2005 PJXC News

A Journey to the Top: The 2005 PJXC Preview

Sparta, nj (Aug. 29, 2005) � On November 20th, 2004, the Pope John cross-country team became the only team in New Jersey to have a boys and girls team make the podium (earn medals) at the NJ Meet of Champions.  Both teams finished in 6th place with 191 points in their respective races.  For the members of the team and the coaching staff, this was a fitting capstone to an unsurpassed successful season (see chart) and many hard months of training and racing.   



SCIL Champions 9-0*

22 straight dual meet win streak

SCIL Champions 9-0

38 straight dual meet win streak

Undefeated senior class (36-0)

SCIL Festival Winner (26 points)

2nd straight & 3rd in 4 years

Lowest point total ever

SCIL Festival Winner (24 points)

5th straight & 11th in 13 years

Most titles in SCIL history

Lowest point total ever

2nd place NJCTC Championships

Highest ever

3rd place NJCTC Championships

2nd place NJSIAA Non-Public A Championships

3rd place NJSIAA Non-Public A Championships

6th place NJ Meet of Champions

Highest ever

6th place NJ Meet of Champions

Highest ever

Shore Coaches Invitational Race �E� Winner

Shore Coaches Invitational Race �E� Winner

OLL Invitational Winner

7 All-SCIL athletes

Manhattan College Invitational Division Winner


6 All-SCIL athletes


On September 10th of 2005, the Pope John cross-country team will begin their assault on these achievements - and by the look of things, 2005 will be even better.

 For the girls, the 2005 season has the potential to bring unparalleled success.  With all but three athletes returning from the 2004 team and a record-setting track season behind them, the 2005 team should improve on their 6th place state finish of a year ago.  In addition, the team will be looking to expand their current 22-meet win streak in the SCIL and win their 3rd straight SCIL Festival.  With 5 girls having run under 2:25 for the 800m, 5:17 for the 1600m, and 11:35 for the 3200m, some analysts and coaches around the state believe the team has the potential to win the NJ Meet of Champions team title and earn a bid to the 2nd annual Nike Team Nationals in Portland, Oregon, becoming the best team in Sussex County history.  Leading the charge will be junior Lara Heigis (2:16 / 5:06 / 10:55); a 10th place finisher last season in the MOC�s who set school records in the 1600m and 3200m during the spring season.  Following Lara will be a threesome of seniors: Alessandra LaMastro (5:11), Brynn Merritt (2:20 / 5:11 / 11:15), and Elizabeth So (5:17 / 11:35).  All three girls are 2-time All SCIL selections and raced, along with Lara, on the 11th place Nike Outdoor Championships 4 x 1 mile relay team.  Other returning varsity athletes include: senior Anne Dauer (5:58), senior Liz Faherty (6:02), senior Liz Lemasters (school record holder indoor HJ), and junior Kelsey Murphy (5:35).  Kelsey is a returning All-SCIL performer, who was injured at the end of the 2004 season. Now healthy, Murphy should join the top racers.  Other returning members who will provide much needed depth and varsity points include: junior Grace Wilson (6:42), sophomore Casey Keller (5:48), and sophomore Zaharo Tsekouras (6:18).  In addition to the eleven returning athletes, three newcomers have joined the team: junior Lauren Bariexca (2:18 / 5:16), a transfer from West Morris Central High School, should join the top girls once her state-mandated 30 day transfer delay is up; sophomore Caitlyn Lees, a sprinter by nature, is looking to expand her range; and freshman Jenny Heigis (5:40), a heralded youth runner (and Lara�s sister), should vie for varsity status. 

Despite losing an undefeated senior class, the 2005 Pope John boys cross-country team is expected to continue the success of the past teams.  Goals for the season include: extending the dual meet win streak, extending the SCIL festival streak, and a top 4 finish at the NJ Meet of Champions.  Currently, the team has 11 members under 5:00 for the 1600m (4 under 4:35), and returns several key members of a year ago.  Leading the way will be senior Anthony LaMastro (1:54 / 4:15 / 9:26), the defending SCIL champion and 3rd team All-State selection.  On his heels should be junior Jeremy Scheid (4:30 / 9:32), an all-SCIL selection.  Other returning varsity members include: senior Dale Hammer (4:59), senior Mike Lamm (2:07 / 4:48), senior Paul Wilson (5:18 / 11:27), junior Tim Burns (4:47 / 10:34), junior Robert Lennon (4:59), junior Matt Pezzulo (2:04 / 4:47), junior Tom Roy (2:00 / 4:25 / 10:23), junior Clay Smith (4:35 / 10:27), sophomore Nick Beese (10:15), and sophomore Jon Juleus (4:49 / 10:34).  Smith is a returning All-SCIL performer, while Roy was All-SCIL during the track season and competed at the indoor and outdoor national championships.  Other athletes vying for varsity positions include: senior Isak Bond (5:15), senior Dave de la Fuente (2:20), junior Mike Peer (6:43), junior Mike Romano (5:26), sophomore Josh D�Anna (5:14 / 11:30), sophomore Graham Medak (5:20), sophomore Doug Murphy (5:01 / 11:15) and sophomore Tom Wilson (6:23).

The teams will embark on their goal-seeking journey on September 10th at the Big Purple XC Mania Invitational in Warwick, NY.


Girls Win Wave XC Mania Invitational

 warwick, ny (Sept. 10, 2005) � The Pope John Girls� Cross-Country team started their journey towards a state championship today as they opened their season in impressive fashion by winning the 3rd annual Warwick Valley �Wave Mania� XC Invitational.  The girls easily won the Varsity I division with 35 points and recorded the fastest team average of the day with a stellar 5-person average time (for the 5k course) of 19:42.

 Leading the way for the Lady Lions was Lara Heigis (�07) in second place with a time of 18:24, an improvement of 57 seconds from 1 year ago.  Lara raced in second the entire race as Aislinn Ryan of Warwick Valley, NY, the defending national cross-country champion, dominated the race with a course record 16:56.  Finishing second for the team was Brynn Merritt (�06) in 5th place with a time of 19:32, an improvement of 58 seconds from 1 year ago.  The next scorer for the Lady Lions was Alessandra LaMastro (�06) in 7th place with a time of 19:59.  This marked Alessandra�s first time under 20:00 for 5k and was an improvement of 89 seconds from a year ago.  Rounding out the scoring for the team were Jenny Heigis (�09), in her first varsity race, in 10th place in 20:13 and Liz So (�06) in 11th place with a time of 20:23.  Liz improved by 1 minute from last year�s race.  Also finishing in the medals for the varsity girls were Casey Keller (�08) in 17th place in 21:13 and Kelsey Murphy (�07) in 18th place with a time of 21:20.  For Casey, this was her first varsity cross-county race and a huge improvement from last year�s performances.  For Kelsey, this marked her first healthy race since last October as she recovered from various leg and hip injuries over the past 10 months.  Despite the long layoff, Kelsey still improved her time by 9 seconds from 1 year ago.

 In the JV race, all 5 runners earned medals and placed highly.  Liz Faherty (�06) led the way in 23:26, an improvement of 42 seconds from last season.  Following Liz was Anne Dauer (�06) in 23:44, 30 seconds faster than last season.  Liz Lemasters (�06) was next in for the Lady Lions in 25:11.  This was Liz�s first race back from a broken arm in the summer that hindered her training.  Caitlyn Lees (�08) followed Liz in 26:04, a respectable time as this was Caitlyn�s first attempt at a cross-country 5k.  And in the biggest improvement from last season, Grace Wilson (�07) finished in 27:19, a remarkable 1 minute and 56 seconds faster than her race 1 year ago.

The girls begin defense of their regular season SCIL championship at 4 PM on Tuesday (Sept. 13) at St. Paul�s Abbey with a dual meet against Kittatinny high school.


Girls Varsity (3.1)

Girls Junior Varsity (3.1)

2. Lara Heigis 18:24

7. Liz Faherty 23:26

5. Brynn Merritt 19:32

10. Anne Dauer 23:44

7. Alessandra LaMastro 19:59

15. Liz Lemasters 25:11

10. Jenny Heigis 20:13

20. Caitlyn Lees 26:04

11. Liz So 20:23

25. Grace Wilson 27:19

17. Casey Keller 21:13


18. Kelsey Murphy 21:20




1. Pope John 35


2. Warwick Valley (NY) 45


3. Corning 91


4. New Paltz 125


5. Wallkill Valley 135


6. Commack 148



Boys Finish 2nd behind Powerful Warwick Valley

 warwick, ny (Sept. 10, 2005) � The Pope John Boys� Cross-Country team finished a respectable 2nd at the 3rd annual Warwick Valley �Wave Mania� XC Invitational.  Topping the Lions was northeast regional power Warwick Valley, NY.  The Purple Wave of Warwick is currently ranked 7th in the Nike regional rankings and should move up after their performance (places 1-3 under the old course record and not racing the team�s #1 runner).

