9/20 at Batch Meet at GCC, 4 p.m.
9/22 at South Jersey Shootout at GCC, 8:30 a.m.
9/29 at Shore Coaches Invitational, 9 a.m.
10/2 at Batch Meet at GCC, 4:35 p.m.
10/6 at South Jersey Open, TBA
10/13 at County Open Meet at GCC, 1 p.m.
10/15 at South Jersey Frosh/Soph Meet at GCC, 3:45 p.m.
10/19 at Olympic Conference Meet at GCC, 3 p.m.
10/24 at Haddonfield JV/Frosh Meet at Haddonfield Memorial, 3:45 p.m.
11/3 at Sectionals at Delsea, 10 a.m.
11/10 at State Group Meet, TBA
11/17 at Meet of Champions, TBA

Cherry Hill West Lions
9/11 vs. Seneca, 5 p.m.
9/20 vs. Shawnee, 5 p.m.
9/26 Open Meet, TBA
10/2 vs. Winslow, 5 p.m.

Eastern Vikings
9/11 at Batch Meet at GCC, 4:35 p.m.
9/15 at Cherokee Challenge, 9 a.m.
9/20 at GCC, 4:35 p.m.
9/29 at SJ Track Coaches Association Championship at Delsea, 10 a.m.
10/2 vs. Washington Township at GCC, 4:35 p.m.
10/6 at Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel State Park, 7 a.m.
10/13 at Camden County Open at GCC, 1 p.m.
10/15 at South Jersey Frosh/Soph Meet at GCC, 3:45 p.m.
10/24 at Haddonfield JV/Frosh Meet at Haddonfield Memorial, 3:45 p.m.
10/26 at 3 p.m. Olympic Conference Meet
11/3 at NJSIAA Sectional Meet at Delsea, 10 a.m.
11/10 NJSIAA State Meet at Delsea, 10 a.m.
11/17 NJSIAA Meet of Champions at Delsea, 10 a.m.

Gloucester Catholic Rams
9/11 vs. Woodstown, 4 p.m.
9/15 at Cherokee Challenge, TBA
9/18 at Arthur P. Schalick, 4 p.m.
9/22 at Holy Cross Challenge at Holy Cross, 8:30 a.m.
9/25 at Cumberland Regional, 4 p.m.
10/2 vs. Deptford Township, 4 p.m.
10/6 at S.J. Open at Delsea Regional, 12 p.m.
10/9 vs. Penns Grove, 4 p.m.
10/25 at TCC Meet at Cumberland Regional, 3:45 p.m.
11/3 at NJSIAA Sectionals at Delsea Regional, 12 p.m.
11/17 at Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park, 10 a.m.

Haddonfield Bulldogs
9/11 vs. Audubon and Collingswood, 4 p.m.
9/15 at Cherokee Challenge, 9 a.m.
9/25 at Gateway Regional and Paulsboro, 4 p.m.
9/29 at SJ Open, 10 a.m.
10/2 vs. Overbrook, Lindenwold and West Deptford, 4 p.m.
10/6 at Shore Coaches Invitational, 9 a.m.
10/9 vs. Haddon Heights, Haddon Township and Sterling, 4 p.m.
10/13 at Manhattan Invitational, TBA
10/18 at Colonial Conference All-Star Meet, 4 p.m.
11/3 at NJSIAA Sectionals at Delsea Regional, 12 p.m.
11/10 at NJSIAA States
11/17 at NJSIAA Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park, 10 a.m.

Lenape Indians
9/11 at Gloucester Country College, 4:35 p.m.
10/2 at Cherry Hill West, 5 p.m.

