2004 XC News Archive

On the Threshold of Success

 Sparta, nj (Aug. 30, 2004) � By all accounts, the 2003 cross-country season was extremely successful for the Pope John boys� and girls� cross-country teams.Both teams won the SCIL regular season titles with perfect 9-0 records.Both teams won the SCIL Festival title (the boys� 10th in 12 seasons, the girls 2nd in 3 seasons).Both teams raced well in the Parochial state championships with the boys placing 2nd and the girls placing 5th.The boys concluded their season with a 7th place finish in the NJ Meet of Champions (the highest ever finish for a PJXC team).In addition, numerous school and class records were set on all courses (see Top 20 List), ten student-athletes earned All-SCIL recognition from the league�s coaches and two athletes earned 1st team All-State recognition, Justin Scheid and Lara Heigis, from the Newark Star-Ledger.However, to the members of the 2004 cross-country teams, the 2003 season left much to be desired.

As the 2004 cross-country season begins, several questions linger for the Pope John teams.Can the teams defend their SCIL titles?Can the boys� team dethrone Christian Brothers Academy as the best parochial team in New Jersey and win their 1st state championship since 1995?�� Will the girls� team regain the form that carried them to the Parochial B state championship in 2002?Who will fill the void left by the departed seniors whose names are written all over the record books and helped lead the teams to unprecedented success in the last few years?Is it possible for either team to earn an invitation to the first-ever Nike Team Nationals in Portland, Oregon?Over the next three months, the 50+ members of the Pope John cross-country teams will answer these questions and more.

The boys� team returns several key members from the 2003 team.Will Ehrhardt (Sr.), Albert Taylor (Sr.), Billy Washer (Sr.), Anthony LaMastro (Jr.), and Jeremy Scheid (So.) all return from the 7th place Meet of Champions showing.Dale Hammer (Jr.) and Clay Smith (So.) raced varsity on several occasions last season and should contribute immediately.Other potential varsity racers returning include: Kevin Mulcahy (Sr.), Matt Nolan (Sr.), Mike Lamm (Jr.), Paul Wilson (Jr.) and Robert Lennon (So.).Perhaps the addition of three new members could help bolster the team�s fortunes: Mike Dalton (Sr.) � a soccer convert, Tim Burns (So.) � a transfer last season from Randolph, and Tom Roy (So.) � a transfer from Kittatinny.With numerous other student-athletes on the team, the fight for being a top 7-runner should be furious.Overall, the boys have 11 runners under 5:00 for the mile and under 11:00 for the 2-mile.  

�������������� Returning varsity members of the girls� team are: Alison Heslin (Sr.), Alessandra LaMastro (Jr.), Brynn Merritt (Jr.), Elizabeth So (Jr.), Lara Heigis (So.) and Kelsey Murphy (So.).Also returning to potentially prominent roles will be Amanda Grace (Sr.), Ann Dauer (Jr.), Liz Lemasters (Jr.) and Grace Wilson (So.).New additions who should augment the team include: Sarah Abbott (Sr.) � a transfer from High Point, Ashley Cintron (Jr.) � a soccer convert, Jackie DeVasto (Jr.) and Liz Faherty (Jr.) � both field hockey converts.  Overall the girls have 8 runners under 6:00 in the mile and 6 runners under 12:30 in the 2-mile. 

�������������� Currently, the teams are training hard and preparing for their first big challenge of the season.On September 11th, they will travel to Warwick, NY to battle several national powers.The girls will battle Saratoga Springs (NY) currently ranked #1 in the nation and Warwick Valley ranked 10th in the Northeast.The boys will square off with Warwick Valley ranked 6th in the Northeast and several other regional powers.The SCIL season commences on the 14th of September versus Kittatinny.


Lions Perform Well in Season Opener

 warwick, ny (Sept. 11, 2004) � The Pope John boys and girls cross-country teams opened their seasons with solid performances at the 2nd annual Warwick �XC Mania� Invitational.  The boys� team finished in 2nd place behind border rival Warwick Valley (currently ranked 6th in the Nike Northeast Regional Rankings) losing by a mere 18 points.  Individually, the Lions were led by Anthony LaMastro ('06) and Jeremy Scheid ('07) who placed 1st and 2nd respectively in 16:34.  Other medalists for the team were Albert Taylor ('05), Clay Smith ('07), Will Ehrhardt ('05), Mike Dalton ('05) and Billy Washer ('05).

 In the girls� race, the Lady Lions placed 3rd with 51 points finishing behind Warwick Valley (27 points) and Corning, NY (47 points).  Lara Heigis ('07) led the team with a 2nd place finish in 19:21 with Brynn Merritt ('06), in her first XC race since freshman  year, following in 20:30 for 5th place.  Other place winners for the Lions were Liz So ('06), Alessandra LaMastro  (Jr.), Kelsey Murphy ('07), Anne Dauer ('06) and Alison Heslin ('05).

 Other top 10 finishes on the day included Nick Beese ('08) and John Juleus ('08) finishing 7th and 8th respectively in the freshman boys� race and Casey Keller ('08) and Zaharo Tsekouras ('08) finishing 3rd and 4th in the freshman girls� race.

 The teams will begin their SCIL season on Tuesday with a dual meet against Kittatinny at Kittatinny Regional High School.  The girls� race starts at 4 PM with the boys� race to follow. 


Boys Varsity (3.1)

Boys Junior Varsity (3.1)

Boys Freshman (1.5)

1. Anthony LaMastro 16:34

19. Mike Lamm 19:07

7. Nick Beese 8:27

2. Jeremy Scheid 16:34

21. Paul Wilson 19:40

8. John Juleus 8:29

13. Albert Taylor 17:28

28. Robert Lennon 20:08

21. Josh D�Anna 9:17

14. Clay Smith 17:29

29. Matt Pezzulo 20:11

34. Trevor Warden 10:54

20. Will Ehrhardt 17:50

31. Kevin Mulcahy 20:22


22. Mike Dalton 17:54

34. Ryan Norris 20:42


25. Billy Washer 18:18

35. Matt Nolan 20:45



36. Isaac Bond 20:54


1. Warwick Valley   32

54. Matt Spina 23:03


2. Pope John   50

58. James Peer 27:22


3. Pearl River   96

59. Mike Peer 27:49



60. Tom Fiore 29:57








Girls Varsity (3.1)

Girls Junior Varsity (3.1)

Girls Freshman (1.5)

2. Lara Heigis 19:21

11. Liz Faherty 24:08

3. Casey Keller 10:46

5. Brynn Merritt 20:30

16. Liz Lemasters 25:01

4. Zaharo Tsekouras 10:50

13. Liz So 21:22

20. Amanda Grace 26:21


15. Alessandra LaMastro 21:27

26. Grace Wilson 29:15


16. Kelsey Murphy 21:27



26. Anne Dauer 24:14



27. Alison Heslin 24:35






1. Warwick Valley   27



2. Corning   47



3. Pope John   51



 Complete Results

Lions Sweep Cougars

 Newton, nJ (Sept. 14, 2004) � The Pope John boys and girls cross-country teams kicked off their SCIL season in fine fashion by �sweeping� a dual meet with Kittatinny High School.  The Lions took the first 5 places in both the boys� and girls� races and finished with a perfect score of 15 points.  The final score for the girls was Pope John 15 and Kittatinny 40, while the boys triumphed 15 to 47.

