Braddock Becomes First Southern Male to Win Shore Conference Cross-Country Crown

By David Biggy | Oct 30, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy Southern Regional junior Jackson Braddock won a second championship in as many weeks, outracing two Christian Brothers Academy runners to the finish in the Shore Conference meet on Oct. 24.

Stafford Township — A week after capturing the Ocean County championship, Southern Regional High School’s Jackson Braddock made history on the cross-country course at Ocean County Park in Lakewood on Oct. 24. The junior became the first male runner in school history to win the Shore Conference title.

“One of the guys interviewing me after the race told me about it,” said Braddock, who outraced Christian Brothers Academy’s Shaw Powell to clock a time of 15 minutes, 7 seconds. “That was crazy. I was pretty surprised to find that out. It’s really cool to be the first Southern guy to win the conference title.”

While he easily cruised to the county crown in 15:40, also at Ocean County Park, Braddock’s goal was to break the 15-minute mark against the conference’s best, which typically includes several CBA runners. Despite the fast course, he just missed that goal, but it didn’t matter much.

“I got the win, so I guess that’s more important than running sub-15,” Braddock said. “I was hurting pretty bad at the end, but I was right there. A few seconds off isn’t bad.”

Braddock trailed Powell for most of the race, then finally decided to take a chance with about a half-mile left.

“He was ahead of me by five or six seconds at one point, but with about a half-mile left I was close enough to make a move,” Braddock said. “I figured I might as well go for it. If he turned it up, I was second either way. So I went after him.”

Braddock caught Powell, passed him and blazed to victory, finishing six seconds ahead of the CBA senior. Another CBA senior, Troy Hill, finished third in 15:16, while Colts Neck’s Matthew Bogdan took fourth in 15:21 and Point Pleasant Beach’s Robert Hannon, whom Braddock beat to win the county title, placed fifth in 15:41.

“As soon as I caught (Powell), he didn’t even try to stay with me, so he didn’t have much left,” Braddock said. “I was a bit lucky, too, because there wasn’t much racing left. I didn’t have far to go to beat him at that point.”

The next goal on the list is a sectional title during the NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV at Delsea High School on Saturday, Nov. 9, as Braddock and the Rams look to end up at the Meet of Champions.

“I’m going into the state meets with a lot of confidence,” Braddock said. “It felt good to be able to run with those really good guys in our conference, and it definitely prepared me for what’s coming. I wanted to know what it would be like to race against top-caliber guys and I did well, so winning the conference meet helps me a lot.”

As a team, Southern finished fifth with 170 points, 29 behind Freehold Township. CBA cruised to the conference title with 26 points, while Manalapan (118) took second and Colts Neck (136) grabbed third. Junior Tim Sincavage clocked a time of 16:12 to finish 20th overall, while junior Nick Guzewicz took 37th in 16:35, Nick Lemley ended up 57th in 16:55, and junior Mike Chanda finished 62nd in 16:59.

Pinelands Regional sent only junior Mart Villanueva to compete in the conference meet, and he fared really well, placing 35th overall with a time of 16:33.

Meanwhile, in the girls’ meet, Southern also finished fifth, ending with 190 points, well behind fourth-place Holmdel. Middletown South scored the team title with 65 points, 27 in front of Colts Neck and 37 ahead of Red Bank Catholic.

Sophomore Rachel Short led the way for the Rams, crossing the finish line in 25th overall with a time of 19:22, while senior Jaelyn D’Amelio took 29th in 19:28, freshman Mia Mastrogiovanni placed 41st in 19:48, senior Emily Furlong grabbed 54th in 20:07, and sophomore Olivia Horton snagged 58th in 20:13.

Southern Gymnasts
Take on Shore’s Best

Every year, the Shore Conference Gymnastics Championships is a showcase of great talent and one of the toughest-scored events of the season. Still, Southern Regional for years has qualified gymnasts to compete among the best in the conference and again was well represented on Oct. 26.

Sophomore Ava Kelly placed 13th overall in the all-around, scoring a 35.7, after she vaulted to a 17th-place spot with a 9.250, swiped the 13th position on the uneven bars with an 8.750, grabbed the 11th spot on the balance beam with an 8.7, and tied for 17th in the floor exercise with a 9.0.

Maria Mezzo scored a 9.025 to snag a 29th-place spot on the vault and an 8.9 to grab 23rd on the floor, while Hailey Klimas tied Kelly with a 9.0 on the floor, Abigail Scheider scored an 8.7 on the floor to finish in the 32nd spot, and Ali English ended up 38th on the floor with an 8.550 to round out Southern’s effort.

— David Biggy

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