For High School South’s cross country squads, it’s been another exciting season. “I think we should be ranked among the top 20 teams in the state,” says Chris Bond, the coach of the Pirates’ boys team. “We have really come quite a ways.”

Junior Joe Ennis will be only the second boys cross country runner to run in the Meet of Champions on Saturday, November 20, at Holmdel. “Joe is the district’s first in about 25 years,” says Bond.##M:[more]##

South, finishing with a 10-1 overall record, started the season strong relying on Ennis and fellow senior Everett Schlawin. But as the season wore on, other runners started stepping up as well. A second place showing in the Mercer County Tournament (after finishing seventh last year) is an indication of how was far the team has progressed since the beginning of the season. The race, which took place at Veterans Park, saw Ennis finished first overall with a time of 15:48. Sophomore Chris Reale finished seventh, with a time of 16:43. Schlawin finished 15th, in 16:59, with fellow senior Jason Chen finishing a half a step faster. Also, senior Brian Chen finished 20th, in 17:05 and junior Josh Kezele finished 22nd, in 17:13.

South boys also did well in the NJSIAA Group Championships on November 13 at Holmdel, finishing 13th overall. Ennis finished 25th, in 16:55; Schlawin finished 59th, in 17:34; and Jason Chen finished 75th, in 17:46.

With Ennis, Reale, Kezele, as well as junior Mike Meers, all expected back next year, Bond has high hopes for 2005. “You could really see us coming into our own,” he says. “We might be one of the top 10 teams in the state.”

South girls continue to strut their stuff, finishing undefeated in the regular season, winning the Mercer County Championship on November 5 at Veterans Park, and finishing in fifth place in the NJSIAA Group Championships on November 13 at Holmdel. Senior Allison Warner has emerged as the top pirate, finishing second (18:43) in the MCT and 9th (19:23) in the Groups.

The Lady Pirates will lose some of their top runners to graduation next year, including Warner, Lisa Miller, Christina Brocker, Michelle Barbarasch, Florence Lee, Emily Piuggi, and Tori Musuneci. But with freshman Kelsey O’Connor (who finished 11th in the MCT), Gabi Feibel (finished 7th) and freshman Ashley Erickson among those coming back, the Pirates hope to build another powerhouse for 2005.

North boys cross country finished with a 10-2 record and in third place in this year’s Mercer County Tournament on November 5 at Veterans Park. Seniors Roland Bisio (16:25) and Mike Page (16:34) finished third and fifth respectively. North coach Brian Gould will hope for continued improvement next year from returning veterans Will Munoz, Bo Wang, Sean McNulty, and Colin Chudzik.

Coach Bill Mealy’s Lady Knights cross country team battled adversity fort most of the year, but still finished 9-3. It finished seventh in the MCT on November 5. Returning runners for 2005 include Sweeki Swankar, Kylea Meredith, and Julia Xu.