Taking the first 5 spots for the Lady Lions were Brynn Merritt (�06), Alessandra LaMastro (�06), Liz So (�06), Kelsey Murphy (�07) and Lara Heigis (�07).  Racing together as a pack for the entire race, they all finished with a time of 20:39 for the 5-kilometer course.  Rounding out the top 7 positions on the team were Ann Dauer (�06) and Casey Keller (�08) with 11th and 12th places respectively.

                 The boys� squad also swept the first 5 places in their race but not in the same pack fashion as the girls.  For the majority of the race, the boys dominated the pace but had to contend with Sam McMullen of the Cougars.  Just after the 2-mile mark, Anthony LaMastro (�06), Jeremey Scheid (�07) and Clay Smith (�07) surged ahead of the pace and went on to easily to take the top 3 places.  After that, Will Ehrhardt (�05) hammered the pace and put himself in the 4th positions.  The sweep was not complete until 4-year member Billy Washer (�05) dug deep and sprinted past McMullen in the last 100 yards.  The 6th and 7th positions on the team were Mike Dalton (�05) and Nick Beese (�08), in an impressive race, in 7th and 9th place respectively.

                 The teams will continue their SCIL season on Monday with a dual meet against Hopatcong at St. Paul�s Abbey, Andover.


Boys Results (3.1)

Girls Results  (3.1)

1. Jeremy Scheid 16:39

1. Brynn Merritt 20:39

2. Anthony LaMastro 16:39

2. Alessandra LaMastro 20:39

3. Clay Smith 16:57

3. Liz So 20:39

4. Will Ehrhardt 17:01

4. Kelsey Murphy 20:39

5. Billy Washer 17:05

5. Lara Heigis 20:39

7. Mike Dalton 17:17

11. Anne Dauer 22:40

9. Nick Beese 18:04

12. Casey Keller 22:42

11. Paul Wilson 18:51

14. Alison Heslin 23:22

12. Robert Lennon 19:00

15. Liz Faherty 23:46

13. Matt Nolan 19:37

16. Zaharo Tsekouras 24:05

14. Mike Lamm 19:40

17. Amanda Grace 24:58

15. Kevin Mulcahy 19:44

18. Liz Lemasters 25:40

16. John Juleus 19:44

20. Grace Wilson 28:37

17. Josh D�Anna 19:47


18. Ryan Norris 20:43


20. Isaac Bond 20:52


21. Matt Spina 20:54


22. Jason Reinbold 21:10


23. Trevor Warden 25:20


25. James Peer 26:38


26. Mike Peer 28:06


27. Tom Fiore 28:11



Pope John Trounces Hopatcong

andover, nJ (Sept. 20, 2004) � The Pope John boys and girls cross-country teams continued their SCIL dominance by defeating the Hopatcong Chiefs.  The Lady Lions claimed the first 7 places to earn a perfect score of 15 to 50.  The final score for the boys was a little closer with Pope John 15 and Hopatcong 40.

 Leading the way for the girls were Liz So (�06), Kelsey Murphy (�07) and Lara Heigis (�07).  Continuing their trend of �pack racing�, the threesome all finished with a time of 20:59 for the 3-mile course.  Also, finishing in race in the top 10 were Alison Heslin (�05) � 22:07, Ann Dauer (�06) � 22:12, Casey Keller (�08) � 22:16, Zaharo Tsekouras (�08) � 22:3 and Liz Lemasters (�06) � 24:04.  Kelsey and Alison both finished in personal best times while Casey Keller�s time places her 10th all-time among Pope John freshmen.

On the boys� side, the race was a three way battle from the gun between Albert Taylor (�05), Jeremy Scheid (�07) and Hopatcong�s Mike Crum.  In the end, Albert swept to victory with a time of 15:56, the 3rd fastest time in course history.  Mike Crum finished 2nd in one of the fastest non-Pope John time ever of 16:12.  Finishing in 3rd place was Jeremy Scheid (�07) in a personal best time of 16:19.  Closing out the scoring positions were Billy Washer (�05), Will Ehrhardt (�05) and Mike Dalton (�05) in 17:02, 17:04 and 17:04 respectively.  Mike Lamm (�06) and Nick Beese (�08) finished 9th and 10th in 18:07 each.

 Currently, both teams are 2 � 0 and will race this weekend in an invitational at Van Cortlandt Pack, NYC.


Boys Results (3.0)

Girls Results  (3.0)

1. Albert Taylor 15:56

1. Liz So 20:59

3. Jeremy Scheid 16:19

2. Kelsey Murphy 20:59

4. Billy Washer 17:02

3. Lara Heigis 20:59

5. Will Ehrhardt 17:04

4. Alison Heslin 22:07

5. Mike Dalton 17:04

5. Anne Dauer 22:12

9. Mike Lamm 18:07

6. Casey Keller 22:26

10. Nick Beese 18:07

7. Zaharo Tsekouras 22:33

13. Paul Wilson 18:33

10. Liz Lemasters 24:04

14. John Juleus 18:34

11. Amanda Grace 24:38

16. Matt Pezzulo 18:36

15. Grace Wilson 26:55

18. Robert Lennon 18:56

16. Lauren McGivney 29:26

19. Matt Nolan 19:02


20. Kevin Mulcahy 19:27


22. Isaac Bond 19:40


23. Ryan Norris 19:50


24. Josh D�Anna 20:04


28. Matt Spina 21:21


29. Jason Reinbold 21:26


30. Trevor Warden 22:23


31. Satch Vivenzio 23:38


32. Mike Romano 23:57


33. James Peer 25:28


34. Graham Medak 25:43


36. Mike Peer 26:01


36. James Nolan 26:37



Heigis� School Record Leads Lions to Team Title

 Bronx, ny (Sept. 25, 2004) � Lara Heigis� (�07) school record time of 15:30 led the Pope John girls� cross-country team to victory at the 2nd annual Our Lady of Lourdes Invitational.  Lara finished in 2nd place to break the old school record of 16:00 held jointly by Franny Morro (�04) and Maria Nitto (�97) on the historic 2.5 mile Van Cortlandt Park Course.  Other top 10 finishes were Brynn Merritt (�06) in 7th and Elizabeth So (�06) in 9th in 16:32 and 16:35 respectively.  Brynn�s time established a new junior class record and places her #6 all time, while Liz�s time is #2 on the junior list and #7 all time.  Rounding the Varsity finishers were Kelsey Murphy (�07) in 19th in 17:21 (#12 all time), Alessandra LaMastro (�06) in 24th in 17:28 (#13 all time), Alison Heslin (�05) in 64th in 19:10 and Anne Dauer (�06) in 65th in 19:11.

 In the freshman race, Casey Keller (�08) and Zaharo Tsekouras (�08) medalled.  Their times of 11:10 for Casey and 11:29 for Zaharo for the 1.5 freshman course rank them 5th and 7th on the all time freshman list.

 The girls square off against their archrival Sparta and Lenape Valley on Tuesday the 28th at St. Paul�s Abbey. 


