PARSIPPANY – Sean Sullivan completed his triple crown with a victory at the North 2, Group 2 cross-country championships Saturday.
The Rutherford senior won the race in 16:15.70, an impressive mental and physical accomplishment.
“I was a little tired because of a week of travel visiting schools,” Sullivan said. “I may have been spent, but it was important to me that the team performed well. I was also motivated today by the triple crown [league, county and sectional titles], which I’ve never won before.”
Sullivan previously won the Bergen County Group D championship in 16:10 and the NJIC Colonial crown with a 16:47.
Rutherford finished fourth Saturday with 132 points, with team winner Bernards scoring 53 at Central Park of Morris County.
Sullivan was not the only Rutherford runner with a sparkling performance. Christie Na finished fourth among the Group 2 girls. The senior met the expectations she and her coaches had set for herself.
“I learned a lot junior year,” Na said . “The coaches said a lot to encourage me but at the same time they didn’t want to put pressure on me or psych me out.”
Na stuck to her race strategy and finished in 20:28.55.
“I just wanted to keep up with the Bernards girls, to run smart and not get out too early. I wish I kicked a little harder, but I’m happy with how it worked out.”
Ally Schlosser of Parsippany won the girls Group 2 race in 19:16.44, leading her team to the title with 54 points.
Lyndhurst’s Megan Rudden had the second best showing among North Jersey Group 2 girls with an eighth place (21:07.92). Her team led North Jersey squads with 104 points, good for third place.
Lyndhurst’s boys competed in their first Group 2 meet after switching from Group 1, earning 151 points. They tied for fifth with McNair Academic.
“It’s different, there’s stronger competition, but it’s important that we got stronger as a team over the course of the season,” said Xavier Locke, who was the top Lyndhurst runner with a 17:06.29, good for sixth place. Teammate Isaiah Aviles took seventh with a 17:08.15.
New Providence swept the Group 1 races. The Pioneer girls took the top three spots and finished with 21 points.
Secaucus was second with 74 points, led by Roshni Patel (fifth place, 20:55.25) and Mehek Parikh (seventh place, 21:12.27).
Palisades Park’s Arianna Lopez finished fourth with a 20:41.33, the highest place in the girls event among North Jersey competitors.
Dante Gonzalez of Palisades Park (ninth, 17:51.61) was the top area Group 1 boys finisher and seventh-place Secaucus (168 points) was the top North Jersey team.