Colt harriers gear up for another title run

first_img BY TIM MORRISStaff Writer It’s a new year with new challenges for the state champion Christian Brothers Academy boys cross country team. A year ago, the focus was on becoming one of the great teams in school and state history. The Colts achieved that lofty goal at the Meet of Champions where they set the state record at Holmdel Park for team average with a five-runner average of 16:56.10. The Colts went on to finish eighth at the Nike Team National Championships in Portland, Oregon. The top three runners from that state championship team, Chris Horel, Kevin Rogers and Greg Leach have all graduated leading many to conclude that the Colts can be had this fall. How many times can they reload? But not so fast. At a recent team two-mile time trial, the Colts had a team record 16 runners break 10:40. The most they had before was 12. “We are incredibly deep,” said coach Tom Heath. Along with the depth, the Colts have Chris Lombardi (26th at the MOC in 16:26), Anthony Pellegrino and Brandon Pierson returning from the school’s 15th MOC championship team. Lombardi and Pierson have emerged as the team’s clear leaders. What Heath is looking for now is for the time gap between them and the rest to continue to decrease as CBA gears for another championship run. Heath was disappointed with the team’s 5K time trial last month, but has grown optimistic since. “We started slowly in the time trial, but we appear to have picked it up,” he said. “There has been significant improvement.” To Heath, that is the sign of a very good team. Because of the team’s depth behind its three returnees, the top seven will change throughout the season. At this time, there is just 15 seconds between the team’s No. 3 runner and everyone else. At this point, some of the runners who have been impressing are senior Taylor Zorski, junior Kyle Havard and sophomores Dennis Smith and Jim McMillan. CBA will make its invitational debut on Sept. 30 at the Passaic Coaches Meet. The first big meet is the Shore Coaches Invitational on Oct. 7 at Holmdel Park. On Oct. 14 the Colts will gear up for always important Manhattan Invitational at Van Cortlandt Park, in the Bronx, New York City. The Monmouth County Championships are Oct. 17 at Holmdel and the Shore Conference meet is at Ocean County Park in Lakewood on Oct. 28. Colts Neck and Jackson would appear to be CBA’s challengers at these respective meets. It’s on to the NJSIAA Groups Championships on Nov. 11 with the MOC, Nov. 18 at Holmdel. BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer last_img