By TOM WILLIAMS
The Ocean City High School boys cross country team finished in first place overall in the Cherokee Challenge to start Matt Purdue’s 12th season as head coach.
The Raiders finished with 29 team points, easily beating second place Cherokee (58) and third place North Penn PA (59).
Purdue starts this season with a 100-2 record in dual meets and can get two more wins Tuesday when the Raiders run in a tri-meet with Bridgeton at Vineland. Purdue’s cross country won-lost percentage (.980) is the greatest of any coach in any sport in OCHS history.
The Cherokee Challenge breaks down the competition by school class and Luke Kramer led the Raiders with a fifth place finish in the senior race. He was the fastest of any Cape-Atlantic League runner and two-tenths of a second behind the fastest South Jersey runner.
Tyler Greene was sixth in the junior race – also the first CAL runner in his grade – and Brendan Schlatter was 17th.
Among sophomores, Owen Ritti was fourth and was the first South Jersey runner in that class.
And Spencer Lopez made his high school debut by finishing 14th in the freshman race.