Running at the front of the race the entire way, Anthony LaMastro (�06) led the Lions in 4th place in 16:04, 30 seconds faster than last season.  Also, running in the front the entire way was Jeremy Scheid (�07) in 5th place with a time of 16:11, 23 seconds faster than last season.  Rounding out the scoring for the boys was Tom Roy (�07) in 13th place in 16:56, Nick Beese (�08) in 15th in 17:03 and Tim Burns (�07) in 25th place in 17:50.  For Tom, Nick and Tim, this was their first time racing the Warwick course.  Rounding out the varsity was Dale Hammer (�06) in 18:06, an impressive performance considering he is battling Lyme�s Disease, and Clay Smith (�07) in 18:43.

In JV action, Josh D�Anna (�08) looked impressive in 9th place running a remarkable time of 18:04.  Following Josh in scoring positions were Jon Juleus (�08) in 18:27, Mike Lamm (�06) in 18:35, Paul Wilson (�06) in 18:59 and Matt Pezzulo (�07) in 19:04.  Mike improved his time of last season by 32 seconds, while Paul bettered his by 41 seconds and Matt improved by 67 seconds.  The biggest improvement of the day belonged to Isak Bond (�06) in 19:15.  Isak improved his time by 1 minute and 39 seconds from 1 year ago.  Rounding out the JV top 7 was Robert Lennon (�07) in 19:20, 48 seconds faster than his time from last season.

In the freshman race, Kevin McCormick (�09) made his Pope John debut an impressive one by placing 5th in 8:46 for the 1.5 mile course.  Also, placing was Matt Hansen (�09) in 13:04, an impressive improvement from his time trials performances.

The boys begin defense of their regular season SCIL championship at 4 PM on Tuesday (Sept. 13) at St. Paul�s Abbey with a dual meet against Kittatinny high school.


Boys Varsity (3.1)

Boys Junior Varsity (3.1)

4. Anthony LaMastro 16:03

9. Josh D�Anna 18:04

5. Jeremy Scheid 16:11

??. Jon Juleus 18:27

13. Tom Roy 16:56

??. Mike Lamm 18:35

15. Nick Beese 17:03

??. Paul Wilson 18:59

25. Tim Burns 17:50

??. Matt Pezzulo 19:04

??. Dale Hammer 18:06

??. Isak Bond 19:15

??. Clay Smith 18:43

??. Robert Lennon 19:20


??. Tom Wilson 21:30


??. Graham Medak 22:22

1. Warwick Valley (NY) 25

??. Dave de la Fuente 23:04

2. Pope John 66

??. Mike Peer 27:38

3. Byram Hills 77


4. Pawling 121

Boys Freshman (1.5)

5. Corning 144

5. Kevin McCormick 8:46

6. Wallkill Valley 164

73. Matt Hansen 13:04


Teams Help an Injured Competitor

 warwick, ny (Sept. 10, 2005) � Showing that the sport of cross-country and athletics in general are about more than just competition, the Pope John cross-country teams raised money to help an injured Warwick Valley cross-country runner.  Don Rock Jr. was a runner on the Warwick Valley (NY) cross-country team until a horrific car accident this summer paralyzed him from the waist down.  Using their own money, led by the senior boys and girls, the team raised $650 to help defray the medical expenses for the Rock family. Though a small amount relative to the total sum facing the Rocks, the athletes have the strong belief that all cross-country runners are a family and they are duty-bound to help one another. 

Showing his own special enthusiasm and character, Don was present at the Warwick Valley �Wave Mania� XC Invitational handing out medals to the top finishers and helping runners through the finish chute.  The thoughts and prayers of the Pope John cross-country teams are with Don and his family.

 Information concerning donations to the Rock Fund can be directed to Coach Corcoran at briancorcoran@popejohn.org.

SCIL Competition Begins with Wins over Kittatinny

andover, nJ (Sept. 13, 2005) � The Pope John boys and girls cross-country teams opened their SCIL seasons today with solid wins over Kittatinny High School at St. Paul�s Abbey.  The Lions took the first 6 places in girls� races to record a 15 to 47 victory while the boys placed 14 runners in the top 16 to win 17 to 44.

The boys� squad swept the first 3 places in their race.  Anthony LaMastro (�06) and Jeremy Scheid (�07) easily placed 1st and 2nd in the time of 16:08, while Tom Roy (�07) used a nice finishing kick to finish 3rd in 16:23.  Other top 10 finishes for the boys included Nick Beese (�08) in 5th, Tim Burns (�07) in 6th, Jon Juleus (�08) in 8th, Josh D�Anna (�08) in 9th and Clay Smith (�07) in 10th.  For the Pope John Top 20 list, Anthony�s time is the 4th fastest senior class time; Jeremy�s time is a PR and 4th on the junior class list and 5th all-time; Tom ran the 6th fastest junior class time and tied Connor Fox (�98) for the 7th fastest time all-time.

Taking the first 6 spots for the Lady Lions were Alessandra LaMastro (�06), Liz So (�06), Jenny Heigis (�09), Lara Heigis (�07), Brynn Merritt (�06), and Kelsey Murphy (�07).  The first 5 girls finished together and registered a time of 20:26 for the 3.0 mile Abbey course.  Kelsey Murphy continued her comeback from injury with a 6th place finish in 21:05.  Other places for the team included Casey Keller (�08) in 10th, Liz Faherty (�06) in 11th, Anne Dauer (�06) in 12th, Liz Lemasters (�06) in 14th and Caitlyn Lees (�08) in 15th.  For the Pope John Top 20 list, Jenny�s time is #2 all-time on the freshman class list and #13 on the all-time list, while Alessandra, Liz and Brynn tied for the 6th fastest senior class time and Lara�s time is the 7th fastest junior class time.

 The teams will continue their SCIL season on Monday, September 19th with a dual meet against Hopatcong at Hopatcong High School.


Boys Results (3.0)

Girls Results  (3.0)

1. Anthony LaMastro 16:08

1. Alessandra LaMastro 20:26

2. Jeremy Scheid 16:08

2. Liz So 20:26

3. Tom Roy 16:23

3. Jenny Heigis 20:26

5. Nick Beese 17:13

4. Lara Heigis 20:26

6. Tim Burns 17:36

5. Brynn Merritt 20:26

8. Jon Juleus 18:06

6. Kelsey Murphy 21:05

9. Josh D�Anna 18:08

10. Casey Keller 23:14

10. Clay Smith 18:15

11. Liz Faherty 23:15

11. Matt Pezzulo 18:25

12. Anne Dauer 23:32

12. Paul Wilson 18:31

14. Liz Lemasters 26:44

13. Robert Lennon 19:01

15. Caitlyn Lees 26:49

14. Pat Rosendale 19:13


15. Isak Bond 19:44


16. Doug Murphy 19:59


18. Kevin McCormick 20:25


19. Mike Lamm 20:42


20. Ryan Norris 20:43


21. Graham Medak 20:53


23. Dave de la Fuente 21:40


24. Tom Wilson 22:24


28. Tom Schultz 26:34


30. Mike Peer 27:19


32. Matt Hansen 34:33



Boys Power to 40th Straight Win; Girls Win Easy

Hopatcong, nJ (Sept. 19, 2005) � The Pope John Boys� Cross-Country team ran to their 40th straight SCIL dual meet victory today over Hopatcong.  Using a strong second half, the boys dispatched the Chiefs by a score of 23 to 32.  The girls continued their dominance from last week by placing 1st though 4th and routing the Lady Chiefs 16 to 43.

 After a slower than expected start, Hopatcong held the first six spots after a half-mile, the boys team moved up and relied upon their up-front talent to withstand the strong challenge of the Chiefs.  Jeremy Scheid (�07) and Anthony LaMastro (�06) battled over the second half of the race with Mike Crum of Hopatcong and cruised in with 1st and 2nd place.  In addition, Tom Roy (�07) overcame an extremely slow start to notch 4th place and put the Lions in position for victory.  Rounding out the Top 7 positions for the boys were Nick Beese (�08) in 7th, Tim Burns (�07) in 9th, Dale Hammer (�06) in 11th, and Matt Pezzulo (�07) in 13th.  Also of note were the finishes of Joe Benedetto (�09) and Chris Gaus (�09), as both runners completed their first race as a PJXC harrier.

The outcome was never in doubt on the female side as Liz So (�06), Lara Heigis (�07), Alessandra LaMastro (�06), and Jenny Heigis (�09) separated themselves early in the race and cruised home with the first 4 positions.  Casey Keller (�08) moved up over the second half of the race to finish the team scoring with a 6th place showing.  Rounding out the Top 7 were Liz Faherty (�06) in 9th and Anne Dauer (�06) in 10th

 The teams will travel to historic Van Cortlandt Park this Saturday for a chance to test their fitness level and work on some pack running before the bigger invitational races in October.

