Men’s and women’s cross country place fourth at Stockton

On Saturday, the men’s and women’s cross country teams both placed fourth overall at the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) championships, hosted by Stockton University. 

Dale Leonard, a freshman distance runner, won the Women’s Cross Country Championship race by 25 seconds, finishing in the 6K at 22:59.2. Leonard is the third Ramapo athlete in a row to win this title. Leonard also took home the title of the NJAC Rookie of the Year.

“It felt amazing to cross the finish line in first place knowing that I had been able to help my team and reach the goals I had set for myself,” Leonard said in a statement to the Ramapo News. “Looking forward, I definitely want to place well at regionals on November 11th and possibly qualify for the NCAA championship.”

Competing at the NCAA Metro Regional Championships will be a team effort, but a team that supports and works with one another like this should find success. 

Coming from Hunterdon Central High School, Leonard was set to be a success for the Roadrunners after her senior season. Placing second in the 800m at the Skyland Conference Championships in her final year and hitting a seasonal-best time of 2:19.01 at the Meet Of Champions indoor track event, it is no surprise that she was able to earn this title. 

Last year, Suzanne Zaugg took home the 6K title. This year, the junior distance runner placed second with a time of 23:24.4. Junior Zoey Cassavell placed 18th with a time of 24:49. At 26:11.1, freshman Frankie Cartagena was the fourth Roadrunner to cross the finish line. 

Freshman Zoe Gregory claimed Ramapo’s last spot, coming in at 26:38.7. The team finished in fourth place with a total of 80 points in the 6K. Stockton, the host, placed second, and The College of New Jersey placed first.

Coach Justina Cassavell is also to be commended, as this is her third season in a row having an athlete win the Women’s Cross Country Championship race. Before Leonard, and Zaugg, Jane Wagner claimed the 2021 title. This is Cassavell’s eighth season with the Roadrunners. 

The men’s team placed fourth overall in the 8K with a total of 94 points. The effort was led by junior Ian McCauley, who placed first for the Roadrunners and 10th overall at 26:30.8. 

Placing second for Ramapo and 16th overall was senior Jason Mercado, finishing at 26:57.2. Soon after came junior Mohamed Nidaazzi with a time of 27:11.4 in 18th place.

Senior Anthony Bertollo was next with a time of 28:08.6, and sophomore Ryan Pena claimed Ramapo’s fifth spot at 28:50.5.

Both teams will compete next on Saturday, November 11 at the NCAA Metro Region Championship. The meet will take place at Dream Park in Logan Township at 12:15 p.m.


Featured photo of Ramapo Athletics