By BRIAN CUNNIFF
CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — A pair of young runners stole the show at the Big Five Cross Country Championships Friday evening.
Sophomore Elijah Jackson and freshman Sophia Jurusz were the individual winners of boys and girls races, respectively.
Jackson cruised to victory in 17 minutes, 51 seconds, leading Lower Cape May to its first boys team championship in the 33 years of the event.
Lower Cape May edged Cape May Tech by just two points, 42-44. Middle was third with 64 and Wildwood placed fourth with 70. Wildwood Catholic did not have enough runners to score as a team.
Wildwood’s Liam Fitzsimmons was second to Jackson, finishing 28 seconds behind in 18:19. Middle Township’s Jonathan Hagest edged Cape May Tech’s Eddie Oakley for third, both runners finishing in 18:48. Lower Cape May’s Sean Murphy rounded out the top five in 19:25.
Sixth through 10th places, respectively, went to Wildwood’s Noah Pruszinski (19:36), Cape May Tech’s Jared Maloney (19:46), Cape May Tech’s Frank Basile III (19:51), Lower Cape May’s Anthony Gentile (19:54) and Middle’s Luke Seddon (20:05).
Lower Cape May won the boys team title despite missing two of its better runners due to illness and injury.
Jurusz took the lead for good in the girls race a little less than halfway through. She posted a time of 20:54. Cape May Tech’s Lindsay Robbins was second in 21:04. Wildwood Catholic’s Sammy Andress placed third in 21:18, Middle’s Emily Letts finished fourth in 21:23 and Wildwood Catholic’s Alyia Gray-Rivera was fifth in 21:25.
The rest of the top 10 in the girls race was made up of, in order, Cape May Tech’s Jayne Seitz (21:43), Middle’s Alex Ramirez (21:49), Cape May Tech’s Emie Frederick (21:56), Lower Cape May’s Iris Sanchez (22:29) and Wildwood Catholic’s Ellie Pfaffman (23:11).
Cape May Tech won a very close competition for the girls team title with 43 points. The Hawks were followed by Middle (48), Wildwood Catholic (49), Lower Cape May (91) and Wildwood (133).