Boys Results (3.1)

Girls Results  (3.1)

1. Jeremy Scheid 17:24

1. Liz So 23:00

2. Anthony LaMastro 17:25

2. Lara Heigis 23:01

4. Tom Roy 18:23

3. Alessandra LaMastro 23:02

7. Nick Beese 18:42

4. Jenny Heigis 23:03

9. Tim Burns 18:53

6. Casey Keller 24:31

11. Dale Hammer 19:12

9. Liz Faherty 25:26

13. Matt Pezzulo 19:32

10. Anne Dauer 25:33

14. Josh D�Anna 19:56

12. Liz Lemasters 26:35

15. Jon Juleus 20:09

16. Grace Wilson 33:15

16. Paul Wilson 20:23


17. Robert Lennon 20:28


19. Kevin McCormick 20:51


20. Isak Bond 20:59


21. Chris Gaus 21:17


24. Dave de la Fuente 22:49


26. Tom Wilson 23:04


27. Graham Medak 23:44


31. Joe Benedetto 27:13



Good Times at Xavier Invitational

 bronx, ny (Sept. 24, 2005) � Running on a picture-perfect day at historic Van Cortlandt Park is a dream for any high school runner and cross-country team.  Yesterday, the Pope John cross-country teams had a chance to live in their dream world.  Competing at the 27th annual Xavier Cross-Country Invitational on a beautiful 75 degree day, the teams looked every part their top 5 New Jersey ranking.  Using the meet as a tune-up for the October 15th Easterns, the girls� team swept the top 4 spots in the Varsity race and recorded an outstanding team average of 16:11, while the boys� took the top 2 places and recorded a 5-man average of 13:39.

Running in the first race of the day, the freshman girls race, Jenny Heigis (�09) set the tone for the day.  Running to the front of the race from the gun, Jenny steamrolled to a victory of almost 20 seconds and recorded the second fastest time in Pope John history on the freshman VCP course.  Her time of 9:59 is second to only her older sister Lara�s time of 9:34 set in 2003.

Using Jenny�s triumph as motivation, the Varsity girls sought to duplicate her dominance.  Using similar front running tactics, the Lady Lions were able to sweep the top 4 places in the race.  Leading the entire way and setting a new Pope John VCP record was Lara Heigis (�07) in 15:05.  Following Lara across the line was a pack of three seniors, Brynn Merritt (�06), Elizabeth So (�06) and Alessandra LaMastro (�06), in 16:18.  The 5th, 6th and 7th fastest times ever run on the VCP 2.5 mile course by a Pope John female.  Rounding out the top 5 was Casey Keller (�08) in a phenomenal time of 16:56, which places her #2 on the all-time sophomore list and #9 on the all-time Pope John Top 20 list.  In addition to the Top 5, three other athletes recorded much improved performances from last season.  Liz Faherty (�06) ran 18:44, an improvement of 41 seconds from last year�s race.  Anne Dauer (�06) ran 19:02, an improvement of 9 seconds from last season.  And Grace Wilson (�07) ran 22:31, an improvement of 1 minute and 54 seconds from last year�s race.

After witnessing the dominance of the girls, the Pope John boys were up next.  And just like Jenny Heigis, the freshman boys started things off well.  Running with the leaders the entire race, Kevin McCormick (�09) and Chris Gaus (�09) finished 3rd and 4th respectively to highlight the freshman boys.  Kevin� time of 9:30 places him #8 on the all-time freshman Pope John list.  Also, running respectable times in their first freshman races were Joe Benedetto (�09) in 10:49, Brad Holenstein (�09) in 10:54 and Jeff Wimbush (�09) in 13:32.  Rounding out the freshman team was Matt Hansen (�09) in 14:51 (his second freshman race ever).

 In sub-varsity action, Jon Juleus (�08) and Matt Pezzulo (�07) ran the fastest times and had the most impressive performances.  Juleus finished 4th in the sophomore boys� race in 14:17, 6th on the Sophomore boys list and #16 on the all-time Pope John VCP top 20 list.  Pezzulo placed 5th in the junior race in 14:39, an improvement of 54 seconds from last season�s race.  Also improving greatly from last season were Robert Lennon (�07) in 15:36, 30 seconds better than last year�s race, and Isak Bond (�06) in 15:12, a PR by 1:07 on the VCP course.

  Not to be outdone by all the earlier success, the Varsity boys made their mark in the final race of the day.  Anthony LaMastro (�06) triumphed for the 2nd year in a row with a personal best time of 12:57 (#2 all-time PJ list).  Following Anthony across the line in 2nd was Jeremy Scheid (�07) in 13:10, a PR of 20 seconds and #4 on the all-time list.  The next man through for the Lions was Tom Roy (�07) in 8th in 13:46.  This was Tom�s first race at VCP and he recorded the 8th fastest time ever for a Pope John male.  Also running the VCP 2.5 course for the first time were Nick Beese (�08) and Tim Burns (�07).  Nick finished in 14:08 (#4 sophomore time and #12 all-time) while Tim, in his strongest race of the season, ran 14:13 (#15 all-time).  Rounding out the Top 7 were Dale Hammer (�06) in 14:42, an improvement of 36 seconds from a year ago, and Clay Smith (�07) in 14:45.

 The teams return to SCIL action at 4 PM on Tuesday (Sept. 27) at Station Park in Sparta with a tri-meet against Lenape Valley High School and Sparta High School.


Girls Varsity (2.5)

Boys Varsity (2.5)

1. Lara Heigis 15:05

1. Anthony LaMastro 12:57

2. Brynn Merritt 16:18

2. Jeremy Scheid 13:10

3. Liz So 16:18

8. Tom Roy 13:46

4. Alessandra LaMastro 16:19

??. Nick Beese 14:08

??. Casey Keller 16:56

??. Tim Burns 14:13

??. Kelsey Murphy 18:33

??. Dale Hammer 14:42

??. Liz Faherty 18:44

??. Clay Smith 14:45

??. Anne Dauer 19:02


??. Caitlyn Lees 20:48

Boys Junior (2.5)

??. Grace Wilson 22:31

5. Matt Pezzulo 14:39


??. Isak Bond 15:12

Girls Freshman (1.5)

??. Paul Wilson 15:25

1. Jenny Heigis 9:59

??. Robert Lennon 15:36


??. Mike Lamm 15:53

Boys Freshman (1.5)

??. Dave de la Fuente 16:58

3. Kevin McCormick 9:30


4. Chris Gaus 9:36

Boys Sophomore (2.5)

??. Joe Benedetti 10:49

3. Jon Juleus 14:17

??. Brad Holenstein 10:54

??. Josh D�Anna 15:22

??. Jeff Wimbush 13:32

??. Graham Medak 16:15

??. Matt Hansen 14:51

??. Tom Wilson 16:33

 Teams Sweep Lenape Valley & Sparta

sparta, nJ (Sept. 27, 2005) � The Pope John Cross-Country teams continued their undefeated season today with a sweep of Lenape Valley and Sparta at Station Park.  The boys defeated the Patriots 15 � 50 and the Spartans 15 � 49, while the girls won 16 � 44 over Lenape Valley and 21 � 35 over Sparta.

Working on their pack running and team depth, the Lions swept the first 6 places and 10 of the first 11 spots.  Leading the way with his first varsity win was Clay Smith (�07) in 18:27 for the 3.1 mile course.  Immediately behind was Tim Burns (�07) in 18:28, Anthony LaMastro (�06) in 18:28, Jeremy Scheid (�07) in 18:30, Matt Pezzulo (�07) in 18:30 and Jon Juleus (�08) in 18:31.  Other top 10 performers included Josh D�Anna (�08) in 8th in 18:53, Kevin McCormick (�09) in 9th in 19:10 and Isak Bond (�06) in 10th in 19:17.

  Despite only having 7 girls finish the race, the Lady Lions swept the first 3 positions to easily win the two dual meets.  Lara Heigis (�07) and Elizabeth So (�06) crossed together in 20:13 for the first two positions with Brynn Merritt (�06) just behind in 20:25.  The next finisher was the rapidly improving Casey Keller (�08) in 22:07.  Rounding out the top 7 were Liz Faherty (�06) in 10th in 23:40, Anne Dauer (�06) in 11th in 24:12 and Caitlyn Lees (�08) in 17th in 26:12.

 The teams will compete next at the Shore Coaches Invitational this Saturday at Holmdel State Park.


Boys Results (3.1)

Girls Results  (3.1)

1. Clay Smith 18:27

1. Lara Heigis 20:14

2. Tim Burns 18:28

2. Liz So 20:14

3. Anthony LaMastro 18:28

3. Brynn Merritt 20:25

4. Jeremy Scheid 18:29

6. Casey Keller 22:07

5. Matt Pezzulo 18:30

10. Liz Faherty 25:26

6. Jon Juleus 18:31

11. Anne Dauer 24:12

8. Josh D�Anna 18:53

17. Caitlyn Lees 26:12

9. Kevin McCormick 19:10


10. Isak Bond 19:17


11. Dale Hammer 19:20


13. Robert Lennon 19:26


14. Paul Wilson 19:28


15. Chris Gaus 19:28


19. Mike Lamm 20:32


24. Graham Medak 21:15


26. Dave de la Fuente 21:21


29. Tom Wilson 21:28


40. Joe Benedetto 24:23


41. Brad Holenstein 24:41


42. Mark Kunesch 28:21


43. Matt Hansen 31:48


Varsity, JV Boys Win at Shore Coaches

holmdel, nj (Oct. 1, 2005) � For the third year in a row, the Pope John Boys cross-country team claimed a team title at the Shore Coaches Invitational.  Run the first Saturday of every October, the Shore Coaches Invitational brings together most of the top teams in NJ and is the biggest XC meet in the state.

