Jones tops Gelassi

BY SCOTT WALSH

Times-Shamrock Writer

NEW MILFORD – After finishing 23 seconds behind Rico Galassi at the Cliff Robbins Invitational on Sept. 1, Luke Jones was eager for his next matchup against the Holy Cross senior standout.

That came Tuesday, and the Elk Lake senior ran with a purpose.

Jones won the Lackawanna League cross country meet at Blue Ridge High School in 16 minutes, 18 seconds. That was 21 seconds ahead of Galassi, who was second.

“I’ve been working really hard, so I was excited to see how I’d pan out against him,” Jones said. “He’s an extremely good runner.

“Knowing that I was behind him (at Cliff Robbins) was a little frustrating. He beat me in track season, too. So I knew I had to work if I wanted to be as good as he was.”

Despite Jones’ effort, Elk Lake wasn’t able to win its unbeaten showdown with Scranton Prep. The Cavaliers had the next six runners cross the finish line after Jones and Galassi to defeat the Warriors, 20-42.

Scranton Prep also beat Blue Ridge, 15-49, and Montrose, 15-50, to improve its record to 15-0.

Elk Lake (13-1) beat Holy Cross, 21-34. But the Crusaders beat Blue Ridge, 23-32, and Montrose, 15-50.

Blue Ridge unveiled its new course for Tuesday’s meet. It is longer – 3.1 miles as opposed to 2.84 miles. Also, Raiders coach Sam Folk flip-flopped it so that what previously was a bunch of little downhills now are uphills.

That is something Elk Lake coach Will Squier believes played in Jones’ favor.

“I’ll give Rico the edge on a track,” Squier said. “But Luke has an even chance with him head-to-head on a cross country course. Especially a hilly course. Luke is tough on hills. His style lends itself to a terrain that’s variable.

Galassi wasn’t sure if the hills got to him. He thought the wet, muddy conditions were more of a hindrance.

Also, he felt winning the Paul Short Run at Lehigh University on Friday took something out of him.

“Oh yeah, I was feeling it today,” Galassi said.

Each has one win against the other this season. The next meeting between Jones and Galassi will be at the District 2 Class A Championships on Oct. 24. Barring anything unforeseen, they’ll run against each at the PIAA Championships in Hershey on Nov. 3,

“It was just one race. It’s not a big deal. Second place is still good,” Galassi said. “We’ll just battle it out at districts and states.”

Meanwhile, Scranton Prep showed off its depth to stay perfect.

Kyle Perry finished third for the Cavaliers in 17:28. Ben Evans was fourth in 17:28.6, Ryan Burke fifth in 17:30, Pat Feeney sixth in 17:35, Paul LaBelle seventh in 17:44 and Mike Brier, in his first meet back from an injury, eighth in 17:48.

“I was going down a hill and I turned around and saw a mass of us. It was pretty crazy,” Perry said. “We’ve never been this much of a pack. We’re definitely getting better as a team at being less spaced out. We’re getting closer together and getting faster as a group.”

In the girls’ race, Elk Lake knocked Scranton Prep from the unbeaten ranks, 25-32. The Lady Warriors (13-1) also defeated Holy Cross, 19-39.

Scranton Prep (11-1) beat Blue Ridge, 15-50, and Montrose, 15-43. Also, Holy Cross topped Blue Ridge, 15-50, but was edged out by Montrose, 26-29.

Jenny VanEtten led the way for the Lady Warriors with a winning time of 20:08. That was 29 seconds better than Kate Reilly from Scranton Prep. Elk Lake’s Kenzie Jones was third in 20:45.

Boys’ Race: Luke Jones (EL), 16:18 on 3.1-mile course at Blue Ridge (course record), Rico Galassi (HC) 16:39, Kyle Perry (SP) 17:28, Ben Evans (SP) 17:28.6, Ben Feeney (SP) 17:35, Paul LaBelle (SP) 17:44, Mike Brier (SP) 17:48, Jake Hinkley (BR) 17:57, Eddie Cummings (EL) 18:16, Ben Sullivan (SP) 18:33, Dalton Sherman (EL) 18:36, TeeJay Loomis (BR) 18:42, Anthony Nardone (SP) 18:58, Seth Carney (EL) 19:00, Ryan Brannon (HC) 19:02, Jimmy McGrath (SP) 19:03, Jake McGovern (HC) 19:13, Mike Rohrbeck (SP) 19:14.1, Mike Petcavage (HC) 19:14.5.

Girls’ Race: Jenny VanEtten (EL) 20:08 on 3.1-mile course at Blue Ridge (course record), Kate Reilly (SP) 20:37, Kenzie Jones (EL) 20:45, Samantha Bennici (MON) 20:51, Elizabeth Trowbridge (EL) 20:54, Mackenzie Greenfield (HC) 21:10, Laney Bedell (EL) 21:17, Mary Lundin (SP) 21:18, Emily Carr (SP) 21:22, Erin Feeney (SP) 21:47, Tess Kearns (HC) 21:50, Melissa Becker (SP) 21:54, Kathleen Healey (SP) 21:59, Alison Lewis (MON) 22:02, Bonnie Stec (SP) 22:03, Claire Schoen (SP) 22:10, Zoe Haggerty (HC) 22:12, Samantha Youngfelt (SP) 22:18, Casey Perdum (BR) 22:19, Kiersten Hollister (EL) 22:35.

Susquehanna

The Susquehanna girls’ cross country team picked up a win over Valley View at home on Wednesday while dropping a pair, and the boys’ team faced a sweep.

Susquehanna’s girls defeated Valley View 21-34 while facing an 18-38 loss to Abington Heights and a 23-37 loss to North Pocono. On the boys’ side, The Sabers faced losses to Valley View (20-41), North Pocono (17-44) and Abington Heights (19-42).

The girls’ team was paced by Mikayla Hargett who took sixth overall at 22:33 and set a school record while Ivy Christensen took eighth place at 23:08. Alyssa Sweeney placed 14th for the Lady Sabers at 24:16 and Lindsey Burdick took 20th at 26:04.

On the boys’ side, Brandon Soden paced the team finishing 13th with a time of 19:20 while teammate Justin Acone took 18th at 19:38.

Mountain View

Mountain View’s boys’ cross country team traveled to Susquehanna on Wednesday where the Eagles were handed a trio of losses.

The team lost 15-50 to Abington Heights, North Pocono and Valley View, and didn’t place a runner in the top 20.

Mountain View’s team falls to 0-15 on the season.