For the second year in a row, two undefeated high school boys cross country teams will meet for the first time this season at the Cape-Atlantic League Championships at Richard Stockton College today at 3:30 p.m.
Pleasantville and Ocean City are both 10-0. Both teams won their respective conference titles and county championships.
The Greyhounds took the National Conference for the fourth year in a row and Ocean City claimed its sixth straight American Conference title.
Pleasantville won its second straight Atlantic County title while the Red Raiders earned their 13th consecutive Cape May County Championship.
Without a doubt, both teams are well-equipped to take the CAL title this year.
"We're looking forward to it," Ocean City coach Matt Purdue said. "We love the fact that there's so much great competition there."
Last year's CAL race was one of the closest league championships Purdue has seen in his five years with Ocean City.
The Red Raiders edged Pleasantville 59-60 to win their fourth consecutive title by just one second.
"It really came down to our one runner passing their runner toward the end," Purdue said. "That's about as close as you can get in a championship meet. We know it's going to be another great race this year. We have a great friendship with them and a mutual respect for each other."
Pleasantville's success over the past few years has made meets such as the CAL more interesting.
Ocean City senior Kevin Scott won his first CAL individual title last year in 15 minutes, 16.33 seconds.
Pleasantville twins Jacob and Isaac Clark took second and third, respectively. Jacob Clark finished nine seconds behind Scott, and Isaac Clark was just four seconds behind his brother.
"Every time we face them, we know that they're well-trained, they have a great competitive spirit and great tradition," Purdue said. "It makes it exciting and that's what's so great about the sport. You get a chance to challenge each other and improve in the process."
There is one new twist this year to make things even more interesting.
Hammonton junior Lou Corgliano enters the scene as one of the CAL's top runners. Last year he finished fourth, close behind the top three.
Corgliano won the Atlantic County Championships, beating the Clark brothers after finishing third behind them last year.
Scott and Corgliano have faced off once this season, in a tri-meet with Atlantic City. Corgliano beat Scott by 24 seconds.
"It's really exciting. We are all really, really good runners and we've never all been together before like this this year," Scott said. "It will be exciting to see who wins. I know it's going to be a good race, and I'm just trying to stay relaxed and focused. I know what I have to do and our team knows what we have to do."
Once again this year, it could be anyone's race both individually and overall.
"We're feeling good," Scott said. "We're going in with a positive attitude. We know that Pleasantville stacks up good against us, but I think there's a good possibility that we could beat them."
O.C. girls favored
The Ocean City girls team also hopes to repeat as league champion.
The Red Raiders dominated last year's competition with their depth.
Bridget Flynn and MaryKate Brelsford lead another talented and deep pack, and both are individual favorites.
Egg Harbor Townships's Abby Shafer, who won the Atlantic County title last week, is also in the mix for the title.
Buena Regional's small but talented team should not be overlooked. With just three returning runners, the Chiefs took the Atlantic County team title over defending champion Egg Harbor Township.
Freshman Kristin Siegle surprised everyone and finished third to lead Buena. Twin sisters Gina and Lisa Testa are also consistent top finishers for Buena.
Lacey at Shore
The Shore Conference Championships also today at Ocean County Park at 4 p.m.
Lacey Township's Danielle Leavitt will set out to defend her individivual title.
The junior set a personal best in 17:37 last year. Barnegat's Matt Nelson finished fifth.
Contact Nyssa Dougherty:
Cross Country Championships
When: 3:30 p.m. today
Where: Richard Stockton College in Galloway Township
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