Running in the Varsity �E� division, the boys claimed the team title with 99 points to easily outdistance Hopatcong (150 points) and Haddonfield (167 points).  Leading the way for the Lions was Anthony LaMastro (�06) and Jeremy Scheid (�07).  Running together the entire way, Anthony and Jeremy finished in 2nd and 3rd in new personal best times on the Holmdel layout.  Anthony�s time of 16:15 is a PR by 7 seconds, was the 9th fastest on the day, and improved on his number two All-Time Pope John time.  Jeremy PR�ed by 30 seconds with a time of 16:16, good enough for the 10th fastest time of the day and number three on the All-Time PJ Top 20.  Also, running a personal best was Tom Roy (�07). Tom finished in 10th place in 17:10 (a 19 second PR), had the 72nd fastest time of the day, and moved into the number nine spot in the all-time list.  Next up for the Lions was Nick Beese (�08) in 24th place with a time of 17:39. The final scorer was Clay Smith (�07) in 60th in 18:21.  The final two finishers for the team were Dale Hammer (�06) in 18:35 (a PR) and Tim Burns (�07) in 18:51.  Overall, the team had the third fastest 5-man average (17:09.0) of all teams entered.

Showing the state of New Jersey the depth of the Pope John team, the JV boys also won their division,  Finishing with a score of a mere 23 points, the team easily defeated Pingry with 81 points.  Josh D�Anna (�08), Jon Juleus (�08) and Isak Bond ('06) swept the first three places, while Paul Wilson (�06) in 18:59 and Robert Lennon (�07) finished 8th and 9th respectively to nail down the win.  Josh, Jon and Isak ran well to get under 19 minutes on their first try at the 3.1 mile course.

In the freshman race, Kevin McCormick (�09) and Chris Gaus (�09) placed 4th and 6th respectively to nail down medals on the 2 mile course.  Kevin�s time of 9:30 ties him for number three on the All-Time freshman Holmdel list while Chris� time of 9:32 places him fifth on the same list.  These times were also the 27th and 30th fastest of all times run by freshman at the meet.

The boys return to SCIL competition on Tuesday with a tri-meet against Newton and Vernon at Kittatinny State Park.


Boys Varsity (3.1)

Boys Junior Varsity (3.1)

2. Anthony LaMastro 16:15

1. Josh D�Anna 18:43

3. Jeremy Scheid 16:16

2. Jon Juleus 18:43

10. Tom Roy 17:10

3. Isak Bond 18:53

24. Nick Beese 17:39

8. Paul Wilson 19:17

60. Clay Smith 18:21

9. Robert Lennon 19:19

71. Dale Hammer 18:35

25. Mike Lamm 19:59

94. Tim Burns 18:51

48. Dave de la Fuente 20:47


57. Tom Wilson 21:06


178. Mike Peer 28:33

1. Pope John 99


2. Hopatcong 150

Boys Freshman (2.0)

3. Haddonfield 167

4. Kevin McCormick 9:30


6. Chris Gaus 9:32


61. Joe Benedetto 14:48


111. Marc Kunesch 16:38


129. Matt Hansen 20:04


Teams Remain Unbeaten

 andover, nJ (Oct. 4, 2005) � The Pope John Cross-Country teams swept their meets against Newton and Vernon this afternoon.  Taking the first five positions in each race. The boys won 15 � 50 over Newton and 15 � 48 over Vernon, while the girls defeated Newton 15 � 46 and Vernon 15 � 50.

With an eye towards closing the top five compression from Saturday, the boys raced as a large pack through the majority of the race and were able to finish within 25 seconds of each other to secure the double victory.  As usual, Anthony LaMastro (�06) and Jeremy Scheid (�07) led the way taking the top two spots,  followed closely by Tom Roy (�07), Nick Beese (�08) and Tim Burns (�07).  Tim rebounded well from a sub-par performance this weekend and kicked it in nicely to secure the sweep.  Other members finishing in the top 10 included Clay Smith (�07), Jon Juleus (�08) and Matt Pezzulo (�07).  Jon and Matt ran especially well and continue to challenge for a top 7 position.  Another highlight included Kevin McCormick (�09) running 17:38 and being the first freshman across the line.  Other noteworthy performances include Dave de la Fuente (�06) running 19:16 and Graham Medak (�08) running 19:35, the first time both runners broke 20 minutes.

Continuing their unsurpassed pack running, the girls were also able to sweep the first five places of the race.  Crossing together in 19:50 were Lara Heigis (�07), Jenny Heigis (�09), Alessandra LaMastro (�06), Casey Keller (�08) and Brynn Merritt (�06) providing the points for the meet.  Once Liz So (�06) and Lauren Bariexca (�07) return to racing, this pack should become the best in New Jersey.  Also running well were Kelsey Murphy (�07) in eighth, a nice return from injury; Anne Dauer (�06) running 21:53 (her first time under 22 minutes), and Liz Lemasters (�06) running 22:51.

The teams will be off this weekend and return to racing next Tuesday, October 11th with a tri-meet with Jefferson and Wallkill Valley at St. Paul�s Abbey.  Look for some records to fall.

Boys Results (3.0)

Girls Results  (3.0)

1. Anthony LaMastro 16:09

1. Lara Heigis 19:50

2. Jeremy Scheid 16:09

2. Jenny Heigis 19:50

3. Tom Roy 16:31

3. Alessandra LaMastro 19:50

4. Nick Beese 16:33

4. Casey Keller 19:50

5. Tim Burns 16:34

5. Brynn Merritt 19:50

7. Clay Smith 16:57

8. Kelsey Murphy 21:27

8. Jon Juleus 17:01

9. Anne Dauer 21:53

10. Matt Pezzulo 17:18

13. Liz Lemasters 22:51

13. Dale Hammer 17:31

23. Caitlyn Lees 24:55

15. Josh D�Anna 17:33

29. Grace Wilson 26:40

16. Kevin McCormick 17:38


19. Chris Gaus 18:00


20. Paul Wilson 18:08


22. Robert Lennon 18:18


24. Pat Rosendale 18:47


25. Isak Bond 18:54


30. Ryan Norris 19:16


31. Dave de la Fuente 19:16


34. Graham Medak 19:35


37. Mike Lamm 20:09


38. Tom Wilson 20:12


45. Joe Benedetto 21:04


55. Mark Kunesch 25:45


56. Mike Peer 26:16


60. Matt Hansen 28:14



 Heigis� Record Leads to Fast Times

 andover, nJ (Oct. 11, 2005) � Coming into this season, most people assumed that the Pope John girls cross-country team was good and a force to be reckoned with on the state level.  After today, the DPOE and the rest of the state might have to adjust their attitudes.  With Lara Heigis (�07) setting the pace, the Lady Lions ran 7 of the 10 fastest times ever run by a Pope John female at St. Paul�s Abbey, including the 3 fastest.  Using these performances, the girls were able to easily defeat the Jefferson Falcons 15-50 and Wallkill Valley Rangers 18-44.  Not to be outdone, the boys were also able to sweep the tri-meet with score of 15-50 over Jefferson and 16-46 over Wallkill.

Running to the front of the pack immediately, Lara was able to break her St. Paul�s Abbey course record of 17:45 from last season by running a stunning time of 17:29.  Going through the mile in 5:32, Lara looked strong and determined the entire distance.  Equally impressive was the debut of Lauren Bariexca (�07).  Running for the first time as a Lady Lion, Lauren was able to run 18:26, good enough for #2 on the all-time Top 20 list.  Finishing closely behind Lauren was Alessandra LaMastro (�06) in 18:46, a 47 second PR on the course and #3 all-time on the Top 20.  Further rewriting the course record list were Brynn Merritt (�06) in 19:10, Casey Keller (�08) in 19:37, Liz So in 19:39 and Jenny Heigis (�09) in 19:40.  Brynn�s time places her #7 all-time.  Casey�s time is #2 on the sophomore list and #9 on the all-time list.  Jenny�s time is #2 on the freshman list and #10 all-time.  Rounding out the outstanding day were PR�s by five other girls and a nice run by Kelsey Murphy (�07) as she continues to rebound from injuries.  To sum up the day, the Abbey typically runs 50-60 seconds faster than Holmdel State Park.  The team top-5 average was 18:41.