Girls Varsity (2.5)

Girls Junior Varsity (2.5)

2. Lara Heigis 15:30

Liz Faherty 19:25

7. Brynn Merritt 16:32

Liz Lemasters 20:00

9. Liz So 16:35

Grace Wilson 24:25

19. Kelsey Murphy 17:21


24. Alessandra LaMastro 17:28

Girls Freshman (1.5)

64. Alison Heslin 19:10

Casey Keller 11:10

65. Anne Dauer 19:11

Zaharo Tsekouras 11:29



1. Pope John   61


2. Monroe Woodbury 72





Boys Take 3 Firsts at Xavier Invitational

 bronx, ny (Sept. 25, 2004) � The Pope John boys cross-country team traveled to historic Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx to compete at the 25th annual Xavier Invitational.  Showing the form that has NJ fans believing this is one of the top teams in the state, the boys swept the first three places in the Varsity race to claim the �unofficial� team championship.  Leading the charge for the Lions was Anthony LaMastro (�06) in 13:01 in the 2.5 mile race with Jeremy Scheid (�07) and Albert Taylor (�05) right behind in 13:30 and 13:35 respectively.  These times rank 2nd, 4th and 5th on the all-time Pope John Top 20 list for Van Cortlandt Park.  Anthony�s time and Jeremy�s time establish new junior and sophomore class records.  Rounding out the scoring for the Lions were Clay Smith (�07) in 15th in 14:26, Will Ehrhardt (�05) in 18th in 14:31, Billy Washer (�05) in 21st in 14:35 and Mike Lamm (�06) in 55th in 15:39.

 In sub-varsity action, Nick Beese (�08) won the freshman �A� race in 9:08, while Jon Juleus (�08) won the freshman �B� in 9:12 to highlight the action.  Also, medalling for the freshman boys were Josh D�Anna (�08) in 9:29, Doug Murphy (�08) in 10:07 and Trevor Warden (�08) in 10:25.  Nick, Jon and Josh are now ranked #�s 5, 6 and 7 on the all-time freshman list.  Other top times on the day included Dale Hammer (�06) in 15:28 in the junior race and Matt Pezzulo (�07) in 15:33 in the sophomore race.

 The boys square off against their archrival Sparta and Lenape Valley on Tuesday the 28th at St. Paul�s Abbey. 


Boys Varsity (2.5)

Sub-Varsity Races (2.5)

Boys Freshman (1.5)

1. Anthony LaMastro 13:01

Dale Hammer 15:28

Nick Beese 9:08

2. Jeremy Scheid 13:30

Matt Pezzulo 15:33

Jon Juleus 9:12

3. Albert Taylor 13:35

Robert Lennon 16:06

Josh D�Anna 9:29

15. Clay Smith 14:26

Kevin Mulcahy 16:16

Doug Murphy 10:07

18. Will Ehrhardt 14:31

Matt Nolan 16:31

Trevor Warden 10:25

21. Billy Washer 14:35

Ryan Norris 16:36

Graham Medak 11:48

55. Mike Lamm 15:39

Jason Reinbold 16:58



Matt Spina 18:25






LaMastro, Merritt Lead Teams Over Lenape Valley and Sparta

 andover, nJ (Sept. 29, 2004) � Brynn Merritt�s personal best performance led the Pope John girls to the top 5 places in today�s tri-meet action with Lenape Valley and Sparta.  While Anthony LaMastro set a personal best time and tied the junior class record in leading the Pope John boys to 8 of the top 9 places.

 The top 5 finishers for the Lady Lions were Brynn Merritt (�06) in 19:45, Lara Heigis (�07) in 19:46, Liz So (�06) in 19:46, Alessandra LaMastro (�06) in 20:07 and Kelsey Murphy (�07) in 20:07.  Also finishing in the top 10 for PJ were Alison Heslin (�05), Ann Dauer (�06), Casey Keller (�08), Zaharo Tsekouras (�08) and Liz Faherty (�06).  The final scores were Pope John 15 Sparta 48 and Pope John 15 Lenape Valley 50.

 Anthony LaMastro (�06) led the Pope John boys with a scorching junior class tying record run of 15:29.  Also, finishing in the top 10 were Albert Taylor (�05), Jeremy Scheid (�07), Clay Smith (�07), Billy Washer (�05), Will Ehrhardt (�05), Mike Dalton (�05) and Nick Beese (�08).  The Lions defeated the Lenape Valley Patriots by a score of 15-50 and defeated the Sparta Spartans 19-44.

Currently, both teams are 4 � 0 in the SCIL and will race some of the top teams in the state on Saturday at the Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel State Park.


Boys Results (3.0)

Girls Results  (3.0)

1. Anthony LaMastro 15:29

1. Brynn Merritt 19:45

3. Albert Taylor 15:57

2. Lara Heigis 19:46

4. Jeremy Scheid 16:16

3. Liz So 19:46

5. Clay Smith 16:33

4. Alessandra LaMastro 20:07

6. Billy Washer 16:42

5. Kelsey Murphy 20:07

7. Will Ehrhardt 16:44

7. Alison Heslin 22:04

8. Mike Dalton 16:47

8. Anne Dauer 22:06

9. Nick Beese 17:51

9. Casey Keller 22:14

11. Dale Hammer 18:15

10. Zaharo Tsekouras 22:21

12. Matt Pezzulo 18:16

11. Liz Faherty 22:42

14. Jon Juleus 18:24

12. Liz Lemasters 23:36

15. Robert Lennon 18:27

18. Grace Wilson 26:13

16. Mike Lamm 18:28

23. Jackie Devasto 41:18

21. Kevin Mulcahy 18:55


23. Matt Nolan 19:12


24. Ryan Norris 19:13


26. Isak Bond 19:16


27. Josh D�Anna 19:25


32. Doug Murphy 20:39


35. Jason Reinbold 20:46


36. Trevor Warden 20:49


37. Matt Spina 20:51


38. Mike Romano 21:57


42. Chris Fanelli 22:29


43. Mike Mazur 22:29


47. Graham Medak 25:07


48. Mike Peer 25:15


49. James Peer 25:32


Boys, Girls Win at Shore Coaches Invitational

 holmdel, nJ (Oct. 2, 2004) � Falling on the first Saturday of every October and occurring six weeks prior to the NJ state group championships, the Shores Coaches Invitational is always a good measuring point to gauge the fitness level of a team�s athletes.  This past Saturday, the Pope John cross-country teams proved that they are fit and primed for a stellar championship season.  Displaying different racing tactics, both the boys and girls won their race division.

Using a triumvirate of front runners, the boys easily won the Varsity �E� division with 74 points.  With Anthony LaMastro (�06), Albert Taylor (�05) and Jeremy Scheid (�07) finishing 3rd, 5th and 7th, respectively, the boys easily outdistanced Cinnaminson High School by 70 points.  Rounding out the varsity positions for the Lions were Will Ehrhardt (�05) in 30th, Mike Dalton (�05) in 31st, Billy Washer (�05) in 34th and Clay Smith (�07) in 63rd.  Together, the team averaged an impressive 17:05.8 for the Holmdel Park course (site of the state meet).  This average was the 3rd fastest team average of the meet and the fastest in team history for the Shore Coaches Invitational.

Using a different strategy (pack running) but garnering the same results, the girls also won the Varsity �E� division.  With Lara Heigis (�07) running a school record upfront and the next four girls finishing within 42 seconds of each other, the girls easily won their division with 66 points (48 more than second place Shore Regional).  Lara�s time of 18:57 gave her 2nd place overall (and the 3rd fastest of the entire meet) and broke her own school record of 19:01 set at last season�s NJ Meet of Champions.  The other four scorers for the Lions were Brynn Merritt (�06) in 8th, Liz So (�06) in 10th, Kelsey Murphy (�07) in 21st and Alessandra LaMastro (�06) in 25th.  The entire team set personal best times on the course and recorded the 2nd fastest team average of the meet.  The team average of 20:28.8 established a new school record for Holmdel State Park.

