HOLMDEL – Many Holmdel programs saw great deals of success in 2017, and the cross country teams were no different.
In cross country, everyone makes the state sectional meet, where teams have to place in the top five to go on to the state group meet. There, you have to finish top three move onto the New Jersey Meet of Champions.
Both Holmdel boys and girls qualified for the sectional meet after finishing second in Central Group II. The girls placed third and moved onto the Meet of Champions where they placed 13th in the state.
They came a long way in just three years under third-year head coach Damon Godfrey.
“Our progression over the last three years on the girls’ side has been awesome. In a three year period, we went from eighth in Central Group II not even making the group meet to three years later coming in 13th in the entire state with five sophomores,” Godfrey said. “The fact that we bring everybody back the next two years, there’s a lot of excitement around the program right now.”
The number one runner for the girls is sophomore Emily Levonas, who had an outstanding freshman year a season ago. She qualified for group championship and finished 15th in the state in the 3200 in indoor track as a freshman, and also qualified for the Meet of Champions outdoors. She finished 12th this year at Shore Conference meet, and fourth at the Central Group II meet.
The Holmdel boys were led this season by seniors Jake Snodgrass, Andrew Cruz, and Ean Jaffe. They did not qualify for the Meet of Champions, but Holmdel was the only Shore Conference team to have both boys and girls place in the top four in the Group Championships.
“The boys just missed making the Meet of Champions, we finished second in Central Group II and fourth in all of Group II,” Godfrey said. “The boys were division champions and they won the Randolph Invitational earlier in the year. They won the Fall Classic Invitational as did the girls. The boys had an excellent season as well.”
Godfrey, who coaches the boys and girls, noted that most programs have separate head coaches for the two programs, He wanted to give recognition to his two assistant coaches, Maggie Hanlon and Chelsea Crowley, who have been vital to the team’s success this season.
“My assistants this year were both great,” Godfrey said. “There’s only a few Shore Conference teams where there’s only one head coach for the boys and girls. They’re both former runners and they did an awesome job, especially with the girls program. I feel like they had a big hand in their success. I try my best to relate to them on a lot of levels but it’s easier for a girl coach to get through to them with some things better than I can. Having Maggie and Chelsea on the staff this year was definitely a big help and we wouldn’t have done as well as we did this season without them.”