Anthony LaMastro Lara Heigis

On the boy�s side, the team was finally able to have a top 5 runner compression of less than 1 minute.  Anthony LaMastro (�06) set a fast early pace and was able to run the #2 time for seniors of 15:30.  Following closely behind was Jeremy Scheid (�07) in 15:41, #3 junior time and #3 all-time.  Rounding out the top 5 were Tom Roy (�07) in 3rd, Nick Beese (�08) in 4th and Tim Burns (�07) in 6th.  All three ran personal bests on the course and elevated themselves onto the top 10 All-Time list for Pope John runners.  Tom�s time of 16:12 is #6, Nick�s is #7 (and #4 all-time sophomore) and Tim�s is #10.  Also making the all-time list was Jon Juleus (�08) with the #17 time of 16:50 and Kevin McCormick (�09) running the #6 all-time freshman time of 17:28.  In total, 20 athletes beat or tied their personal best time on the course. 

 The teams will travel to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx on Saturday for the boys Eastern States Invitational.  Great competition from up and down the East Coast will be there to challenge the Lions.  Fast times are bound to occur.


Boys Results (3.0)

Girls Results  (3.0)

1. Anthony LaMastro 15:30

1. Lara Heigis 17:29*

2. Jeremy Scheid 15:41

2. Lauren Bariexca 18:26

3. Tom Roy 16:12

4. Alessandra LaMastro 18:46

4. Nick Beese 16:20

5. Brynn Merritt 19:10

6. Tim Burns 16:29

6. Casey Keller 19:37

7. Clay Smith 16:33

7. Liz So 19:39

9. Jon Juleus 16:50

8. Jenny Heigis 19:40

10. Josh D�Anna 17:01

10. Kelsey Murphy 20:55

11. Matt Pezzulo 17:03

14. Liz Faherty 21:24

12. Dale Hammer 17:07

16. Anne Dauer 21:38

13. Kevin McCormick 17:28

20. Liz Lemasters 22:44

15. Isak Bond 17:33

30. Caitlyn Lees 24:19

16. Doug Murphy 17:44

37. Grace Wilson 25:49

19. Robert Lennon 17:58


20. Paul Wilson 17:59


21. Pat Rosendale 18:01

* = Course Record

26. Ryan Norris 19:00


27. Dave de la Fuente 19:08


30. Graham Medak 19:21


31. Mike Lamm 19:48


32. Tom Wilson 19:53


36. Joe Benedetto 20:12


44. Mark Kunesch 25:35


45. Jim Morrissey 25:35


46. Mike Peer 26:00


47. Matt Hansen 26:01


49. John Friend 31:25



Girls Win at Van Cortlandt, Defeat Oakton, VA (SE #2)

bronx, ny (Oct. 15, 2005) �Going into the Peter Aquilone Eastern States Cross-Country Championships, the Pope John girls cross-country team were brimming with confidence but unsure where they belonged in the State of NJ and on the Nike Northeast Regional Rankings.  Leaving the championships, the girls now know that they are possibly the best team in New Jersey and one of the top teams in the entire Northeast region.

Running with purpose and determination, the girls easily outdistanced the defending champions and Southeast Regional #2 Oakton, VA 59-82 for the team title.  Winning the race and setting a new Pope John Van Cortlandt Park record was Lara Heigis (�07) in 14:49.  Lara won by 30 seconds over Vanessa Wright of Haddonfield (2nd in 2004 NJ MOC) and broke her personal best time by 16 seconds.  Next up for the Lady Lions was Lauren Bariexca (�07) in 8th in 15:51.  This was Lauren�s first invitational as a member of PJXC and her performance was the 2nd fastest ever by a PJ female.  Continuing the impressive racing was Liz So (�06) in 13th in 16:04, a 14 second personal best and #5 on the all-time Pope John VCP list.  Following Liz was Alessandra LaMastro (�06) in 16th in 16:11, a PR of 7 seconds and #7 on the all-time list.  Concluding the scoring for the team was Brynn Merritt in 21st in 16:25.  Other great performances were turned in by Jenny Heigis (�09) and Casey Keller (�08).  They finished 37th and 38th respectively in 16:47, tied for #10 on the all-time list.  In other races, Kelsey Murphy (�07) led the girls with a 13th place finish in the Girls C race in 17:38.  Although not a PR, Kelsey�s time was an improvement of 55 seconds from earlier in the season.

�William Perlman/The Star-Ledger

For the boys, Anthony LaMastro (�06) and Jeremy Scheid (�07) both finished in the top 15 to lead the Lions to a 5th place team finish with 182 points.  Oakton of Virginia was the winner with 106 points.  Anthony finished in 8th place in 13:02 with Jeremy close behind in 15th place with a 13:15 clocking.  The 3rd man for the team was Tom Roy (�07) in 33rd in a personal best time of 13:38, good for #7 on the all-time Pope John list.  Also under 14 minutes was Nick Beese (�08) in 55th place in 13:57, #10 on the all-time list and #3 on the sophomore list.  Clay Smith (�07) finished in 71st place in a personal best 14:14 (#16 all-time) to cap the scoring.  Following Clay across the line were Jon Juleus (�08) in 74th in 14:19 and Tim Burns (�07) in 87th in 14:32.  In sub-varsity action, Matt Pezzulo (�07) led the team to a 5th place showing with an 18th place finish in 14:39.  Josh D�Anna also medaled with a 25th place in 14:50, a 32 second personal record.

The teams look to conclude their undefeated SCIL dual meet seasons on Monday, October 17th at High Point Regional High School.  Races begin at 4:00 PM.


Girls Race A (2.5)

Boys Varsity (2.5)

1. Lara Heigis 14:49

8.  Anthony LaMastro 13:02

8. Lauren Bariexca 15:51

15. Jeremy Scheid 13:15

13. Liz So 16:04

33. Tom Roy 13:38

16. Alessandra LaMastro 16:11

55. Nick Beese 13:57

21. Brynn Merritt 16:25

71. Clay Smith 14:14

37. Jenny Heigis 16:47

74. Jon Juleus 14:19

38. Casey Keller 16:47

87. Tim Burns 14:32



Girls Race C (2.5)

Boys Junior Varsity (2.5)

13. Kelsey Murphy 17:38

18. Matt Pezzulo 14:38

30. Liz Faherty

25. Josh D�Anna 14:50

50. Anne Dauer

30. Dale Hammer

59. Liz Lemasters

39. Isak Bond 15:12

77. Caitlyn Lees

52. Doug Murphy

106. Grace Wilson

57. Robert Lennon


65. Paul Wilson

 Complete Results

SCIL Champions (x 2)!!

Wantage, nJ (Oct. 17, 2005) � The Pope John boys and girls cross-country teams closed their SCIL regular seasons with resounding wins over High Point Regional High School today.  The boys won 18-43 to finish undefeated for the 5th straight season and extend their unbeaten streak to 47 straight dual meets.  The girls won 21-34 to finish undefeated for the 3rd straight year and stretch their unbeaten streak to 31 dual meets.

Pacing the effort, as in every meet this season, were Anthony LaMastro (�06) and Jeremy Scheid (�07).  Easily placing 1st and 2nd in the time of 18:11, Anthony and Jeremy conclude an unbeaten SCIL regular season.  Securing the victory was Dale Hammer (�06) in 4th, Jon Juleus (�08) in 5th, Josh D�Anna (�08) in 6th, and Matt Pezzulo (�07) in 7th.  For the seniors, this meet concludes an undefeated career (the 2nd class ever).  Congratulations to Isak, Dave, Dale, Anthony, Mike, Pat, and Paul on an outstanding accomplishment.

Despite resting some of their top runners, the girls easily disposed of the High Point Wildcats.  Lara Heigis (�07) and Lauren Bariexca (�07) took the first 2 places to pace the victory with Alessandra LaMastro (�06) and Casey Keller (�08) placing 4th and 5th respectively.  Rounding out the scoring was Liz Lemasters (�06) in 9th with Grace Wilson claiming 20th place.  The senior class of Anne, Liz F., Alessandra, Liz L., Brynn and Liz S. finish their careers with a record of 34-2 in SCIL dual meets.  Congratulations ladies!

This Saturday kicks off championship season with the SCIL Festival.  The boys are seeking their 12th title in 14 years and 6th straight, while the girls are aiming for their 3rd straight and 4th in 5 years.




Boys Results (3.1)

Girls Results  (3.1)

1. Anthony LaMastro 18:11

1. Lara Heigis 20:42

2. Jeremy Scheid 18:11

2. Lauren Bariexca 21:17

4. Dale Hammer 18:53

4. Alessandra LaMastro 21:34

5. Jon Juleus 19:14

5. Casey Keller 22:51

6. Josh D�Anna 19:26

9. Liz Lemasters 25:57

7. Matt Pezzulo 19:33

20. Grace Wilson 30:10

10. Kevin McCormick 20:04


12. Isak Bond 20:20


13. Paul Wilson 20:25


14. Robert Lennon 20:33


15. Doug Murphy 20:40


17. Chris Gaus 21:26


19. Dave de la Fuente 21:56


20. Graham Medak 22:22


23. Joe Benedetto 22:47


24. Tom Wilson 22:58


30. Jim Morrissey 28:47


31. Matt Hansen 30:15


32. Mike Peer 30:42


33. John Friend 34:08



Record-Setting Day for Girls at Festival

augusta, nj (Oct. 22, 2005) � The Pope John Girls� Cross-Country team had a record-setting day at the 2005 SCIL Festival today.  Displaying amazing team tactics and great depth, the Lady Lions placed all 7 runners in the top 10 places to win their 3rd straight title and 4th in 5 years.  Despite the cold and rainy conditions, the girls were able to break the festival record for lowest team total with an impressive 20 points.  The previous record for a girls� team was 26 points by Pope John set in the 2004 race last year.  In addition, the point total is the lowest ever for any Sussex County team, boys or girls, breaking the Pope John boys� record of 24 points set one year ago.