The teams continue their undefeated SCIL seasons on Tuesday with a tri-meet against Vernon and Newton at Vernon High School.


Boys� Varsity (3.1)

Boys� Junior Varsity (3.1)

Boys� Freshman (1.5)

3. Anthony LaMastro 16:22

5. Matt Pezzulo 19:04

3. Nick Beese 12:25

5. Albert Taylor 16:50

9. Dale Hammer 19:13

5. Jon Juleus 12:30

7. Jeremy Scheid 16:52

16. Robert Lennon 19:37

17. Doug Murphy 13:09

30. Will Ehrhardt 17:40

20. Mike Lamm 19:45

19. Josh D�Anna 13:10

31. Mike Dalton 17:40

22. Kevin Mulcahy 19:48

43. Trevor Warden 13:59

34. Billy Washer 17:46

24. Matt Nolan 19:51

124. Graham Medak 16:00

63. Clay Smith 18:18

71. Ryan Norris 21:04



83. Isak Bond 21:16

1. Pope John 60

1. Pope John 74

130. Jason Reinbold 22:13

2. Haddon Heights 92

2. Cinnaminson 144

140. Matt Spina  22:21

3. Bishop Ahr 108

3. Blair Academy 145

180. Mike Romano 23:02



245. Tom Fiore 27:45



250. Mike Peer 28:51


Girls� Varsity (3.1)


Girls� Freshman (1.5)

2. Lara Heigis 18:57

1. Paul VI 63

9. Casey Keller 15:13

8. Brynn Merritt 20:28

2. Pope John 72

18. Zaharo Tsekouras 15:52

10. Liz So 20:37

3. Haddonfield 79


21. Kelsey Murphy 21:07



25. Alessandra LaMastro 21:10



101. Alison Heslin 23:25



103. Ann Dauer 23:26

Girls� Junior Varsity (3.1)



8. Liz Faherty 24:00


1. Pope John 66

107. Grace Wilson 30:22


2. Shore Regional 114



3. Chatham 135



Lions Overpower Braves and Vikings

vernon, nJ (Oct. 5, 2004) � The Pope John cross-country teams traveled to Vernon Township High School today to compete against the Vernon Vikings and Newton Braves.  Using their strong packs, both PJ teams overpowered their opponents and improved their records to a SCIL best 6-0.  The boys defeated Vernon by a score of 17 to 46 and shutout Newton 15-50.  The girls meet defeated the Vikings 21 � 39 and outscored the Braves 15 � 46.

 The Lady Lions were led by Lara Heigis (�07) winning performance of 19:08 (a new course record). Other top finishers included Brynn Merritt (�06) in 3rd, , Liz So (�06) in 4th, Kelsey Murphy (�07) in 6th, Alessandra LaMastro (�06) in 7th and Alison Heslin (�05) in 10th.  The 5-person spread for the team was a mere 74 seconds.

 On the boys side, Anthony LaMastro (�06), Jeremy Scheid (�07), Albert Taylor (�05) swept the first three places to secure the victory.  Other top 10 finishers included Clay Smith (�07) in 5th, Billy Washer (�05) in 6th, Will Ehrhardt (�05) in 7th, Mike Dalton (�05)in 8th and Nick Beese (�08) in 10th.  The spread for the top 7 runners was only 54 seconds.

The Lions will compete in the prestigious Manhattan College Invitational on Saturday at historic Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, NY.  The Manhattan is the largest high school invitational in the nation.


Boys Results (3.1)

Girls Results  (3.1)

1. Anthony LaMastro 16:19

1. Lara Heigis 19:08

2. Jeremy Scheid 16:35

3. Brynn Merritt 19:46

3. Albert Taylor 16:36

4. Liz So 19:51

5. Clay Smith 16:50

6. Kelsey Murphy 20:22

6. Billy Washer 17:04

7. Alessandra LaMastro 20:38

7. Will Ehrhardt 17:13

10. Alison Heslin 22:04

8. Mike Dalton 17:16

12. Anne Dauer 22:16

10. Nick Beese 17:25

13. Casey Keller 22:26

14. Dale Hammer 17:58

15. Zaharo Tsekouras 22:50

15. Matt Pezzulo 18:07

19. Liz Lemasters 24:44

17. Robert Lennon 18:35

21. Amanda Grace 25:02

19. Matt Nolan 18:39

25. Ashley Cintron 25:54

20. Jon Juleus 18:42

31. Jackie Devasto 27:30

22. Kevin Mulcahy 18:45


28. Josh D�Anna 19:19


30. Ryan Norris 19:29


31. Doug Murphy 19:30


32.Paul Wilson 19:38


34. Mike Lamm 19:47


36. Isak Bond 19:50


50. Peter Murphy 20:59


57. Matt Spina 21:24


58. Mike Romano 21:25


60. Jason Reinbold 21:33


62. Trevor Warden 21:49


73. Graham Medak 24:55


74. Mike Peer 24:56


76. James Peer 25:48


78. Tom Fiore 28:17


Girls Continue Winning Ways at Manhattan Invitational

 Bronx, nY (Oct. 9, 2004) � The Manhattan College Invitational is billed as the biggest and the best invitational in the country.  This past Saturday at the 32nd annual running of the meet, the Pope John Girls Cross-Country team proved they are one of the best teams in the country.

Running in the Varsity �A� division, the Lady Lions tallied 119 points to outdistance Scotia-Glenville, NY by 36 points.  Leading the girls across the finish line was Lara Heigis (�07) in 3rd place with a new school record of 15:13.  This time broke her own record set two weeks ago and also was the fastest time run by a New Jersey runner at the meet.  Following Lara across the line in 17th place was Brynn Merritt (�06) with a new junior class record of 16:21.  Clinching the victory for the girls was Liz So (�06) in 28th (16:49), Alessandra LaMastro (�06) in 32nd (16:58) and Kelsey Murphy (�07) in 39th (17:09).  Rounding out the top 7 were Alison Heslin (�05) in 91st (18:31) and Anne Dauer (�06) in 98th (18:39).  In addition to the championship trophy, the girls won �Team Champions� t-shirts and Nike backpacks.  This was the first ever team title for a Pope John team at the prestigious Manhattan College Invitational.

Running without 3 of their top runners due to SAT�s, the boys� team managed a 10th place finish in the Varsity �B� race.  Anthony LaMastro (�06) led the Lions, as he has in every invitational thus far this season, finishing 4th in 13:02.  Other top finishers included Jeremy Scheid (�07) in 16th (13:35) and Mike Dalton (�05), in a great race, in 24th (13:43).

Notable performances on the sub-varsity level included the freshman boys� team finishing 4th in the �C� division.  Nick Beese (�08) � 3rd, Jon Juleus (�08) � 4th and Josh D�Anna � 15th led the way.  The top sub-varsity time of the day on the 2.5 mile course belonged to Matt Pezzulo (�07) of 14:54 in the sophomore �A� race.  For the girls, Casey Keller (�08) and Zaharo Tsekouras (�08) medaled in the freshman �D� race with both girls making the Pope John top 10 list for freshman times.  The top sub-varsity time of the day for the girls belonged to Liz Faherty (�06) in 18:31.

