Photo taken by Megan Kohlweck
Season closes on a high note at Holmdel Park
November 15, 2014 - Holmdel Park is the mecca of New Jersey cross country. It is the home of Groups and Meet of Champions. It is the battleground for peak-racing and post-season conquest. It is the most feared, yet revered, 5k course in the Northeast region, but for Manville High School, it is the birth place of a new dynasty.
"To boldly run where no team has run before" should be the motto for this industrious team. The 2014 season, emblazoned with tremendous pride and courage, will always be remembered as a defining moment in school history. It was the year in which participants became pioneers, fledglings became front-runners, and children became champions. It was the year when the bar was raised, the standards reset, and the program was changed forever. It was this team that left the pack and surged ahead.
Before Saturday, the fastest time ever run at Holmdel Park by a Manville girl runner was 23:18 set in 1998 by Kristen Deitrich. She was the only Manville runner ever to break 24 minutes on Holmdel Park's treacherous course - until this year. Three girls broke that barrier and paced Manville to a 16th-place showing at Groups, as well as the school's fastest team avearge time of 23:56. Gloria Yakobchuk saved her best race for last as she tore through the course in a record-time of 22:32. She finished 58th overall, and now owns the fastest times on Natirar Park and Holmdel Park, both of which are in the 22:00s. Jenna Molesko, who also broke Deitrich's record, nearly broke the 23-minute mark with her outstanding performance of 23:02, which was even faster than her previous PR a week earlier at Sectionals. Also running a moster PB at Holmdel was Kate Bowden, who ran 23:31 (now 4th on the all-time list behind Gloria, Jenna, and Deitrich), which was nearly two minutes faster than she ran at Holmdel Park in early October of this year (at Shore Coaches). Between the two of them, Jenna and Kate own all of the junior course records for Manville HS.
The Lady Mustangs were without Sarah Michitsch, who sprained her ankle in practice several days earlier. Sarah, still on crutches, was unable to race, but still cheered on her teammates from the sidelines. It was through the help of her spectacular Sectionals race that the team was able to compete in this historic event.
Stepping up for the team in Sarah's absence was freshman sensation, Kayla Molesko, who ran one of her finest races of the season. She covered the hilly course in 24:51, over a minute faster than her debut attempt at Shore Coaches. Kayla's race gave Manville a huge boost and contributed to the team's record-setting team average.
Providing additional firepower for the Mustangs were veteran runners Ola Kaczor (25:48) and Victoria Wanjohi (25:55), each of whom ran new Holmdel PBs. Victoria's time was a minute faster than her Shore Coaches time, and both girls are now ranked 7th and 8th respectively on the all-time list for Manville runners at Holmdel Park.
The boys team had an equally impressive day. Their team average time of 19:24 was a new school record, which obliterated the record-setting time they ran at Shore Coaches (20:11). Each of the top four runners broke 20 minutes, and Frankey Arevalo became only the fourth runner in school history to break the hallowed 19-minute barrier. His time of 18:55 was among his best races of all-time. Not far behind were Stephan Nash (19:04) and Erik Warren (19:17), who each provided a new Holmdel Park personal best. Stephan's performance was three seconds faster than last week's Sectional race, which is astounding considering the difference in difficulty. Erik's performance was 50 seconds faster than he ran earlier in the season at Shore Coaches. Having a strong top three fueled Manville to a 16th place finish over Central Jersey rivals South Amboy and South River, as well as other Group-qualifying teams Secaucus and Academy Charter. Finishing fourth for Manville was Ricky "the Rocket" Monterroso, who has been on a recent hot-streak with his second consecutive race in the 19:00s. Ricky finished with a new Holmdel Park best time of 19:47. Finishing out the top five for Manville was freshman star, Andrew Nash, who also recorded a new Holmdel PB of 20:05. Racing at Groups is a very rare and exclusive opportunity, let alone as a freshman! Rounding out the top seven for Manville were Andrew Monterroso (20:23), who ran his best time at Holmdel Park, and Matt Honkisz (21:20), who was running on an injured ankle from earlier in the week.
Supporting the Mustangs at the Group 1 State Championship were parents Neil Warren and Karla Monterroso, teachers, Mr. Caldwell and Mr. McMahon, team assistant Erynn Carr, former graduate Luis Monterroso, as well as a strong crowd of Manville XC runners including Sharif Chaudhri, Michaela Hvizdak, Richard George, Kevin Morales, Ashley Picado, and Jonathan Tran.
