MILLVILLE — Without much knowledge of a relatively new course, both Mainland Regional High School’s Kevin Antczak and Egg Harbor Township’s Olivia Shafer ran personal bests in winning the Cape-Atlantic League cross country championships Thursday.
The Ocean City boys team won the CAL team championship by one point over defending champion Mainland, 41 to 42. The defending champion Ocean City girls team put four runners in the top eight and won with 47 points. Mainland was second with 76.
Antczak, a junior, took the lead early in the boys race and won by nearly 30 seconds in 15 minutes, 16.85 seconds. Egg Harbor Township’s Gobi Thurairajah took second in 15:46:71, and Gavyn Fox led Ocean City by placing third in 15:50.67.
Antczak won the Atlantic County title last week in 15:18.73, which was his best at the time.
“I felt good, but I didn’t think it would be a PR,” said Antczak, a 16-year-old Northfield resident. “I didn’t think about going faster; I was just thinking to stay where I am. I was fourth in this race last year. I’m really happy with the time because I haven’t bumped down my miles yet in my training.
“The race was similar to last week. We (the team) came here on Saturday and did some speed training on the course. I thought it would be bumpy but I powered through it.”
Shafer ran just ahead of Ocean City’s Alexa Palmieri much of the way, and the EHT junior won in 18:00.97. Palmieri was about 15 yards back in second in 18:05.96. Alyssa Turner of Mainland was third in 18:36.33.
“This is my biggest win,” said Shafer, a 16-year-old EHT resident. “I improved my time by a lot over last week’s PR (she won the Atlantic County championship last week in 18:29:04). Alexa was really pushing me the whole time. I knew it would be close.
“We left school early today and walked the course. After a mile and a half, I was in the lead and went for it. I liked the course. There was a lot of grass. It’s a lot different than running on pavement. It feels great to win because I’ve worked so hard.”
After Ocean City’s Fox was third, Anthony Conte placed seventh (16:03.73), Tyler Green was ninth (16:07.69), Luke Kramer finished 10th (16:07.95) and Max Kelly was 12th in 16:09.51.
“It was a pleasant surprise,” Ocean City boys cross country coach Matt Purdue said. “We knew coming in that Mainland, Egg Harbor Township, Pleasantville and other teams would be tough. Mainland beat us in our dual meet. We were just hoping to race well and see what happens. It was a strong team effort. Our guys from 1 to 7 ran really well.”
After Palmieri’s second-place finish, the Ocean City girls team won it by 29 points with Rebecca Millar fourth (18:40:25), Casey McLees fifth (18:49:39), Brooke Farr eighth (19:22:54) and Kailey Grimley 29th (20:55:76). Grimley scored 28 because a runner ahead of her was on a team which didn’t have a full lineup.
“I think all of our girls ran well,” Ocean City girls cross country coach Trish Henry said. “It was a fast race and great competition. It was nice for the sport. The top two runners in the race were neck and neck the whole way. Then there was some spacing but our other runners did well too. Our fifth runner is a freshman and she ran very well.”
Note: An Ocean City runner collapsed in the jayvee girls race which was held after the varsity races, and Henry went with her to the hospital.
Henry said the runner is fine now.
1. Kevin Antczak M 15:16.85; 2. Gobi Thurairajah E 15:46.71; 3. Gavyn Fox O 15:50.67; 4. Artur Simoes Menezes M 15:51.95; 5. Jensen Nunez P 15:56.67; 6. Kyle Antczak M 15:58.87; 7. Atnhony Conte O 16:03.73; 8. Leo Zaccaria C 16:05.53; 9. Tyler Greene O 16:07.69; 10. Luke Kramer O 16 07.95; 11. Luke barnes E 10:08.74; 12. Max Kelly O 16:09.51; 13. Mike Liberty O 16:10.02; 14. Nicolas Valdivieso E 16:14.02; 15. Blake Corbett M 16:15.99.
1. Olivia Shafer E 18:00.97; 2. Alexa Palmieri O 18:05.96; 3. Alyssa Turner M 18:36.33; 4. Rebecca Millar O 18:40.25; 5. Case McLees O 18:49.39; 6. Raelynne Miller M 19:02.15; 7. Christina Adams L 19:12.54; 8. Brooke Farr O 19:22.54; 9. Angela Bannan H 19:30.21; 10. Joelle Osborne WC 19:37.54; 11. Megan WInterbottom C 19:39.60; 12. Michaela Pomatto E 19:39.87; 13. Samantha MArks OLMA 19:45.63; 14. Savannah Hodges M 19:55.79; 15. Ariana Ramirez ACIT 20:01.82.