BY TIM MORRIS
The cross-country season began in earnest for the Shore Regional High School girls Saturday at the Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel Park.
After spending the first month running just dual meets, Mel Ullmeyer’s Shore Regional Blue Devils made their 2004 invitational debut with encouraging results. Shore’s girls were second to Pope John XXIII in the Varsity E Division, 66-114.
Shore, which will be bidding for its fourth straight NJSIAA Group cross-country state championship later in the year, stacked its first four runners within 11 positions finishing 12th through 23rd.
Martine McGrath led the way in 112 place (20:47) followed by Nicole Ullmeyer, 19th (21:04), Justine Carnevale, 22nd (21:09) and Laura Embrey, 23rd (21:10). The Blue Devils’ fifth scorer was Lauren Ostrowsky in 41st overall and 38th in team scoring at 21:43.
Shore had a five runner average of 21:10.
The Blue Devils are ranked 16th in the state, but No. 1 in Group II. At the Shore Coaches, they beat Chatham (135) and Rumson-Fair Haven (175), two of their main Group challengers, who finished third and fourth. The Blue Devils will not be competing against Pope John in the state meets.
Rumson’s effort on Saturday was led by Sara Robinson, who finished 11th (20:40), and Samantha Marinko, who was 18th (21:01).
Shore’s boys were eighth (299) and Rumson, ninth (324). The top area boy was Rumson’s Andy Sharkey, who was 15th (17:16). Joe Ruane led the Blue Devils in 32nd (17:42).
Red Bank Catholic positioned its first five runners in the top 24 points positions and finished second to Voorhees, 71-87, in the Girls Varsity D Division.
First across the finish line for Mary Banks’ Caseys was Kat Shareshian, who was 11th in 20:51. Jen Booton (21:20) and Janine Louie (21:21), finished alongside each other in 18th and 19th. Michelle McGrath (21:44) and Tina Forgach (21:55) were the fourth and fifth scorers for the Caseys and they were 26th and 29th overall.
Over in the Boys C Division, Ocean’s Brian Washakowski finished eighth after a 17:12 effort and led the Spartans to a third place (151) behind Ridge (110) and Holmdel (138).
Greg Kremler came through with a top 20, finish taking 17th (17:30). Mike Heavey was 29th (17:48) for the Spartans.
The next gathering at Holmdel Park will be the Monmouth County Championships Oct. 19. Shore’s girls, edged by Howell last fall, will be out to make amends this year. Howell will again be in the mix, along with Colts Neck, Holmdel and RBC.
Colts Neck has the prerace individual picks in Craig Forys and Ashley Higginson and defending boys’ champion Christian Brothers Academy is expected to run off with another boys’ crown.