By TOM WILLIAMS
Ocean City High School’s girls cross country team (above) won the South Jersey Group 3 championship today at Delsea Regional High School in Franklinville. Trish Henry’s Raiders won the school’s ninth South Jersey title and first since 2013 by placing five runners in the top 13 and outscoring second place Seneca, 35-47.
Senior Alexa Weber finished third overall, freshman Alexa Palmieri was fourth, sophomore Casey McLees crossed in sixth place, senior Mickey Baker was 11th and junior Brooke Farr finished 13th.
The win advances the Raiders into next Saturday’s NJSIAA State Championship Meet at Holmdel Park. Toms River South finished third; Mainland, led by individual champion Alyssa Aldridge, was fourth and Cherry Hill West was fifth. All of those teams qualified for the state meet.
The OCHS boys also qualified for the state meet with a fourth place finish. Delsea won the South Jersey boys title on its home course, Mainland was second, Highland third and Central Regional fifth. Senior Jesse Schmeizer led the Raiders with a fourth place finish, senior Korey Greene finished 14th, sophomore Anthony Conte was 19th, sophomore Luke Kramer was 21st and freshman Steve Gooden took 25th.
Today’s cross country successes create a second big week of NJSIAA competition for the Ocean City fall teams.
On Monday, the OCHS girls soccer team (18-3) will play Lacey Township at Carey Stadium at 2 p.m. in a South Jersey semifinal. The winner will play either Delsea or Cherry Hill West on Thursday in the South Jersey final. Ocean City is the No. 1 seed so it would host the championship game Thursday if it gets there.
On Tuesday, the boys soccer team (17-2-1) will play Hammonton at Carey Stadium in another South Jersey semifinal. The winner will play either Pinelands or Mainland in the South Jersey final. Ocean City is also the No. 1 seed in boys soccer so it would host the championship game if it gets there. OCHS has won 10 South Jersey titles in boys soccer, the last one in 2014.
Aaron Bogushefsky’s team defeated Lacey Township, 5-0, at Carey Stadium on Friday afternoon. Matt Brook and Aaron King both scored twice for the Raiders. Josiah Nistorenko had two assists, giving him 22 this year, second most in South Jersey. The OCHS record is 29 by Kyle Evans in 2005.
The week continues on Friday when Kevin Smith’s football team (6-2) travels to Franklinville to face No. 13 ranked Delsea (6-3) in the opening round of the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 3 playoffs. It will be Ocean City’s first football playoff game in nine seasons.
The Raiders lost to undefeated and No. 3 ranked St. Joseph, 46-7, on Friday night, ending their five-game winning streak. Senior Liam Bergman provided a highlight with an electrifying 49-yard touchdown run in the second half. St. Joe has now beaten OCHS 10 straight times.
The Ocean City cross country teams will wrap up another big week next Saturday in the state meet in Holmdel.