RFH girlsThe Girls Cross Country team from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School won its third consecutive title at the NJSIAA Sectionals Meet, held November 9 in Monroe Township. (photos courtesy RFHRHS; click to enlarge)

For the third consecutive year — and the fourth time in the last five years — the Girls Cross Country team at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School won the Group 2 State Sectional title, at the annual Sectionals Meet hosted by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).

During the meet held Saturday, November 9 at Thompson Park in Monroe, NJ, the RFH Girls led the field at 29 points, leading the teams from Holmdel (72 points), Robbinsville (98 points) Monmouth Regional (146 points) and Raritan (161 points). Senior Jacqueline Gottuso led the team with a 2nd place finish at 18:58.15. Senior Megan Hellman followed closely behind in 3rd place, in 18:59.99. Junior Hannah Anderson finished in 5th place 19:30.57. Junior Rachel Lehnert finished in 8th place at 19:46.39, and Sophomore Morgan Steinhacker finished in 11th place at 20:06.35.  Junior Fini Satzke and Senior Courtney Howley rounded out the seven-person team.

McLoone RFHRumson-Fair Haven Cross Country coaches Tim McLoone, Henry Mercer and Catherine Satzke observe the action during the NJSIAA Sectionals competition on November 9.

“We knew we had a strong girls’ team coming in,” said Coach Tim McLoone, “but we didn’t want to take anything for granted, so it was good to see the girls burst right out from the gun. This was our third straight title, so it was something to savor.”

The R-FH boys finished in 4th place, with 104 points — behind Holmdel (43 points), Robbinsville (65 points) and Pt. Pleasant Boro (78 points) and ahead of Manasquan (154 points). Senior James Ball led the team, finishing in 10th place in 16:53.  Senior Jake Devito finished in 19th place in 17:14. Senior John Gibney finished in 20th place in 17:14. Next for the Bulldogs were Freshman Cole Stevens, who finished 27th at 17:23, and then Junior Brendan Thorpe at 28th in 17:23.  Freshmen Arthur Beyer and Jack Higgins rounded out the team.

“It was a tough field as usual, with state ranked Holmdel leading the way,” said McLoone, “but our top five put up an all-time top 10 ten RFH course record and were only 30 seconds apart, which is amazing.”

“Even more amazing, all seven runners broke 18:00, which never happened before,”  McLoone added. “To have three frosh in the middle of this is unprecedented for us.”

Both teams advance to the Group Championship scheduled for Saturday, November 16 at Holmdel Park.  The Girls run at 10:30 am, and the Boys at 11:30 am.  There is no parking at Holmdel Park for this meet, so spectators must park at the Vonage parking lot (just off Route 520) and take a shuttle bus to the course. The top three teams and top ten runners from each race will advance to the Meet of Champions on November 23.