Seraphs’ Walsh is county XC champ

first_img Marie Walsh ran with her eyes focused on the real estate in front of her. The Mater Dei harrier wasn’t thinking about who was running behind her at the Monmouth County Cross Country Championships on Oct. 21 at Holmdel Park. “I just kept looking forward, moving forward,” she said. “I didn’t relax.” For fear that someone might be gaining on her, Walsh didn’t dare look behind her. She kept her focus forward until she crossed the finish line, knowing that now no one was going to be able to snatch victory away from her. “It feels great,” the Seraph senior said of her first county cross country title. “This is big for me. It gives me a great idea where I’m at. This was the first of the big races.” Walsh went into the race uncertain of her condition, having been slowed the last two weeks by a cold. There was one thing she knew, however. “This is my senior year, and I was going for it,” she said. It was Walsh and defending champion Briana Jackucewicz of Colts Neck who were leading at the mile mark. It was then, heading into the bowl, that Walsh grabbed a small lead on the defending champion. “I was sick the last two weeks with a cold, and I wasn’t sure what to expect,” she said. “I felt good.” That gave her the courage to push the pace against a runner with Jackucewicz’s pedigree, and she would be rewarded for it. By two miles, she had put some distance between herself and the Cougar. But, as she remarked, she didn’t relax until she completed the race. Her 19:09 run in windy conditions was her best time of the year and nine seconds better than Jackucewicz (19:18). “This is one of my greatest moments,” said Walsh. Not far behind Walsh was teammate Liz Shaw, who finished fourth (19:49). With their one-four finish, the Seraphs were ninth (269). Defending champion Red Bank Catholic held on to its title with 75 points. Holmdel was the top area team in second (123). Cathay Zhao led the Hornets in 10th place 20:29). Shannon Nelson was 14th (20:34) and Katie Little was 23rd (20:58). Middletown South was sixth (201). Kirstin Anderson (20:57) and Brittany Ryan (21:10) were 22nd and 30th. Raritan’s Kaylee Bythell was ninth overall (20:28), helping the Rockets take eighth (265). St. John Vianney’s Chelsea Delany was sixth (20:12). Today, Monmouth County’s best will race against Ocean County’s best in the Shore Conference Championships at Lakewood’s Ocean County Park. Times are expected to be fast on this flat, speed course. BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer last_img

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