(The high school sports season starts Sept. 5. The Press is featuring 10 athletes to watch in advance of the season.)

Senior MaryKate Brelsford will enter her third season as Ocean City High School's No. 1 runner.

Brelsford led the Red Raiders to an undefeated (9-0) season and the Cape-Atlantic League National Conference title last year.

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She finished the season with an impressive performance at the Meet of Champions, placing 59th among 181 in 19 minutes, 52 seconds. She led all locals at the meet. She qualified for the MOC after finishing 14th (19:47) in Group III.

Brelsford, a two-time Press first-team All-Star, finished fourth in the South Jersey Group III meet. She took second in the CAL as Ocean City won the team title. The Red Raiders also won the Cape May County title for the second consecutive year.

In MaryKate Brelsford's words: "We've been training really hard this summer, and I think if we can pull it all together and work well as a team, we have a good chance this year. I'm not exactly sure what times I want to run this year. I just know that I want to work hard and try hard for the team. We're a really well-bonded team, and in the end that brings us all together and helps us work well as a pack."

Ocean City coach Trish Henry on MaryKate Brelsford: "She's an exceptional athlete. She's very dedicated, focused and the epitome of a team player. I expect her to do what's she's done the last two years, which is show up to practice every day, work hard, improve with each day and give us everything she has when it comes to the races."

Nyssa Dougherty,

NDougherty@pressofac.com

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