The teams continue their undefeated SCIL seasons on Tuesday with a tri-meet against Jefferson and Wallkill Valley at Wallkill Valley High School.

Boys� Varsity (2.5)

Boys� Junior Varsity (2.5)

Boys� Sophomore (2.5)

4. Anthony LaMastro 13:02

45. Mike Lamm 15:22

31. Matt Pezzulo 14:54

16. Jeremy Scheid 13:35

86. Isak Bond 16:19

59. Robert Lennon 15:31

24. Mike Dalton 13:43

Chris Fanelli 17:51

102. Ryan Norris 16:39

Clay Smith 14:54

Mike Mazur 18:44

Jason Reinbold 17:18

Dale Hammer 15:02


Satch Vivenzio 20:19

Paul Wilson 15:37


James Nolan 20:35

Matt Nolan 16:00


Tom Fiore 24:02









Boys� Freshman (1.5)



3. Nick Beese 8:45

Girls� Varsity (2.5)

Girls� Junior Varsity (2.5)

4. Jon Juleus 8:53

3. Lara Heigis 15:13

Liz Faherty 18:31

15. Josh D�Anna 9:16

17. Brynn Merritt 16:21

Amanda Grace 19:53

30. Doug Murphy 9:33

28. Liz So 16:49

Liz Lemasters 20:27

102. Trevor Warden 10:27

32. Alessandra LaMastro 16:58

Ashley Cintron 21:11

125. Graham Medak 10:55

39. Kelsey Murphy 17:09

Jackie Devasto 22:02


91. Alison Heslin 18:31

Grace Wilson 22:44


98. Ann Dauer 18:39





Girls� Freshman (1.5)

1. Pope John 119


16. Casey Keller 10:41

2. Scotia-Glenville 155


33. Zaharo Tsekouras 11:19

3. Westhill 184






Teams Improve to 8 - 0 with Wins Over Wallkill Valley and Jefferson

 hamburg, nJ (Oct. 12, 2004) � Both the boys� and girls� cross-country teams improved their SCIL records today with resounding victories against Jefferson and Wallkill Valley.  The boys shut out the Jefferson Falcons by a score of 15 � 50 and defeated the Wallkill Valley Rangers 22 � 39.  On the girls side, the Lady Lions defeated the Falcons 15 � 48 and downed the Rangers 20 � 43.

 Leading the way for the boys were the seniors.  Albert Taylor (�05) ran to the victory with a 17:50 clocking.  Following Albert were Will Ehrhardt (�05) in 3rd, Billy Washer (�05) in 5th, Mike Dalton (�05) in 6th.  Other top finishers included Clay Smith (�07) in7th, Nick Beese (�08) in 9th, Tom Roy (�07) in 9th, Tim Burns (�07) in 10th and Dale Hammer (�06) in 11th.  Tom and Tim competed in their first race ever for PJ XC.

 The girls� team ran in a pack to victory.  Alessandra LaMastro (�06), Brynn Merritt (�06), Liz So (�06), Kelsey Murphy (�07) and Sarah Abbott (�05), in her first PJ race, took places 2 through 6.  Also finishing in the top 10 were Alison Heslin (�05) in 8th and Casey Keller (�08) in 9th.

 The Lions return to action on Monday, October 18 against High Point at St. Paul�s Abbey.  Both teams will be looking to defend their SCIL regular season titles.


Boys Results (3.1)

Girls Results  (3.1)

1. Albert Taylor 17:50

2. Alessandra LaMastro 22:15

3. Will Ehrhardt 18:00

3. Brynn Merritt 22:15

5. Billy Washer 18:18

4. Liz So 22:15

6. Mike Dalton 18:23

5. Kelsey Murphy 22:54

7. Clay Smith 18:25

6. Sarah Abbott 22:58

8. Nick Beese 18:45

8. Alison Heslin 24:02

9. Tom Roy 18:50

9. Casey Keller 24:03

10.Tim Burns 18:54

11. Anne Dauer 24:12

11. Dale Hammer 19:16

14. Liz Faherty 24:28

15. Matt Pezzulo 19:41

15. Zaharo Tsekouras 25:00

17.Paul Wilson 20:17

22. Amanda Grace 26:50

18. Matt Nolan 20:27

14. Liz Lemasters 27:05

19. Robert Lennon 20:31

27. Ashley Cintron 27:50

20. Jon Juleus 20:46

32. Grace Wilson 29:50

22. Doug Murphy 21:06


24. Kevin Mulcahy 21:16


25. Isak Bond 21:23:


27. Josh D�Anna 21:49


29. Ryan Norris 22:18


31. Mike Lamm 22:23


36. Jason Reinbold 23:17


37. Peter Murphy 23:18


38. Mike Romano 23:18


42. Trevor Warden 24:43


46. Mike Peer 27:39


48. James Peer 28:17


49. Tom Fiore 30:35



Its� That Time Of Year Again!

 sparta, nJ (Oct. 15, 2004) � Is there anything quite like championship time?  Leaves changing colors.  Temperatures dropping at night.  Jackets and sweaters being worn again.  Runners in long sleeve t-shirts.  The NY Yankees in the playoffs.  High School cross-country teams preparing to do battle in their conference and state championships. 

Starting on Monday, October 18th, the Pope John cross-country teams will be entering the championship portion of the 2004 season.  On this date, the boys will be shooting for their 4th consecutive SCIL regular season title.  In addition, the senior members will be looking to conclude an unprecedented undefeated career, a perfect 36-0 in dual meet competition.  The girls will be seeking their 2nd consecutive undefeated SCIL regular season title and hoping to extend their current unbeaten dual meet streak to 22 straight meets. 

From there, the teams will set sights on defending their SCIL Festival titles on Saturday, October 23 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds.  The boys will be looking to extend their current 4-year victory streak and, in the process, set a Sussex County record for most team titles by a school.  Currently, the boys are tied with Vernon Township High School, each with 10 titles.  The Pope John girls will be seeking their second straight, and 3rd in 4 years.

At the conclusion of the Sussex County season, both teams will enter the state championship portion of their schedule.  With both teams presently ranked 5th in the state by the Star-Ledger, could this be the season that both teams win NJSIAA titles?  To claim their first state group championship since 1995, the boys will have to defeat perennial state power Christian Brothers Academy of Lincroft (currently ranked 1st in the state).  The girls will need to vanquish defending track group champion Monsignor Donovan High School of Toms River (currently ranked 2nd in the state) to secure their first state group title since 2001.

Championship season � that�s what the fall is all about!

Boys, Girls Capture SCIL Regular Season Crowns

 Andover, nJ (Oct. 18, 2004) � The Pope John boys� and girls� cross-country teams captured the SCIL regular season titles with resounding victories over High Point Regional High School.  The boys swept the 1st 10 places to record a perfect score of 15-50.  The girls, led by Lara Heigis� course record, trounced the Wildcats by a score of 19-39.  With the victories, both teams ended the regular season with perfect 9-0 records.  In addition, the boys extended their undefeated streak to 38 straight dual meets, while the girls extended their undefeated streak to 22 straight dual meet victories.