Manville runners rewrite history as both teams qualify for the Group 1 State Championship
November 8, 2014 - It was a dream come true. After months of high mileage, hard work, and hills, the Manville cross country program brought home the greatest prize of all - their first-ever ticket to the Group State Championship. It took the collective efforts of 14 accomplished athletes to achieve this incredible feat. Their story and more can be found in the "Sectionals" tab at the top of this page:
Nash the Flash wins time trial as Mustangs
gear up for Sectional showdown
November 1, 2014 - November has finally arrived after a long, strenuous week of work, which included Monday's race at Natirar, Tuesday's hilly run at Duke Farms, Wednesday's long run at the canal path, Thursday's recovery day at Duke Farms, Friday's 1600m time trial, and Saturday's strength training marathon.
The 1600m time trial was a huge success as 27 runners completed the fast-paced track-out. A total of 10 boys broke 5:50, including seven under 5:30. Stephan Nash led from the start and crossed the finish line in a stunning 5:10. Not far behind were Frankey Arevalo (5:14), Erik Warren (5:16), and freshman Andrew Nash (5:23). The girls were led by senior Gloria Yakobchuk who ran a personal best time of 6:25. Other top finishers for the girls were Kate Bowden (6:41), Ola Kaczor (6:44), Sarah Michitsch (6:45), and Victoria Wanjohi (6:58).
The very next morning, the team held practice on a miserable, rainy Saturday and pushed through a 70-minute strength training session that involved 12 different exercises. See "Season Statistics" page for more details.
Spectacular performances at Skyland Meet
October 27, 2014 - It was perfect weather for running (sunny and 65 °) thanks to a decision by park officials to move the Skyland Conference Championship to Monday. The Manville runners excelled to another level of success as both teams broke their previous best team average times at Natirar Park. The girls team took 2nd place among all small schools and also defeated larger schools Warren Hills and Franklin. Fueled by an outstanding team performance, the girls received standout races from Gloria Yakobchuk (22:32), Kate Bowden (23:03), Jenna Molesko (23:30), Kayla Molesko (23:49), Sarah Michitsch (24:21), and Victoria Wanjohi (25:14). The girls averaged a stunning 23:27 team average time, and Kayla's time was the fastest ever for a Manville freshman. Both she and her older sister, Jenna, ran career personal bests.
The boys team also posted a record-breaking team average time of 19:06, which was a full minute faster than their previous best. Led by a dynamic 1-2 punch of Frankey Arevalo (18:33) and Erik Warren (18:40), the Mustangs also received new personal bests from Stephan Nash (19:15), Andrew Nash (19:24), Andrew Monterroso (19:42), Jon Ahorrio (20:00), and Ricky Monterroso (20:12). Andrew Nash's time was the fastest freshman time ever recorded at Natirar Park by a Manville runner.
Other noteworthy performances included Richard George (22:30), Phoenix Pietrangelo (26:06), Klaudia Smutek (27:57), and Kevin Morales. Each ran a new all-time personal best.
Girls set new course record; boys win team title
October 11, 2014 - It was another great day for Manville Cross Country as the boys team placed 1st in the team scoring, while the girls team averaged a new school record of 24:07 at the XC Fall Classic held at Thompson Park.
The boys were missing two of their top five runners (Stephan and Andrew Nash), but still managed a 19:56 team avearge and a 58-second gap between their first and seventh runners. Through the help of six sophomores and one senior, Manville's tight pack ripped through the muddy 3.1 mile course and won by 26 points. The team crammed seven runners in the top 20 including Frankey Arevalo (19:35) and Erik Warren (19:37), who placed 5th and 6th respectively. A stunning performance by twin brothers, Andrew (20:05) and Ricky Monterroso (20:10), gave Manville a commanding lead over the other six schools in the race. The remainder of the team's top 7 included Jon Ahorrio (20:17), Jonathan Tran (20:19), and Allen Cordero (20:33).
The girls team was led by a spectacular team performance that featured three girls under the 24-minute mark. Gloria Yakobchuk placed 19th overall in a new Thompson Park personal best time of 23:16. Likewise, Kate Bowden (23:36), who also medaled, and Jenna Molesko (23:48) picked up their personal bests at Thompson Park. Contributing more course PRs were Ola Kaczor (24:32), Victoria Wanjohi (25:26), and Michaela Hvizdak (27:49). Ashley Picado (28:30) finished 7th for the team to close out the team scoring. Other noteworthy performances were run by Klaudia Smutek (29:18), Nicole Dima (29:25), and Nicholle Swindell (29:46).