PJ Girls set the pace at the start of the 2005 SCIL Festival Varsity Race

Also setting a record was Lara Heigis (�07).  Lara easily defended her individual title of a year ago by running a course record 18:03 and winning by 50 seconds.  Lara cruised through the first mile in 5:42 and extended her lead with a dominating 2nd half.  Following Lara was a triumvirate of PJ runners in 3rd, 4th and 5th place.  Lauren Bariexca (�07) finished an impressive 3rd in 18:59 in her first ever SCIL festival and broke 19 minutes for the first time ever in a 5k race.  Finishing immediately behind Lauren was Brynn Merritt (�06) in 4th and Alessandra LaMastro (�06) in 5th.  Both girls raced smartly over the 2nd half to claim a top five finish.  For Brynn, this was the 3rd time she has finished in the top five at the festival, having missed the 2003 race with an injury.  For Alessandra, she improved by 47 seconds from a season ago.

Lara Heigis Lauren Bariexca Brynn Merritt and Alessandra LaMastro

Rounding out the team total was Casey Keller (�08), finishing 7th in 19:27.  Casey is perhaps the most improved runner in the SCIL. Last season she was the freshman champion and typically ran 22 minutes for 5k.  With a great summer of training, Casey has been able to become one of the top runners in the SCIL.  Immediately behind Casey was Liz So (�06) in 8th in 19:42.  This marked Liz�s 3rd straight year finishing in the top 10 at the festival, becoming, with Brynn, one of the few Sussex County runners to ever accomplish this feat.  Capping the record-setting day was Jenny Heigis (�09) in 10th in 20:00.  Running a personal best time for 5k, Jenny was the first freshman across the line and a medal-winner in her first SCIL festival.

Casey Keller Liz So Jenny Heigis
Msgr. McHugh congratulates the record setting 2005 SCIL Festival Champions

In sub-varsity action, Anne Dauer (�06) ran away with the JV girls title.  Anne ran 22:42 for the 5k course and defended her title from 1 year ago.  Also medaling were Liz Lemasters (�06) in 4th and Caitlyn Lees (�08) in 10th.  Both athletes conclude an outstanding XC season and will now set their sights on some winter track records, Liz in the high jump and Caitlyn in the sprints.  Also running well was Grace Wilson in 15th place in 26:03.  Grace�s time was an improvement of 28 seconds from last year�s race.

Anne Dauer Liz Lemasters Caitlyn Lees Grace Wilson
  (L to R) Anne Dauer, Grace Wilson, Caitlyn Lees, and Liz Lemasters  

 The girls will have a 2-mile time trial next weekend and will seek their first-ever NJCTC XC title on November 5th.


Girls Varsity (3.1)

Girls Junior Varsity (3.1)

1. Lara Heigis 18:03

1. Anne Dauer 22:42

3. Lauren Bariexca 18:59

4. Liz Lemasters 23:26

4. Brynn Merritt 19:05

10. Caitlyn Lees 24:29

5. Alessandra LaMastro 19:05

15. Grace Wilson 26:03

7. Casey Keller 19:27


8. Liz So 19:41


10. Jenny Heigis 20:00




1. Pope John 20


2. Sparta 91


3. Wallkill Valley 95



Boys Win 6th Straight Festival, LaMastro - Champion

 Augusta, nj (Oct. 22, 2005) � The Pope John Boys� Cross-Country team continued its dominance in the SCIL Festival today as they won for the 6th straight year and 12th in 14 years.  The twelve wins are the most in Sussex County history.  The Lions placed five runners in the top eleven finishers to score 27 points and easily defeat Hopatcong, who was 2nd with 54 points. 

Runners jostle for position at the start of the 2005 SCIL XC Festival

Leading the charge for the Lions was Anthony LaMastro (�06).  Anthony defended his individual title of a year ago and became the 2nd runner in PJ history to be a two-time SCIL XC Festival champion (Justin Scheid being the other in 2002 and 2003).  Anthony won in a time of 15:48.  Running near the front with Anthony during the entire race were Jeremy Scheid (�07) and Tom Roy (�07).  Jeremy finished 3rd in 16:02, a 13 second improvement from a year ago, while Tom finished 4th in 16:30, a 34 second improvement.  Both runners should contend for the individual title next season.  Also placing in the medals was Nick Beese (�08) in 8th.  Nick won the freshman championship last season and stepped up this year with a strong showing in 16:51.  Clay Smith (�07) concluded the scoring with an 11th place finish in 16:54, just missing a medal by one second.  Completing the top 7 were Tim Burns (�07) in 13th in 16:55 and Dale Hammer (�06) in 17:25.  Tim and Dale both improved their times from last season by 20 seconds.  

Anthony LaMastro Jeremy Scheid Tom Roy
Clay Smith and Nick Beese Tim Burns Dale Hammer

In JV action, the Lions swept nine of the top ten places, demonstrating tremendous team depth.  Winning the race was Jon Juleus (�08) in 17:30 with Josh D�Anna (�08) and Matt Pezzulo (�07) close behind in 2nd and 3rd in 17:45 and 17:51, respectively.  These boys raced together the entire way and should vie for top 10 positions next season in the varsity race.  Continuing the Pope John line were Doug Murphy (�08) in 4th, Pat Rosendale (�06) in 5th, Isak Bond (�06) in 6th and Paul Wilson (�06) in 7th.  This foursome also raced together the entire race distance and separated only towards the end.  Completing the medal winners were Robert Lennon (�07) in 8th in 18:30 and Mike Lamm (�06), tenth in 18:39.  Robert and Mike engaged in a nice battle with a Hopatcong runner throughout the race with Robert out-kicking him and Mike just missing him at the finish.  Other finishers included Ryan Norris (�07) in 12th, Graham Medak (�08) in 13th, Tom Wilson (�08) in 18th and Mike Peer (�07) in 27th

(L to R) Ryan Norris, Mike Lamm, Jon Juleus, Graham Medak, Tom Wilson, Josh D'Anna, Mike Peer (in back), Isak Bond, Robert Lennon, Pat Rosendale, Doug Murphy, and Paul Wilson

Matt Pezzulo (in front)

In the freshman race, Kevin McCormick (�09) continued the PJ win streak by claiming the 2-mile title in 11:18.  Kevin is the 5th straight PJ winner of the race.  Other medalists include Chris Gaus (�09) in 4th and Joe Benedetto (�09) in 8th.  Just missing a top ten medal was Jim Morrissey (�09) in 11th.

(L to R) Yemi Arole, Jim Morrissey, John Friend, Joe Benedetto, Marc Kunesch, Kevin McCormick, Matt Hansen, Chris Gaus, and Brad Holenstein

 The boys will have a 2-mile time trial next weekend and will compete at the NJCTC XC championships on November 5th.


Boys Varsity (3.1)

Boys Junior Varsity (3.1)

Boys Freshman (1.5)

1. Anthony LaMastro 15:48

1. Jon Juleus 17:30

1. Kevin McCormick 11:18

3. Jeremy Scheid 16:02

2. Josh D�Anna 17:45

4. Chris Gaus 12:01

4. Tom Roy 16:30

3. Matt Pezzulo 17:51

8. Joe Benedetto 12:36

8. Nick Beese 16:51

4. Doug Murphy 18:01

11. Jim Morrissey 13:04

11. Clay Smith 16:54

5. Pat Rosendale 18:04

14. Brad Holenstein 13:22

13. Tim Burns 16:55

6. Isak Bond 18:09

19. Marc Kunesch 15:17

15. Dale Hammer 17:25

7. Paul Wilson 18:12

20. Matt Hansen 15:18


8. Robert Lennon 18:30

25. John Friend 17:47

1. Pope John 27

10. Mike Lamm 18:39

30. Yemi Arole 20:15

2. Hopatcong 54

12. Ryan Norris 19:16


3. Wallkill Valley 91

13. Graham Medak 19:17



18. Tom Wilson 20:29



27. Mike Peer 26:01



Teams Earn 13 All-League Honors

hampton, nJ (Oct. 25, 2005) � The Pope John Cross-Country teams earned 13 All-League citations today at the year-end SCIL coaches meeting.  Selected by the SCIL coaches, the All-League team consists of fifteen male student-athletes and fifteen female student-athletes.  The SCIL Champion girls� team earned seven of the fifteen honors, while the SCIL Champion boys� earned six citations.  Dale Hammer and Kelsey Murphy earned All-SCIL Honorable Mention recognition.  Below is the complete list of honorees.










