Cape Atlantic League
(last season's record in parentheses)
Absegami (2-7) returns second-team Press All-Star Salman Khalid for his senior year. Khalid will be counted on to set the pace for the Braves in most meets.
Atlantic City (7-4) will be led by seniors Jawanza Corbin, Christian Moreno and Jon Bruccoleri. The Vikings are a young team beyond those three.
Egg Harbor Township (8-1) will take a hit this season as it lost top runners Tom McLaughlin and Gage Fox to graduation. McLaughlin will run cross country for Division I Rider University this fall. The Eagles have a traditionally strong program and will need new runners to step up to fill the holes left from graduation.
Hammonton (9-1) saw the biggest improvement last fall, going from 2-8 in 2010 to 9-1 in 2011. The Blue Devils lost top runner Pat McCurry to graduation but return a large group of almost 40 runners and could challenge for a division title. Junior Lou Corgliano was a tirst-team Press All-Star in 2011 and should be one of the top runners in the conference. Sophomore Kyle Snyder returns after setting the freshman mile record at Hammonton in 4:46.
Mainland Regional (6-3) returns its top three runners from last season — seniors Chris Hutton and Will Krause and junior John Scull. Hutton and Krause were each second-team CAL All-Stars in 2011. The Mustangs will work to obtain some depth behind their top three runners this fall.
Millville (4-5) returns seniors Dayron Brown and Gage Whilden who figure to be the top two runners. The Thunderbolts also welcome newcomer junior Justin Canion who should crack the top three. Millville wants to improve to a .500 record this fall.
Ocean City (10-0) looks to continue its dominance of the American Conference as it returns top runner Kevin Scott for his senior year. Scott won the Cape-Atlantic League championships last year, completing the 3.1-mile course at Richard Stockton College in 15 minutes, 16 seconds, and led the Red Raiders to a fourth straight team title. Senior D.J. Gilhooley is also back for Ocean City and will help lead the experienced team.
Senior Co-Captains John Johnson and Conor Stabile lead a returning core group at Oakcrest (3-7) that should be competitive this season. Senior Matt Dragotto and juniors Ish Muhammad and Ryan Samaroo are also returning letter winners.
St. Augustine Prep (7-2) is a deep and experienced team which returns nine of the 10 top runners from last season. The Hermits’ goal is to compete for a title in the CAL American Conference. Top runners include seniors Richard Marchese, Robert Ferrari, Robert Tedesco, and John Peacock. They also return juniors Robert Teresi, Patrick Irelan and Phillip Hooper, and sophomore Brandon Wright.
Vineland (0-9) lost top runner and second-team Press All-Star James Zequelle-Curtis to graduation. The returning core will try to improve on a winless campaign in 2011.
Bridgeton (7-3) had a well-balanced team in 2011 and was one of the top teams in the National Conference. It returns a team of good depth and should again be a strong opponent.
Buena Regional (1-9) had a tough season in 2011 with its only win coming against winless Wildwood Catholic, a 25-31 decision during a tri-meet with St. Joseph.
Cape May Tech (2-8) set a goal to finish around .500 this fall. It returns its top two runners, seniors Josh Greenberg and Liam Munz. Also return junior Vinny Deritis, who will be counted on to provide depth.
Cedar Creek (1-9) has another year of experience under their belt as the program returns for it’s third year. The Pirates return top runner Christopher Rabush.
Sophomore Jared Lopez is back at Holy Spirit (8-2) after an impressive freshman year and figures to be one of the top runners on the team. Senior Pat McFadden also returns for the Spartans.
Lower Cape May Regional (4-6) showed strong depth last season with tight scores in almost all of its meets. The Caper Tigers will try to make the jump to an above .500 team this fall.
Middle Township (5-5) has returning group of young runners that hope to make a name for itself in the CAL. Sophomores Ryan Herlihy and Chris Robison had excellent freshmen years, and junior captain Zach Peterson rounds out the top three.
Pleasantville (10-0) returns twin brothers and first team All-Stars Jacob and Isaac Clark for their senior seasons. The Clark brothers and fellow senior Dagoberto Arias have led the Greyhounds to three straight National Conference titles, and were edged by Ocean City for the CAL team title by one point last year, 60-59. Pleasantville will again be the team to beat in the National Conference and should battle Ocean City at the CAL championships.
Sacred Heart (5-4) will take a hit at the front of the pack as it lost top runner and second-team Press All-Star Brandon Triantos to graduation.
St. Joseph (3-4) returns three letter winners from last season in sophomores Val Vadino and Jon Linden, and senior John Curcio. Sophomore Manny Sanfilippo transfered in from St. Augustine, and incoming freshmen Dominic and Tyler Tartaglia also will help improve the Wildcats.
Wildwood Catholic’s (0-10) biggest obstacle this season will be numbers as it will be fielding a small team. The Crusaders lost top runner Atonino Piro to graduation but will get a boost from three incoming freshman. Mike Scythes will take over as head coach after spending 15 years as an assistant.
Barnegat (4-1) returns top runner and Press 2011 Runner of the Year Matt Nelson for his senior season. Nelson won the state Group II title after finishing the 3.1-mile Holmdel Park course in 16:19 last year. He also finished 11th out of 181 competitors at the Meet of Champions but has spent his summer rehabbing an Achilles’ injury that forced him to sit out the spring track season. Bengals coach Joe Doviak said Nelson is as strong as ever and will still be one of the state’s top runners. Barnegat also will benefit from the addition of senior Joe Mandara. Mandara was a first-team Group II All-Star as a sophomore but did not run as a junior. Rounding out the top runners are juniors Connor Ross and Zach Algaze, sophomore Zach Mozart, and senior John Sokol.
Lacey Township (5-0) graduated top runner Noah Jacobs from a team that won the Shore Conference B South title last season.
Pinelands Regional (3-2) will again be competitive in the Shore Conference. Top runner Robert Parker finished sixth in the boys Division 2 at the South Jersey Open Cross Country Meet at Delsea Regional last fall.
Southern Regional (5-0) won the Shore Conference A South for the third time in four years in 2011, but lost top runner and first team Press All-Star Eric Dragonetti to graduation. The Rams also won a team title at the Ocean County races for the second consecutive year.
Jeff Sporer. JSporer@pressofac.com