PRs go down as Manville wraps up regular season
October 8, 2014 - Twenty-four runners set new personal bests as the boys and girls teams each claimed their 6th win of the regular season. The boys (6-3) dominated the race by defeating South Hunterdon, North Plainfield, and Warren Tech on the flat paths at Duke Island Park. Five runners broke 19 minutes including Frankey Arevalo (18:25), Erik Warren (18:47), Stephan Nash (18:48), Matt Honkisz (18:49), and Andrew Nash (18:58). Andrew Monterroso (19:15) dropped over a minute off his previous best time to place 6th on the team. Allen Cordero finished 7th in a new PR of 19:27. Other noteable PRs were set by Jon Ahorrio (19:30) and Ricky Monterroso (20:21).
The girls team shut out North Plainfield, but lost to undefeated South Hunterdon. Leading the team was Kate Bowden (22:17) followed by Gloria Yakobchuk (22:31) who each smashed their previous best times by almost a minute. Ola Kaczor placed 3rd for Manville in a new PR of 23:33, while Kayla Molesko (24:13), Sarah Michitsch (24:14), Victoria Wanjohi (24:21), and Ashley Picado (25:48) all posted new PRs as well. Chelsea Phuangthong also ran a personal best time of 29:53.
Manville shines bright at Shore Coaches Meet
October 4, 2014 - Despite the rainy weather, the Mustangs showcased their best performance of the season by setting two school records at Holmdel Park, New Jersey's most historic and hilly course. The boys placed 4th out of 14 schools and averaged 20:11 as a team, which broke the previous record of 20:45 set in 2013. The team was led by a fierce pack consisting of Erik Warren (19:56), Stephan Nash (20:04), Frankey Arevalo (20:06), and Andrew Nash (20:11). They captured four consecutive places from 15th to 18th. Rounding out the top seven spots were Allen Cordero (20:39), Matt Honkisz (20:39), and Andrew Monterroso (20:45). All seven boys finished in the top 30, which earned each of them a medal.
The girls team stormed the finish line with a 25:24 team average time, which crushed the school's previous best mark of 28:07, set in 2013. They placed 6th out of 17 schools, and recorded three of the best individual Holmdel performances in recent memory. Gloria Yakobchuk ran a new Holmdel best time of 24:27 and placed 20th overall. Kate Bowden (25:13) and Jenna Molesko (25:24) each ran new Holmdel PRs, which were faster than anyone ran last year. Other top finishers from included Ola Kaczor (25:54), Kayla Molesko (26:04), Victoria Wanjohi (26:53), and Sarah Michitsch (27:12). Other noteworthy performances were Lindsay Burlew (30:54) and Chelsea Phuangthong (33:16), who each improved over 3 minutes from last year's mark.
Yakobchuk & Bowden lead girls to 5-1 record
October 1, 2014 - The "Lady Mustangs" are currently 5-1 after an outstanding performance against Rutgers Prep and Belvidere on October 1st. The girls picked up their fourth straight win and were once again powered by the 1-2 punch of Gloria Yakobchuk and Kate Bowden. A week earlier, Yakobchuk placed 1st overall against Immaculata and Koinonia Academy with a personal best time of 23:11, while Bowden placed 4th overall in a personal best time of 23:18. The girls defeated Immaculata by one point (28-29) thanks to a great pack effort by Jenna Molesko (24:22), Vicky Wanjohi (25:07), Sarah Michitsch (25:27), and freshman Kayla Molesko (25:27).
Manville added extra firepower to the mix against Rutgers Prep and Belvidere with the return of Ola Kaczor (25:22) who placed 4th for the Mustangs. The girls will wrap up their regular season on October 8 against South Hunterdon and North Plainfield.
The Manville boys lost to Rutgers Prep, but shut out Belvidere with a strong close-knit pack. A week earlier, the boys lost by a narrow margin to Immaculata (26-31), but recorded one of the fastest team average times in school history. The top five runners averaged 19:20, which included new PRs from Frankey Arevalo (18:31), Erik Warren (18:59), Stephan Nash (19:34), Matt Honkisz (19:40), Allen Cordero (19:53), freshman Andrew Nash (20:01), and Jonathan Tran (20:17).
Girls (6-2) - 4th in Central Jersey, Group 1
Boys (6-3) - 3rd in Central Jersey, Group 1
2014 Season Preview:
Manville returns with a huge roster of 38 runners including senior captains Matt Honkisz (left), Gloria Yakobchuk (middle), and Erik Warren (right).
From left to right: Chelsea Phuangthong, Nicholle Swindell, Victoria Wanjohi, Kayla Molesko, Gloria Yakobchuk, Jenna Molesko, Ola Kaczor, Klaudia Smutek, Kate Bowden, and Lindsay Burlew.