Rockets’ Howe gets first win at Battle of Monmouth

first_img VERONICA YANKOWSKI Matawan’s Denise Plourde reaches the finish line at Saturday’s Shore Coaches Battle of Monmouth meet at Battlefield State Park in Manalapan. Greg Howe left no stone unturned this summer as he looked to make a complete comeback from the torn hip flexor that sidelined him from the cross country season last fall. The Raritan High School senior was up and running by the indoor track season, and then came up with a satisfying outdoor campaign that included a 10:00 for 3,200 meters. Over the summer he built on that track momentum. He ran weekly at Lake Takanassee, and on the weekends put in long runs of up to 13 miles to make sure he was in the best condition possible for the cross country season. Saturday Howe’s off-season work ethic was rewarded with a satisfying victory in the first big race of the season, the Shore Coaches Battle of Monmouth, held at Battlefield State Park in Manalapan. Howe defeated a strong field in capturing the Senior Division race in 16:54 over the 5K course held within the park. “I made my move in the last three-quarters of a mile,” Howe said after his win. “I wanted to stay with the lead group and outlast them.” All those punishing miles over the summer made Howe confident he could stay with all of the other contenders and then outrun them at the end. The Rocket went up against some familiar faces including Monmouth Regional’s Erik Brown, last year’s Central Jersey Group II runner-up, and Mater Dei’s Tom Santifort. “Erik and I have been racing each other since we were freshmen,” noted Howe. “We’re friends.” Brown was one of the harriers left behind when Howe put down the hammer in the last three-quarters of a mile. “This is my best time for this course. I was hoping that I’d win it,” Howe said. It was only fitting that the person giving Howe his gold medal at the end of the race was Holmdel’s Craig Segal (whose coach, Bill Loughran, was the meet director). Howe said that he logged his long weekend runs with Segal, who is considered the Shore’s top harrier. Howe’s goals for the 2001 season are to run in the 16:30s at Holmdel Park and make it to the Meet of Champions in November. His first steps toward those goals were promising, to say the least. Brown would post a 17:11.5 and take third, while Santifort was seventh (17:36.5). Mater Dei frosh James McDevitt took seventh in the Freshman Division, run over two miles in 11:32.7. The fastest frosh was Southern Regional’s Joe Simpson (11:07.4). The Rockets’ Kimberly Marshall ran eighth in the girls’ Sophomore Division race. She toured the Battlefield State Park course in 22:51.3. It was yet another Southern Regional harrier who picked up the win, Kegga Schaffer, in 21:10.1. At the Bernie Magee New Jersey Catholic Track Conference Cross Country Invitational, held at Warinanco Park in Elizabeth, Holmdel’s Amy Folchetti made an early statement by winning the Sophomore Division race. She turned in a 21:11.84 for the 3.2-mile course. Folchetti was 19th at last year’s Meet of Champions. Middletown South’s girls finished first overall in the meet, run by class with 126 points. The Eagles won the Junior Division with Tina Morrison showing the way (21:18.3) in seventh place, followed in 10th by Jane Wood (22:07.7). Nicole Lombary was the swiftest Eagle, taking fifth place in the Senior Division (20:35.83). Rumson-Fair Haven’s Christy Planer took the senior run in the best time of the day, 19:37.91. Warinanco Park will host the next big race of the season, Saturday’s Stewart Memorial. This race is also run by class. By tim morris Staff Writer last_img

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