Currently, the teams are preparing for the SCIL Festival set for this Saturday, October 23.  The boys will be seeking their 5th straight and 11th in 13 years.  The girls will be seeking their 2nd straight and 3rd in 4 years.  Races begin at 9 AM.


Boys Varsity (3.0)

Girls Varsity (3.0)

1. Billy Washer 16:51

1. Lara Heigis 17:45*

2. Albert Taylor 16:51

3. Brynn Merritt 19:11

3. Will Ehrhardt 16:51

4. Liz So 19:20

4. Mike Dalton 16:51

5. Alessandra LaMastro 19:23

5. Tom Roy 16:51

6. Sarah Abbott 19:58

6. Clay Smith 16:51

11. Alison Heslin 21:10

7. Jeremy Scheid 16:51

12. Casey Keller 21:14

8. Anthony LaMastro 16:51

13. Anne Dauer 21:18

9. Tim Burns 16:51

14. Liz Faherty 21:20

10. Nick Beese 16:53

18. Zaharo Tsekouras 22:03

12. Dale Hammer 17:11

21. Liz Lemasters 23:08

14. Matt Pezzulo 17:34

22. Amanda Grace 23:40

15. Matt Nolan 17:47

26. Ashley Cintron 25:11

16. Robert Lennon 17:48

28. Grace Wilson 25:47

17. Jon Juleus 17:53

30. Jackie DeVasto 27:17

18. Doug Murphy 18:02


19. Josh D�Anna 18:06


20. Isak Bond 18:07


22. Mike Lamm 18:30

*=course record � old record 18:53

23. Kevin Mulcahy 18:31

                              Franny Morro 2003

24. Paul Wilson 18:32


25. Ryan Norris 18:43


28. Peter Murphy 19:20


30. Matt Spina 20:04


31. Mike Romano 20:07


32. Jason Reinbold 20:13


34. Chris Fanelli 20:40


35. Trevor Warden 20:49


37. Satch Vivenzio 21:36


38. Graham Medak 21:58


40. Mike Peer 23:33


41. James Nolan 23:49


42. James Peer 24:05


44. Tom Fiore 24:21


Lions Run Wild at SCIL Festival

SUSSEX COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS, FRANKFORD, NJ (October 23, 2004) - The rest of the SCIL learned why the Pope John Boys and Girls Varsity teams are both ranked number five in the state as they were dominated today in all five races by the Lions.  Anthony LaMastro ('06) and Lara Heigis ('07) won the individual honors in their respective races, and both the girls and boys set records on their way to winning the Festival titles.

            The girls won the title for the second year in a row, and the third time in four years, on the way to scoring a mere 26 points as a team.  Placing five runners in the top eight and six in the top twelve, the Lions were never threatened in the race.  Lara Heigis led from start to finish, running the course in a sensational 18:18.  She was followed by Brynn Merritt ('06) in fourth place; Liz So ('06) in sixth; Alessandra LaMastro ('06) in seventh;  Sarah Abbott ('05) in eighth; Kelsey Murphy ('07) in twelfth; and Alison Heslin ('05) in twenty-sixth.  "This was really important to us," said Brynn Merritt.  "We wanted to score under 27 points and we did!  We're such a close team and we believe in one another."  Overall, the girls averaged 19:27.40 per runner.

            The boys were even more impressive on their way to winning their eleventh Festival title, the most in SCIL history.  This win broke the tie with the Vernon boys, who have won ten Festival titles.  This was the fifth straight title, and 11th in 13 years for the boys.  Led by Anthony LaMastro, who won his first individual title, and the second individual title for a PJ boy, (Justin Scheid ('04) being the winner for the past two years), he said "I wanted to keep the streak of Pope John runners winning the race alive.  Judging by our score [24 points], this year's team is better than the team we had last year."  Tony is certainly correct.  The boys had their seven runners finish in the top eleven.  Finishing behind LaMastro were Jeremy Scheid ('07) in third; Albert Taylor ('05) in fifth; Billy Washer ('05) in seventh; Mike Dalton ('05) in eighth; Clay Smith ('07) in tenth; and Will Ehrhardt ('05) in eleventh.  The boys' average time was 16:22.40.

            As hard as it is to believe, the news gets better.  Making a statement about the strength of the program and the depth of talent in the future, the Lions won all five races run.  In the combined boys/girls freshman race, Nick Beese ('08) and Casey Keller ('08) were the first boy and girl to finish the race.  In the JV Girls race, the six PJ runners finished in the top eleven.  Anne Dauer ('06) placed first, followed closely by Liz Faherty ('07) in second and Liz LeMasters ('06) in fourth.  Amanda Grace (6th), Ashley Cintron (7th), and Grace Wilson (11th) rounded out the field.

            Finally, the JV boys race was won by Tom Roy ('07).  The next nine runners were all Pope John!  Tim Burns ('07) took second; Dale Hammer ('06) was third; Matt Pezzulo ('07) was fourth; Matt Nolan, Kevin Mulcahy, Isak Bond, Robert Lennon, Paul Wilson, and Mike Lamm placed fifth through tenth, respectively.

            All teams return to action on Saturday, October 30 in the New Jersey Catholic Track Conference (NJCTC) meet at Warinanco Park, Elizabeth, NJ.

Complete Results

Disappointing Day at NJCTC�s

 Roselle, nJ (Oct. 30, 2004) � Coming off convincing wins in the SCIL Festival, the Pope John boys� and girls� cross-country teams went into the New Jersey Catholic Track Championships with high hopes.  The boys were looking to see to how they stack up with the #1 ranked team of NJ, Christian Brothers Academy, while the girls were trying to knock off #2 ranked Monsignor Donovan.  At the conclusion of the meet, both teams were left wondering if their coveted state championship dreams were laid to rest. 

Finishing a disappointing third, the boys� team totaled 102 points and were resoundingly defeated by CBA (39 points) and Seton Hall Prep (66 points).  Despite the losses, some bright spots on the day included Anthony LaMastro�s (�06) 3rd place finish in 16:37 (#2 on the all-time PJ list) and Clay Smith�s (�07) 27th place finish in 17:25 (#6 on the all-time PJ list).  Other noteworthy accomplishments were Tom Roy�s (�07) victory in the Junior Varsity race in 17:34 (tied for 9th on the all-time PJ list, Nick Beese�s (�08) 2nd place finish in the freshman race in 12:24 (#2 on the all-time freshman list), Jon Juleus (�08) finishing 5th in the freshman race in 12:39 (#4 on the all-time freshman list), and both the JV and freshman teams finishing 3rd in the team standings.

For the girls, the Varsity race shaped up to be a two team dual between Pope John and Monsignor Donovan.  Using an aggressive upfront racing plan, the Griffins were able to place 4 runners before Pope John�s 2nd and 5 runners before Pope John�s 4th and bested the Lady Lions by a score of 25 to 46.  This was the girls first setback since the opening Warwick Invitational.  Individually, Lara Heigis (�07) placed 2nd in 18:54 (a new PJ record) to Mon Don�s Leah Brogan, Brynn Merritt (�06) placed 8th in 20:16 (a new junior class record and #4 all-time) and Sarah Abbott (�05) finished 11th in 20:45 (#6 on the all-time PJ list).  In the freshman race, Casey Keller (�08) and Zaharo Tsekouras (�08) placed 6th and 7th, respectively.  In JV action, Liz Faherty (�06) finished 7th in 22:48 and Amanda Grace (�05) medaled with a 23rd place finish.