Moorestown Quakers
9/11 Batch Meet at BCIT Westampton, 3:30 p.m.
9/15 at South Jersey Shootout, 3:30 p.m.
9/18 at Batch Meet at BCIT Westampton, 3:30 p.m.
9/25 at Batch Meet, TBA, 3:30 p.m.
9/29 at Shore Coaches Invitational, 9 a.m.
10/2 at Batch Meet at Cinnaminson, 3:30 p.m.
10/6 at SJTCA Track Invitational at Delsea, 3:30 p.m.
10/12 at Burlington County Open at Mill Creek Park, 3:30 p.m.
10/15 at South Jersey Frosh/Soph Meet at GCC, 3:45 p.m.
10/18 at BCSL Divisional at New Egypt, 3:30 p.m.

Moorestown Friends Foxes
9/7 vs. St. Joseph’s Hammonton and Medford Tech, 4 p.m.
9/15 vs. Maple Shade, Palmyra and Westhampton Tech, 3:45 p.m.
9/20 at Abington Friends and Friends Central, 4 p.m.
9/27 vs. Shipley, 4 p.m.
10/1 at Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel Park, TBA
10/4 vs. Friends Select and Westtown, 4 p.m.
10/9 at South Jersey Open at Delsea, TBA
10/11 at Germantown Friends and George, 4 p.m.
10/14 at Burlington County Open, 3:30 p.m.
10/18 at FSL Champ at Belmont, 3:15 p.m.
11/5 at NJSIAA Sectionals, 10 a.m.
11/12 at NJSIAA States, 10 a.m.
11/19 at Meet of Champions, 11 a.m.

Paul VI Eagles
9/12 vs. Penn Tech & Woodrow Wilson, 4 p.m.
9/19 vs. Camden & Bishop Eustace, 5 p.m.
10/3 vs. Camden Catholic, 5 p.m.
10/26 vs. Olympic Conference Meet, TBA

Seneca Golden Eagles
9/5 vs. Cherry Hill West at GCC, 5 p.m.
9/15 at Cherokee Challenge, 9 a.m.
9/20 at Winslow, 4 p.m.
9/22 at South Jersey Shootout at GCC, 8:30 a.m.
9/29 at SJTCA Championships at Delsea, 10 a.m.
10/2 at Timber Creek, 4 p.m.
10/12 at Burlington County Open at Mill Creek Park, 3:30 p.m.
10/15 at South Jersey Frosh/Soph Meet at GCC, 3:45 p.m.
10/22 at Tournament at Buena Regional High School, 3:30 p.m.
10/23 at Rancocas Valley Regional, 3:45 p.m.
10/24 at Haddonfield Memorial HS, 3:45 p.m.
10/26 at Olympic Conference Meet at GCC, 3 p.m.
11/3 at NJSIAA Sectionals at Delsea, 10 a.m.
11/10 at NJSIAA Groups at Holmdel Park, 10 a.m.
11/17 at Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park, 11 a.m.

Shawnee Renegades
9/11 at Batch Meet at GCC, 4 p.m.
9/15 at Cherokee Challenge, TBA
9/19 at Batch Meet at GCC, 5 p.m.
9/29 at Shore Coaches Tournament at Holmdel Park, TBA
10/2 at Batch Meet at GCC, 4 p.m.
10/6 at South Jersey Open at Delsea, TBA
10/12 at Burlington County Open, TBA
10/15 at SJTCA Soph/Fresh Meet, TBA
10/19 at Olympic Conference Meet, TBA

Washington Township Minutemen
9/11 at Olympic Conference Batch Meet at GCIT, 4:35 p.m.
9/15 at Cherokee Challenge, 9 a.m.
9/19 at Olympic Conference Batch Meet at GCIT, 4:35 p.m.
9/29 at Shore Coaches at Holmdel, TBA
10/2 at Olympic Conference Batch Meet at GCIT, 4:35 p.m.
10/6 at South Jersey Open, TBA
10/15 at South Jersey Frosh/Soph at GCC, TBA
10/26 at Olympic Conference Championships at GCC, TBA
11/3 at Sectionals, TBA
11/10 at State Groups, TBA
11/17 at Meet of Champions at Holmdel, TBA

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family’s High School Fall Sports Preview, July, 2012.
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