Both the Ramapo College men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the NJAC Championships last Saturday in Sewell.
The men’s team, led by sophomore Jeremy Hernandez and freshman Matt Tuohy, placed second in the 8K race, while the women’s team, led by sophomore Paris Hughes and senior Emily Brock, placed third in the 6K.
“In the beginning of the season, I was not at my top shape yet, but then I progressed as the season went on,” said Hernandez, who also holds the school record for the fastest mile.
Hernandez ran a 4:09.22 as a rookie last year during the indoor track and field season.
Hernandez also holds the school record for the fastest 3,000-meter as well as the fastest 800-meter.
He ran the 3,000-meter at 8:32.31 and the 800-meter at 1:50.83.
Hernandez placed first in the race, finishing in 24:53.81, making him the NJAC champion, a feat he had not accomplished in cross country, although he was the NJAC Rookie of the Year last season.
“[TCNJ runner Andrew Tedeschi] got out to a fast start, so the objective was to catch up to him. I didn’t really think about winning I just wanted to try and finish 1-2-3 with my teammates,” said Hernandez. “Basically, what I wanted to do was to finish in as high of a place as possible for my team because I knew we had a shot at winning so doing anything to help the team win was my goal.”
“It was pretty impressive the way he ran. We started off the season talking about how different track and cross country are, and [Hernandez] had some bumps in the road at the beginning of the season. He improved dramatically as the season went on, which will also help him out on the track,” said head coach Justina Cassavell of her second-year star.
Tuohy, a first-year runner, placed right behind Hernandez finishing just over six seconds behind him. He was awarded the NJAC Rookie of the Year, making it back-to-back years in which a Ramapo runner held that honor.
“That was very exciting; he has been running like a really mature runner as a freshman, so we are really excited to have him here,” said Cassavell.
Senior Paul Juelis finished in fourth place in the race with a time of 25:09.54, giving the Roadrunners three of the top four finishers.
Senior Maximino Meneses placed 14th, junior Tom Moore clocked in at 18th, sophomore Erik Van Der Wilt crossed the finish line in 28th place and freshman Will McCoy rounded out the top performers finishing 34th.
Hughes paved the way for the Ramapo women as she finished third overall with a time of 22:13.23 and Brock was the second lady roadrunner to finish, placing seventh.
Freshman Emily Croonquist placed 10th overall; seniors Stacey Slaughter and Graciela Morilla earned 33rd and 40th place respectively. Freshman Amanda Matesic closed out the top performances by placing 46th overall.
The Roadrunners will return to action on Nov. 14 when they travel to the NCAA Regional Championships held at Letchworth State Park in Castile, New York.