 The teams will have another shot at CBA, Seton Hall and Monsignor Donovan on Saturday, November 13 at Holmdel State Park when they compete in the NJSIAA non-public �A� championships.  The top three teams in each race earn a trip to the NJ Meet of Champions on the 20th.  Both teams will be looking to avenge the defeats suffered at the NJCTC�s.


Boys Varsity (3.2)

Boys Junior Varsity (3.2)

Boys Freshman (2.2)

3. Anthony LaMastro 16:37

1. Tom Roy 17:34

2. Nick Beese 12:24

13. Albert Taylor 17:03

10. Tim Burns 18:15

5. John Juleus 12:39

27. Clay Smith 17:25

14. Matt Pezzulo 18:25

8. Doug Murphy 12:58

28. Jeremy Scheid 17:25

17. Dale Hammer 18:31

15. Josh D�Anna 13:06

31. Mike Dalton 17:30

28. Robert Lennon 18:48

65. Graham Medak 14:32

35. Billy Washer 17:37

37. Mike Lamm 19:07

78. Trevor Warden 14:49

45. Will Ehrhardt 17:50

38. Isak Bond 19:07



49. Kevin Mulcahy 19:35


1. CBA   39

60. Paul Wilson 19:51

1. CBA   43

2. Seton Hall Prep   66

63. Ryan Norris 19:57

2. St. Joe�s (Met.)   79

3. Pope John   102

68. Peter Murphy 20:07

3. Pope John   83


81. Matt Nolan 20:29



98. Mike Romano 21:08



112. Jason Reinbold 21:48


Girls Varsity (3.2)

114. Matt Spina 21:55

Girls Junior Varsity (3.2)

2. Lara Heigis 18:54

144. James Peer 25:41

7. Liz Faherty 22:48

8. Brynn Merritt 20:16

145. Tom Fiore 25:52

23. Amanda Grace 25:01

11. Sarah Abbott 20:45


51. Grace Wilson 28:11

14. Liz So 21:02

1. CBA �A�   23


15. Alessandra LaMastro 21:15

2. CBA �B�   57


81. Anne Dauer 24:30

3. Pope John   70




Girls Freshman (2.2)



6. Casey Keller 15:57

1. Monsignor Donovan   25


7. Zaharo Tsekouras 16:03

2. Pope John   46



3. Red Bank Catholic   103



 Complete Results

Girls Take Second, Boys Take Third at Non-Public "A" Championships

HOLMDEL, NJ  (October 13, 2004) - In their best showing yet at the Non-Public "A" (formerly Parochial "A") championships, Lara Heigis(2nd), Brynn Merritt (6th), Liz So (8th), and Sarah Abbott (9th), all placed in the top ten, and Alessandra LaMastro ('06) finished in 17th, but it was not enough to defeat  the Leah Brogan led Monsignor Donovan team.  Brogan, who just nipped Heigis in a sprint to the finish, was followed by her teammates Molly Kempton, Amanda Cavallo, and Brianna Crowe in 3rd through 5th place, and Tara Watson in 11th place,  to defeat the Lions 24 - 42.  Heigis' time was the fifth best time of the day in all races.

        The Girls ran very well, according to Coach Corcoran, but he believes that they have not run their best race of the year.  The key to beating Monsignor Donovan will be splitting up their following pack, and Corcoran knows that another week may be all that is necessary to accomplish that goal.  Both teams will meet again next week in the Cross-Country Meet of Champions, where the top teams in the state will race for the overall state championship.  With other top runners and top teams, anything can happen.

The Girls Team Shows off their Second Place Medals

        Meanwhile, on the boys side, the Lions finished in third place behind Christian Brothers Academy and Seton Hall Prep.  CBA's 28 points was unbeatable, but Seton Hall's 85 points was just two points better than Pope John.  Individually, Anthony LaMastro finished in second place, Albert Taylor in fifth, Mike Dalton in 23rd, Jeremy Scheid in 27th, and Tom Roy in 31st.  LaMastro's time was the eighth fastest of the day.  Taylor lowered his best time on the Holmdel course by sixteen seconds.

        The boys will compete in the Meet of Champions next Saturday at Holmdel Park.

Girls Complete Results

Boys Complete Results


Boys and Girls Both Place Sixth at Meet of Champions

HOLMDEL STATE PARK, HOLMDEL, NJ (November 20, 2004) - Not since 2001 has one school placed both its girls and boys teams on the winner's podium at the NJSIAA Cross-Country Meet of Champions.  That feat was achieved today as both the boys and girls teams finished in sixth place.  Both teams ran the fastest average times in school history at the legendary Holmdel Park course, the state's championship course since 1979.

        The girls were led by Lara Heigis' 10th place finish in 18:58.  The girls averaged 20:16.4.  Heigis was followed by Brynn Merritt (45th, 20:02, #3 PJ All-Time at Holmdel); Liz So (61st, 20:21, #5 All-Time); Sarah Abbott (72nd, 20:32, #6 All-Time); Alessandra LaMastro (120th, 21:28); Alison Heslin (149th, 22:15); and Anne Dauer (166th, 23:26).

        The boys were led by Anthony LaMastro's 21st place finish in 16:24.  As with the girls, the boys' average time of 16:57.00 was the fastest in school history.  Jeremy Scheid completed his banner sophomore season with a 49th place finish (16:47, #6 All-Time).  He was followed by Albert Taylor (62nd, 16:55); Mike Dalton (79th, 17:08, #8 All-Time); Tom Roy (107th, 17:31, #14 All-Time); Billy Washer (115th, 17:34); and Will Ehrhardt (136th, 17:53).

        Coach Corcoran was very pleased with the performance of both teams.  "We had two goals at the beginning of the season - to run our fastest times at Holmdel and to earn a spot on the winner's podium.  Accomplishing both of those goals is a tribute to the hard work of all of the athletes."

2004 NJSIAA Meet of Champions - Winner's Podium Team Results



Christian Brothers Academy - 1:22:17.00, 16:27.40 Roxbury - 1:36:43.00, 19:20.60
Morris Hills - 1:22:55.00, 16:35.00 Monsignor Donovan - 1:38:41.00, 19:44.20
Old Bridge - 1:23:38.00, 16:43.60 Morris Knolls - 1:40:21.00, 20:04.20
Toms River North - 1:23:53.00, 16:46.60 Jackson Memorial - 1:39:49.00, 19:57.80
Cherokee - 1:23:47.00, 16:45.40 Ridgewood - 1:41:17.00, 20:15.40
Pope John XXIII - 1:24:45.00, 16:57.00 Pope John XXIII - 1:41:22.00, 20:16.40

Boys Complete Results

Girls Complete Results

Lions Roar - NJ Herald Names Girls XC Team of the Year

SPARTA, NJ (December 7, 2004) - The NJ Herald named the Pope John Girls as the Cross-Country Team of the Year today.  After winning its second straight SCIL regular season championship with a record of 9 - 0, coupled with a spectacular showing in the SCIL Festival where the team placed five runners in the top eight and six in the top twelve, it was a foregone conclusion that the girls were deserving of this accolade.