Lauren Bariexca


Pope John

Nick Beese


Pope John

Jenny Heigis


Pope John

Tim Burns


Pope John

Lara Heigis


Pope John

Anthony LaMastro


Pope John

Casey Keller


Pope John

Tom Roy


Pope John

Alessandra LaMastro


Pope John

Jeremy Scheid


Pope John

Brynn Merritt


Pope John

Clay Smith


Pope John

Elizabeth So


Pope John

Ben VanWck


High Point

Stacey Lepes


High Point

Mike Crum



Jen Wejsa


High Point

Chris Morrissey



Kylie McGlew



Dan West



Jamie Erhard



Kyle Vaughan



Corinne LaChac



Sam McMullen



Cailyn Lynam



Garret Martucci



Aimee Chegwidden


Wallkill Valley

Nick Meeker


Wallkill Valley

Kate Chegwidden


Wallkill Valley

Mike Pachella


Wallkill Valley


Boys Second to CBA at NJCTC

elizabeth, nj (Nov. 5, 2005) � With the highest finish ever, a �B� division team title and the fastest team time average ever run at Warinanco Park, the Pope John boys� cross-country continued their impressive season at the 49th annual New Jersey Catholic Track Conference Cross-Country Championships.

Running without their usual #4 man, Nick Beese (�08), the boys were able to place their five scorers in the top 23 to finish with 75 points, in second place to NJ #1 and National #5 Christian Brothers Academy.  Leading the Lions was Anthony LaMastro (�06) in 4th place in 16:23.  Anthony�s time is the 2nd fastest ever run by a PJ boy and a personal best by 14 seconds.  Also finishing in the top 10 was Jeremy Scheid (�07) in 9th in 16:48.  With his time, Jeremy became just the 4th PJ boy to ever break 17 minutes on the famed course.  His time was an improvement of 37 seconds from last year�s race.  The third scorer for the Lions was Tom Roy (�07).  Running in his first NJCTC varsity championship, Tom finished 18th in 17:13 becoming the #6 runner on the all-time PJ list.  Next across the line was Clay Smith (�07) in 21st place in 17:25.  Clay moved up very well over the last mile and just missed a top 20 finish.  Finishing the scoring was Jon Juleus (�08) in 23rd in 17:27.  In his first significant varsity action, Jon ran a tremendous race and finally displayed the talent that he showed glimpses of last track season.  His time is #9 on the all-time PJ list and #5 in the sophomore boys� list.  The sixth runner for the team was Dale Hammer (�06).  Dale placed 39th in 18:03, a 28 second improvement from last season.  Rounding out the placements was Tim Burns (�07) in 59th in 18:21.

Anthony LaMastro Jeremy Scheid
Tom Roy
Clay Smith & Jon Juleus Anthony LaMastro & Jeremy Scheid

In JV action, Josh D�Anna (�08), Matt Pezzulo (�07) and Doug Murphy (�08) secured top 10 finishes to lead the team to a 3rd place finish.  Josh placed 6th in 18:06 (#9 on the sophomore boys� list).  Matt was 8th in 18:18, and Doug was 10th in 18:39.  Rounding out the scoring for the team was Robert Lennon (�07) in 23rd in 19:09 and Paul Wilson (�06) in 30th in 19:25.

In the freshman race, Chris Gaus (�09) led the team with a 13th place finish in 13:03.  Chris� time places him 8th on the all-time PJ freshman boys� list.  Also medaling was Kevin McCormick (�09) in 30th place in 13:35.

The boys will continue their season on Saturday at the NJSIAA Non-Public �A� State Championship at Holmdel Park.  Race time is 10:50 AM. 

Boys Varsity (3.2)

Boys Junior Varsity (3.2)

Boys Freshman (2.2)

4. Anthony LaMastro 16:22

6. Josh D�Anna 18:06

13. Chris Gaus 13:03

9. Jeremy Scheid 16:48

8. Matt Pezzulo 18:18

30. Kevin McCormick 13:35

18. Tom Roy 17:13

10. Doug Murphy 18:39

66. Brad Holenstein 14:27

21. Clay Smith 17:25

23. Robert Lennon 19:09

93. Jim Morrissey 15:10

23. Jon Juleus 17:27

30. Paul Wilson 19:25

131. Matt Hansen 18:00

39. Dale Hammer 18:03

46. Mike Lamm 20:09

137. John Friend 19:57

59. Tim Burns 18:21

59. Isak Bond 20:27



72. Dave de la Fuente 21:11


1. CBA 30

84. Tom Wilson 21:46


2. Pope John 75

129. Mike Peer 27:42


3. Red Bank Catholic 165



 Complete Results

Girls Win NJCTC Championship!

Lara Heigis Leads Way with First Place Finish!

Elizabeth, nj (Nov. 5, 2005) � For the first time in Pope John cross-country history, a team won the overall title at the New Jersey Catholic Track Conference Cross-Country Championships.  Placing four runners among the top ten finishers, the Pope John girls� XC team continued their undefeated season by scoring an impressive 40 points to win the team title at the 49th annual championships (21st for women) held at Warinanco Park in Elizabeth, NJ.

Lara Heigis Lauren Bariexca
Brynn Merritt Jenny Heigis
Casey Keller

Leading the way for the Lady Lions, as she has done all season, was Lara Heigis (�07).  Using a strong surge around the 2-mile mark, Lara became the 3rd Pope John female, joining Maria Nitto (�97) and Meagan Murphy (�00), to win the individual title.  Lara�s time of 19:00 also sets a new junior class record and was just off her school record of 18:56 set last year.  Following Lara was Lauren Bariexca (�07) in 4th place in 19:51.  With her time, Lauren became just the 3rd PJ girl ever to break 20 minutes on the historic Warinanco course.  In addition, it is the 2nd fastest time ever run by a junior.  Next across the line for the team was Brynn Merritt (�06) in 8th place in 20:16.  Brynn moved up throughout the race and raced particularly well considering she took SAT�s in the morning.  The final member of the top ten was Jenny Heigis (�09).  Jenny ran an outstanding race moving from around 20th place to 10th in the last mile.  Her time of 20:32 is #7 on the all-time PJ list and the second fastest ever run by a PJ freshman.  Finishing the scoring for the team was Casey Keller (�08).  Casey was very strong in moving up over the last half-mile to finish 18th and secure the victory.  Her time of 20:51 is #10 on the all-time list and #3 for sophomores.  Rounding out the placements were Liz So (�06) and Alessandra LaMastro (�06) in 26th and 28th place respectively.  Nursing some nagging injuries, the girls performed admirably considering the irritations caused by racing.  However, they have vowed to finish the season on a high note and lead the team to the state championship.

In sub-varsity action, Kelsey Murphy (�07) and Anne Dauer (�06) earned medals with a 13th and 22nd place finish in the girls JV race.  Also running well was Grace Wilson (�07) in 43rd place in 27:23. 

The girls will shoot for the NJSIAA Non-Public �A� state championships on Saturday at Holmdel Park.  Race time is 10 AM. 

Girls Varsity (3.2)

Girls Junior Varsity (3.2)

1. Lara Heigis 19:00

13. Kelsey Murphy 22:58

4. Lauren Bariexca 19:51

22. Anne Dauer 23:37

8. Brynn Merritt 20:16

43. Grace Wilson 27:23

10. Jenny Heigis 20:32


18. Casey Keller 20:51


26. Liz So 21:20


28. Alessandra LaMastro 21:25




1. Pope John 40


2. Red Bank Catholic 60


3. Monsignor Donovan 73


Complete Results



holmdel, nj (Nov. 12, 2005) � For the first time in Pope John school history, an athletic team has been crowned the NJSIAA Non-Public �A� State Champions.  The team that accomplished this great feat is the Girls� Cross-Country team.  Using a strong front-runner and a close-knit pack, the girls won their 2nd state group title (2001 �B� title) decisively by placing 3 runners in the top five and five runners in the top 12.

Lara Heigis Lauren Bariexca Brynn Merritt Casey Keller

Running unaccompanied the entire race, Lara Heigis (�07) became the first Pope John female runner to win a group title.  Her winning time of 18:42 is a Pope John school record and was 55 seconds faster than the second place finisher.  Lara now has her sight set on a sub 18 minute run and an overall state championship next week.  Next across the line for the Lady Lions were Lauren Bariexca (�07) and Brynn Merritt (�06) in 4th and 5th place, respectively.  Lauren�s time of 19:57 marks her first performance under 20 minutes on the Holmdel course and is #3 on the all-time PJ list.  Brynn�s time of 20:04 is just off her PR of 20:01 (2004 MOC) but places her #2 on the all-time senior girl list.  Completing the scoring for the team were Casey Keller (�08) in 10th and Jenny Heigis (�09) in 12th.  Both girls had extremely good races and will look to run under 20 minutes at the Meet of Champions.  Casey�s time of 20:22 places her #7 on the all-time PJ list (#2 for sophomores) while Jenny�s time of 20:25 is #8 all-time (and #2 for freshman).  Rounding out the top 7 were Alessandra LaMastro (�06) in 24th in 20:59 (#13 on the all-time list) and Elizabeth So (�06) in 35th in 21:45.

