Will Berger solidified his standout cross country season with another impressive outing Saturday.
The Lower Cape May Regional High School senior placed 92nd among 180 runners at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships Northeast Regional boys race in 17 minutes, 13.8 seconds at Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, New York.
“I was very excited and very pleased with his overall performance.” Lower Cape May Regional coach Rich Demers said. “We may have expected a little bit more, as far as placing higher.”
In 2016, Berger finished the same event in 17:27.6, placing 96th among 139 runners.
Demers also said the competition was better than it was last year.
“We had goals that he was going to be a little higher up,” Demers said.
“He was (in a better position) going into the woods, but his legs started fatiguing and feeling the hills.”
The event included high school athletes from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
Along with fierce competition, the event features a course that is a “roller-coaster ride” of hills, Demers said, making it a challenge for all the runners.
Berger won the Cape-Atlantic League Cross Country Championships on Oct. 27 in 16:09 and placed third in the South Jersey Group II sectional race Nov. 5 in 15:59.
The senior then finished fifth in the state Group II race in 16:41.
At the Meet of Champions on Nov. 19, Berger crossed the finish line in 16:50, earning 62nd place in a field of 188.
“He had a very good season,” Demers said. “He’s ready to start the winter season.”
Kevin Antczak of Mainland Regional also had a great day at the regional meet.
He placed fourth in the sophomore race in 17:03 in a field of more than 100 runners.
The sophomore was dealing with a bad cough and had trouble running a few weeks ago. He went into the Meet of Champions with the illness but still managed to place 102nd in 17:22.
Mainland coach Dan Heyman said Antczak, back to full health, wanted to give the regional race a shot.
“I am very happy for him,” Heyman said. “He had a nice race and ended the season on a high note. ... We are looking forward to the winter and the spring.”
Mainland senior Alyssa Aldridge, who won her third straight state Group III title this month and placed second at the Meet of Champions, started the girls race Saturday but was suffering from a pain in her side that affected her breathing as she ran.
The Georgetown-bound senior was forced to leave the race before she could finish.
“She was in striking distance,” Heyman said. “But I told her not to worry about it. She will finish her great career in the spring.”