            The Lions were led by team captain Alison Heslin ('05),  and fellow senior, Sarah Abbott ('05).  The other members of the team are Liz So ('06), Brynn Merritt ('06), Anne Dauer ('06), Liz LeMasters ('06), Alessandra LaMastro ('06), Liz Faherty ('06), Lara Heigis ('07), Kelsey Murphy ('07), Grace Wilson ('07), and Zaharo Tsekouras ('08).

            To add to their season long accomplishments, the girls showed their statewide strength by placing second in the NJCTC Championships, and second in the NJSIAA Non-Public "A" Championship.  The capstone of team success came when the girls placed sixth at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions, getting onto the winner's podium for the first time in school history.

Heigis, Merritt and So Lead NJ Herald All-Area Girls XC First Team

NEWTON, NJ (December 7, 2004) - The NJ Herald named Lara Heigis, Brynn Merritt, and Liz So to the Girls Cross-Country All-Area First Team today.  Alessandra LaMastro was named to the Second Team, and Honorable Mention was given to Sarah Abbott, Alison Heslin, and Kelsey Murphy.

            Heigis, one of the state's top runners, finished first in all eight of the dual meets in which she competed, breaking the course records at St. Paul's Abbey and Vernon along the way.  She won the SCIL Festival, following-up her second place finish last year.  In the post-season, Lara placed second at both NJCTC and Non-Public A championships, and tenth at the NJ Meet of Champions.  Heigis was a first team selection last year.

            Brynn Merritt, who was injured last season, had a spectacular junior year.  She finished fourth at the SCIL Festival, eighth at the NJCTC Championships, sixth at the Non-Public A Championship, and forty-fifth at the MOC.

            Junior Liz So, who along with Heigis was a first team selection last year, was a tireless worker and team leader.  She, more then anyone else, made Sarah Abbott's transition as a Lion easy.  On the course, Liz placed sixth at the Festival, fourteenth at the NJCTC, eighth at the Non-Public A championship, and sixty-first at the MOC.

            In reality, the top six on the team could have made the All-Area team.  This was proven at the SCIL Festival, where Heigis, Merritt, So, Abbott, LaMastro, and Murphy all placed in the top twelve.  Certainly this was recognized by the SCIL coaches who named all of these girls to the All-SCIL Team.

NJ Herald Article

Star-Ledger Continues Post-Season Honors for Pope John XC Girls

NEWARK, NJ (December 8, 2004) - The Star-Ledger announced its post-season Cross-Country awards today, and the Pope John girls are well represented.  To start, the team was ranked sixth in the state, second among Non-Public schools, and was named the West Jersey Team of the Year.  All of this is due in no small part to the incredible work ethic of the individual team members.

            At the top of the list is Lara Heigis, who was named the West Jersey Runner of the Year, second team All-State, first team Non-Public, and first team All-Sussex.  Coach Corcoran emphasized that this was a great season for the sophomore.  Last year Lara was an unknown who could just run and enjoy the results.  This year, though, Heigis was a known entity - she was the girl everyone wanted to beat.  But few did, and for the second consecutive year she earned incredible respect from both teammates and opponents alike.

            The rest of the top six earned significant honors as well.  Brynn Merritt was named to both the Non-Public and All-Sussex first teams.  Liz So earned second team Non-Public and first team All-Sussex kudos.  In her first year as a Lion, Sarah Abbott made the Non-Public third team and the All-Sussex second team.  Not be be left out, Alessandra LaMastro was named to the All-Sussex first team, while Kelsey Murphy made the All-Sussex second team.

            Corcoran reminded me that as successful as this year has been, greater success will be expected next year.  He knows that the girls are up for the task.

Star-Ledger Article

Perfect Again - NJ Herald Names Pope John Boys XC Team of the Year

NEWTON, NJ (December 8, 2004) - With a perfect 9 - 0 record during the SCIL regular season, a record eleventh SCIL Festival win, a sixth place finish at the NJ Meet of Champions, the best ever finish in school history, and a senior class that won every regular season meet in which they participated (38), it is no surprise that the Pope John Lions were named NJ Herald Cross-Country team of the year.

            Led by seniors Albert Taylor, Mike Dalton, Billy Washer, Will Ehrhardt, Kevin Mulcahy, and Matt Nolan, the 2004 version of Lions' Pride was simply outstanding.  But the seniors were not the only story.  The number one runner was junior Anthony LaMastro, who took over from PJ all-time great Justin Scheid, without missing a beat - or should I say without breaking stride.  Sophomore Jeremy Scheid also had a breakout year, proving that he is a great runner in his own right.

            But the strength of the Lions Boys XC program is its depth.  Sophomores Clay Smith, Tom Roy, Timmy Burns, and Rob Lennon, and junior Dale Hammer,  would be top seven runners on virtually any high school team.  Each has played a vital role by winning valuable points in dual meets and constantly pushing their teammates.

            Several of these boys were awarded All-Area honors.  Albert Taylor, Anthony LaMastro, and Jeremy Scheid were all named to the first team, while Mike Dalton, Will Ehrhardt, and Billy Washer were second team picks.  Clay Smith and Tom Roy received honorable mention.

NJ Herald Team Honors Article

NJ Herald Individual Honors Article

Star-Ledger Names Boys West Jersey Team of the Year

NEWARK, NJ (December 9, 2004) - The only statewide newspaper in New Jersey named the Boys the West Jersey Cross-Country Team of the Year.  With a record of 9 - 0 in the regular season, an SCIL Festival Championship - the team's record setting 11th - and a win at the Shore Coaches Invitational, this accolade is more than well-deserved.  Led by seniors Albert Taylor, Mike Dalton, and Will Ehrhardt, and junior Anthony LaMastro, the boys capped off their year with a sixth place finish at the Meet of Champions.

            Individual honors were also received.  Anthony LaMastro was named  All-State Third Team, First Team Non-Public, and First Team Sussex County, and was recognized as West Jersey Runner of the Year.  Albert Taylor and Jeremy Scheid also received first team Non-Public and Sussex County honors.  Mike Dalton received first team Sussex County honors, while Tom Roy was named to the second team.

Star-Ledger Team and Individual Honors Article

XC Banquet Hosted by the Walpack Inn Marks End of Banner Year

WALPACK, NJ (December 10, 2004) - The traditional end of season banquet was held at the Walpack Inn for the first time, and what a night of celebration it was!  With both the Boys and Girls teams finishing number six in the state at the Meet of Champions, the only program in the state to have both teams on the winners' podium, and with numerous individual accolades to recount, the night was full of praise and adulation.  At one point this reporter sat back in awe as tribute after tribute was announced - and I knew of all the details before hand.

Sarah gives a bear hug! Feed us already! Lots of smiling for the camera Will and his new shorts

            First the team honors.  In addition to the state ranking mentioned above, both the Boys and Girls were named Teams of the Year by the NJ Herald, and both squads were also recognized as the West Jersey Teams of the Year by the Star-Ledger.  Several other "firsts" occurred this year, including wins by the Boys and Girls at the Shore Coaches Invitational, and by the Girls at the Manhattan Invitational.

            Individual honors are listed in the table below:

Most Improved Runners Alessandra LaMastro
Clay Smith
Most Valuable Runners Lara Heigis
Anthony LaMastro
Coaches' Award Amanda Grace
Albert Taylor
Spirit of Pope John Booster Club Award Alison Heslin
Bill Washer

Banquet Photo Scrapbook (Under Construction)

Complete 2004 XC Times and Honors

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