The Ocean City High School girls cross country team is looking to continue its success from last year, when it went 9-0 and won the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference for the first time in five years.
The Red Raiders also won the CCAL and the Cape May County championships.
“Honestly, all we’re doing is working hard every day and trying to get better than the day before,” coach Trish Henry said in a phone interview Wednesday. “Our goal is one day at a time, practice hard, put our best effort possible into every race and stay healthy.”
The team had a similar outlook last season — one race at a time. This year the Red Raiders are keeping that same mentatly as well as remembering what it means to be a team.
“When we race, the girls give everything they have and do their best for the team,” Henry said. “We’re really focused and all the girls put the team first.”
Ocean City lost its No. 2 and 3 runners to graduation but return six seniors, including their No. 1 runner and Press All-Star MaryKate Brelsford. It also welcomed former Holy Spirit standout Bridget Flynn to the pack.
“Some of the sophomores have really stepped up and embraced the team concept and are willing to work hard,” Henry said. “They’ve done a really good job replacing those girls because they have that same work effort.”
Sophomores Maddie Brady and Rachel Stremme, major contributors last year, return.
In 2011, Brelsford finished fourth in the South Jersey Group III meet and led all locals at the Meet of Champions as she finished 59th among 181. She earned a wild-card spot at the MOC after finishing 14th in Group III and is a two-time Cape May County champion and finished second in the CALs.
“It’s been really exciting and I’m happy to help the team and do all I can do to help us improve,” Brelsford said. “It’s has been an exciting three years at Ocean City. I love the team here. We’re like family and we’re all ready for another great year.”
Flynn, a junior, transferred to Ocean City for academic reasons and has quickly made the transition to the larger Red Raider squad. She has finished in the top spot at every meet.
“I like it a lot,” Flynn said. “It’s cool having a big team. It was definitely different at first and something I had to get use to, but I’m pretty comfortable now.”
As the Spartans No. 1 runner last season, Flynn took sixth in the Non-Public meet, second at the Atlantic County Championships and fifth in her division at the South Jersey Open.
“Bridget is a really nice kid and she’s an extremely hard worker,” Henry said. “She’s very commited to the sport and she has embraced our style and fits in very nicely.”
She has already finished second at the South Jersey Shootout and broke the Atlantic City course record in 18 minutes, 54 seconds in a tri-meet this season.
The team is 5-0 and took the top four spots in a tri-meet against league contenders Millville and Mainland Regional.
The Red Raiders face Egg Harbor Township (6-0) on Tuesday. The Eagles have a powerful top five led by Press All-Star Abby Shafer.
Six Flags Wild Safari Invitational: The Buena Regional girls placed fifth among 21 schools in the girls Varsity D race at the invitational meet Saturday. Lisa Testa led the Chiefs with a 10th place finish in 19 minutes, 35 seconds. Gina Testa was 17th in 19:56 and freshman Kristen Siegle was 18th in 19:57.
In the girls Varsity A race, Egg Harbor Township’s Abby Shafer was 11th in 19:09. Notable boys performances were EHT’s Michael Rossbach (16th in Varsity A in 16:23) and St. Joseph’s Val Vadino (13th in Varsity E in 16:54).
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