Coaches Tim McLoone, in gray cap, and Henry Mercer, at center, mingle with supporters at Meadowridge Park before Friday’s dedication of a plaque, below, honoring the 2011 Rumson-Fair Haven girls’ cross-country team. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)
By WIL FULTON
McLoone, a well-known local business owner and philanthropist, called the occasion a celebration of the sport itself.
Cross-country is such a tough, demanding sport, he said. And its really still under the radar. We really dont get a lot of press for what we do. So its nice to have this monument up for everyone to see. And personally, its a little overwhelming.
The plaque declares Meadowridge Park the Home of Rumson-Fair Haven Cross Country, and commends the years of personal dedication McLoone and Mercer have given over the better part of a decade.
It also singles out the 2011 girls team, who were the number-one team in New Jersey as well as the winners of the prestigious 2011 Meet of Champions.
Even though that team is mentioned specifically, its really just a part of the entire spectrum of what weve been able to do,” McLoone said. “Its nice to have something that marks our home turf in Meadowridge.
“This place is special to us. Weve spent a lot of time running these trails, and its one of the first places we came back to after we won State, McLoone said.
Mercer and McLoone both gave emotional, passionate speeches in front of the new plaque and gathered crowd, with many families and cross-country runners, current and former, there to show their support for the two men who spent so much time helping them hone their skills.
Were the lucky ones, Mercer said of himself and McLoone. Were the ones who ultimately benefit the most from being able to work with the kids and help them on their way.
I never did it for any reason except for my love of the sports and my love of the kids, McLoone said. Were runners and this is what we do. Who knows? Maybe this plaque being here will inspire some others to run these trails, he added.
This plaque is the second of its kind that has been erected in Meadowridge.The first was dedicated in 2012 to former Rumson Mayor Charles Paterno for his work with the recreation programs and the acquisition of the property that is now Meadowridge Park.