By Wayne Witkowski
New Egypt High School quietly ended its girls’ and boys’ cross-country seasons in the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group I sectionals but enjoyed success during the season that bodes well for the future. Only two boys and one girl are seniors.
The girls, fielding a full team for only the second year, finished second in the Burlington County Scholastic League (BCSL) Freedom Division behind lone senior Tiffany Bautista, who finished second in the division championship meet held at New Egypt in 22:15 and was a first team all-division selection. Sophie Delgado, a sophomore, finished in 10th place in 26:06 and was second team all-division. Cara Ellis, a sophomore who also was second team all-division, was 14th in the division race in 27:28.
Bautista was 22nd in the sectional meet in 22:15 and Ellis was 59th in 26:03.50.
Coach Mick Hughes said he can build for the future with other runners who also contributed, such as junior Madison Roveda and sophomores Jane Emery and Olivia Amatucci.
As for the boys’ team also coached by Hughes, it finished in third place in the BCSL Freedom. Sophomore Josh Martinez came on strong late in the season to lead the Warriors in the big meets. He was timed in 18:47 for seventh place in the division championship meet and earned first-team all-division. Senior James Sonday and freshman Ben Grochowski earned second team all-division. Sonday finished 11th in the division championship meet in 19:12. Grochowski was 13th in 19:18.
Hughes said depth helped the boys’ team, as senior Brady Mannion, junior Zach Young and sophomores Kieran Callaghan and Brady Seuss contributed.
Martinez led seven finishers in the sectional meet in 19:32.40 for 58th place, while New Egypt was 11th in the team standings. The next four Warriors finished closely together: Sonday was 66th in 19:50.10, Grochowski was 67th in 19:51.70, Callaghan placed 69th in 20:02.23 and Seuss finished 70th in 20:09.70. Young placed 77th in 20:26.60, and Mannion was 81st in 20:33.30.
“They worked hard, and I can’t ask for more with the tremendous amount of effort on a daily basis and how they were like a family with the way they treated each other so well,” Hughes said.
Hughes can enjoy the next two weeks off before starting the winter season in his second season as varsity boys basketball coach at New Egypt. Practice starts Nov. 21, and New Egypt again will host its Warrior Classic with Steinert High School, Raritan High School and Pinelands Regional High School as the other three teams entered.
Hughes says he has plenty to work with at the outset, as many return from the team that won six of its last nine games to finish 10-16. Winning the close games is important for this season, according to Hughes, as New Egypt was 1-4 when games went to overtime. Five losses were by four or fewer points.
Gino Tortoriello graduated off last year’s team, but Ryan Devine, a senior guard who averaged 11.7 points and sank a team-best 65 of the Warriors’ 141 three-point baskets, and 6-foot-2 junior forward Owen Raab, who averaged 12.3 points, lead the returnees. Others are junior guard Anthony Burr, who sank 8.1 points per game, and 6-foot-2 junior forward Quinn Kimmick.
Anthony Rinaldi, who is making a comeback from his bout with Hodgkin’s disease diagnosed during the early part of last season, has been medically cleared, and Hughes said Rinaldi started workouts in the gym in July.
Mike Rotondo and John Tortoriello return to the coaching staff.
Daniel Sharo finished 21st in 16:44.49 and Jeff Stewart was 26th in 16:47.02 to lead Jackson Memorial High School’s boys to a ninth-place finish in the team standings in NJSIAA South Jersey, Group IV Nov. 5 at Delsea Regional High School in Franklinville. Sharo and Stewart are juniors.
Senior Dan Claudeo finished 38th in 17:00.92, while freshmen Nick Coakley (54th in 17:27.31) and Mitch Engle (67th in 17:44.16) rounded out the Jaguars’ top finishers.
As for Jackson Memorial’s girls, Kaitlyn Sauickie led her team to a seventh-place finish in South Jersey, Group IV by coming in 18th in 19:44.0, while Alexa Robinson (20th in 19:49.0) and Paige Hurle (23rd in 19:51.0) followed. Freshman Stephanie Uveges was 45th in 20:44.0.
Dan Duffy finished 10th in 17:05.80 for Jackson Liberty High School’s boys, who placed ninth in Central Jersey, Group III at Thompson Park. Dylan Stinner (31st in 18:04.90) and Matt Vargas (45th in 18:23.30) also ran well.
Samantha Corallo led Jackson Liberty’s girls to a ninth-place finish in Central Jersey, Group III with a 17th-place finish in 21:51.10. Suzanne Zuagg was 46th in 23:45 and Kelsey Brown placed 59th in 24:54.80.