Jenny Heigis Alessandra LaMastro (L) and Brynn Merritt Liz So

Overall, the team averaged 19:54 for the 5k course, a school record.  The average was the 3rd fastest of all the teams that ran today.  Roxbury and Colts Neck averaged faster.  The girls will shoot for the NJSIAA Meet of Champions state title next Saturday at Holmdel Park.  Race time is 10 AM.  

Girls Varsity (3.1)

1. Lara Heigis 18:42

4. Lauren Bariexca 19:57

5. Brynn Merritt 20:04

10. Casey Keller 20:22

12. Jenny Heigis 20:25

24. Alessandra LaMastro 20:59

35. Liz So 21:45


1. Pope John 30

2. Red Bank Catholic 61

3. Monsignor Donovan 79

Complete Results


Boys Second at Non-Public "A" Championship

holmdel, nj (Nov. 12, 2005) � Matching their highest finish ever, the Pope John boys� cross-country team finished 2nd to powerful Christian Brothers Academy at the Non-Public �A� state championships.  Using a compression of a mere 49 seconds, the boys were able to hold off Don Bosco Prep and average 17:01 for the hilly 5k Holmdel Park course.

Anthony LaMastro Tom Roy Jeremy Scheid

 Anthony LaMastro (�06) led the Lions with a 5th place finish in 16:32.  Next across the line was Tom Roy (�07) in a personal best time of 17:00.  Tom was 15th overall and his time places him #7 on the all-time PJ boy list for Holmdel.  The #3 man on the day was Jeremy Scheid (�07) in 18th in 17:05.  The final scorers of the day delivered the biggest improvements on the course.  Clay Smith (�07) in a great race finished 20th in a time of 17:09 (#10 all-time) and was 81 seconds faster from his time earlier in the year.  Following Clay across the line for the second week in a row was Jon Juleus (�08).  Jon continued his impressive post-season racing with a 24th place finish in 17:21.  Jon�s time is #12 on the all-time PJ list (#5 for sophomores) and was an improvement of 82 seconds from his last Holmdel race.  The final finishers for the team were Nick Beese (�08) in 38th in 17:50 and Dale Hammer (�05) in 54th in 18:11.  Overall the boys had the 6th fastest average of all teams.

Clay Smith and Jon Juleus

The boys will conclude their season next Saturday at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park.  The team will be looking to improve on their 6th place finish of a year ago.  Race time is 10:45 AM. 

Boys Varsity (3.1)

5. Anthony LaMastro 16:32

15. Tom Roy 17:00

18. Jeremy Scheid 17:05

20. Clay Smith 17:09

24. Jon Juleus 17:21

38. Nick Beese 17:50

54. Dale Hammer 18:11


1. CBA 24

2. Pope John 82

3. Don Bosco 96

Complete Results


Boys Place a Disappointing 9th at MOC�s

holmdel, nj (Nov. 12, 2005) � The nature of cross-country racing is that sometimes races go your way and sometimes they don�t.  Unfortunately for the Pope John boys� cross-country team, they had one of the �not� races at the 2005 NJ Meet of Champions.  Seeking a return trip to the award podium and a top four finish, the boys did not perform as expected, finishing a disappointing ninth.

Senior Anthony LaMastro completed his illustrious career at Pope John   Jeremy Scheid finished tough by shaking this pack of runners in the last quarter mile

 As he has all season, Anthony LaMastro (�06) was the 1st PJ finisher across the line in 38th place in 16:36.  Next up was Jeremy Scheid (�07) in 46th in 16:46.  Rounding out the team scoring was Tom Roy (�07) in 85th, Clay Smith (�07) in 97th and Jon Juleus (�08) in 109th.  Other team placements were Dale Hammer (�06) in 133rd and Tim Burns (�07) in 136th.  Dale and Tim were the only members of the top 7 to run personal bests for Holmdel Park on the day.  Dale improved by 8 seconds to 17:56, while Tim improved by 45 seconds from earlier in the season.  Overall the team averaged 17:06.2 for the 5k course.  Averaging their personal best times from earlier in the season produces a team average of 16:48, which would have been good enough for the 3rd fastest average on the day.

Tom Roy Dale Hammer Clay Smith

 However, the future does look bright as the team returns eight of their top ten runners from this season, and with a great nine months of  training should be able to challenge for the team title next season. 

2005 XC Boys: (L to R) Kevin McCormick, Nick Beese, Jon Juleus, Clay Smith, Tom Roy, Jeremy Scheid, Chris Gaus, Anthony LaMastro, Tim Burns, Robert Lennon, Dale Hammer, Josh D'Anna, Matt Pezzulo


Boys Varsity (3.1)

38. Anthony LaMastro 16:36

46. Jeremy Scheid 16:46

85. Tom Roy 17:15

97. Clay Smith 17:24

109. Jon Juleus 17:34

133. Dale Hammer 17:56

136. Tim Burns 18:06

Complete Results


Girls Finish 3rd at MOC�s

holmdel, nj (Nov. 19, 2005) � Coming into the 2005 cross-country season, the Pope John girls aspired to be one of the top teams in New Jersey and the Northeast Region.  Throughout their undefeated season, the girls established many school firsts, many school records and many personal bests.  In their last race as a team, the girls displayed the wisdom of their aspiration and continued their record setting ways.  Despite missing Brynn Merritt (�06), one of their usual top runners, the girls finished an impressive 3rd at the 2005 New Jersey Meet of Champion.  The third place finish is the highest ever for a Pope John team, and their team average of 19:40.0 is the seventh fastest team average ever run by a New Jersey school at the legendary Holmdel State Park course.

Lara Heigis (R) enjoying a laugh with Jenn Ennis of Roxbury (L) and Ashley Higginson of Colts Neck   Liz So, Casey Keller, and Lauren Bariexca emerge from the woods to start the stretch run to the finish

 The top finisher for the Lady Lions, as she has been all season, was Lara Heigis (�07).  Lara finished 6th in a new Pope John school record of 18:25.  Running near the front the entire way, Lara was able to drop her Holmdel best  by 17 seconds.  Next weekend, she should contend for a top 10 finish at the Footlocker Northeast Region National Qualifier.  Following Lara across the line was a pack of Pope John runners.  Casey Keller (�08) was 39th, Liz So (�06) was 42nd, Lauren Bariexca (�07) was 46th and Jenny Heigis was 58th.  Casey ran a fantastic race and dropped her time by 31 seconds from last week.  She was the 9th fastest sophomore in the meet and raised herself to #3 on the All-time PJ list (#2 on the sophomore list).  Also running a personal best was Liz So.  Although hobbled by a leg injury for the last 5 weeks, Liz ran an incredibly gutsy race and dropped her time by 27 seconds from one year ago.   Her time of 19:53 is #4 on the all-time PJ list.  The fourth finisher, Lauren Bariexca, just missed her PR and also placed in the top 50 in her first NJ Meet of Champions race.  Rounding out the scoring was Jenny Heigis in 20:12 (#8 all-time).  Jenny passed approximately 20 people in the last � mile to seal the 3rd place finish.  On the day, she was the 9th highest placer among freshman and PR�ed by 13 seconds from one week ago.  Also PR�ing was Kelsey Murphy (�07).  Running her first race in three weeks, Kelsey was able to lower her personal best by 7 seconds, despite missing considerable training due to injury.  Rounding out the placers was Alessandra LaMastro (�06) in 118th place.

Jenny Heigis was in high gear as she passed numerous runners on the way to the finish line   Alessandra LaMastro finishes her distinguished career as a Lion

 Overall, the girls persevered throughout the season and established a new standard against which all future Pope John teams will be measured.  Despite losing the most productive senior class in history, the girls will battle for the state #1 ranking next season as five of the top eight return.

The Record Setting Team: (L to R) Liz Faherty, Lauren Bariexca, Liz So, Jenny Heigis, Alessandra (Tina) LaMastro, Kelsey Murphy, Brynn Merritt, Anne Dauer, Lara Heigis, Casey Keller, and Caitlyn Lees


Girls Varsity (3.1)

6. Lara Heigis 18:42

39. Casey Keller 19:51

42. Liz So 19:53

46. Lauren Bariexca 19:59

58. Jenny Heigis 20:12

110. Kelsey Murphy 21:00

118. Alessandra LaMastro 21:23


1. Roxbury 64

2. Colts Neck 100

3. Pope John 111

Complete Results

SCIL Announces 2005 XC Academic Athlete Achievement Awards

KITTATINNY HS (January 3, 2005) - The Sussex County Interscholastic League announced its 2005 Academic Athlete Achievement awards for the fall 2005 season today.  Among the honored athletes are twelve members of the Pope John XXIII Cross Country team.

Seniors Juniors
Dale Hammer Lauren Bariexca
Brynn Merritt Tim Burns
Elizabeth So Lara Heigis
  Kelsey Murphy
Sophomores Thomas Roy
  Jeremy Scheid
Nick Beese Clay Smith
Jenny Heigis  

Congratulations to our student-athletes.  Keep up the good work!