The West Morris Central girls winter cross country team had to be “all in” to obtain a historic goal, according to their coach Tom Lawrence.
They went all in, and it paid off big time. For the first time in school history, the girls team won the Morris County Championships at Drew University.
Coach Tom Lawrence said he approached the girls about two weeks prior to the event, asking if they wanted to go “all in” for the county tournament.
“The plan required all the girls to be on board,” he said. “Some girls on the team would have to step up, some would have to make sacrifices, and all would have to be willing to take a chance with the possibility of falling short – getting out of their comfort zone.”
The team didn’t hesitate and bought into Lawrence’s plan.
“Every member on our team is special and important,” he said. “These girls have been working hard all season and some for four years. Motivated, consistent, hard working athletes do get their day in the sun.”
Under the guidance of Lawrence, coach Jeff Copen (a former Central runner himself), and physical trainer Janice Morra from Succasunna, assistant coach Janice Higgins and fall and spring coach Jay Herrigel, the girls team made a statement at the county championships.
Seniors Kylene Cochrane and Brennan Sharkey tag-teamed the 1,600-meter event, with Cochrane finishing first – by more than 13 seconds over the Mendham’s Mackenzie Barry – with a time of 4:57.48. Sharkey came in seventh with a time of 5:28.61, and Erin Hughes, a sophomore, wasn’t far behind with a time of 5:38.93. All helped add points to Central’s total.
Cochrane didn’t stop there, running a quick 1:39.86 in the 600-meter race. Junior Meghan Lloyd jumped in with a time of 1:46.95 in the event.
Cochrane wasn’t finished, taking on the 1,000-meter run and grabbing the top spot with a 3:04.76 time. Samantha Miller add her time of 3:30.46 in the same event to the team’s score.
In a longer distance event, Sharkey grabbed a second place time of 11:16.33 in the 3,200-meter race.
Kristina Lovenberg, a sophomore, recorded a 5-foot leap in the high jump, good for second place in the event. Senior Marlena Paz also came in second in the pole vault, notching a height of 11-feet even.
All tolled, Central scored 56 points, besting Mendham’s second place score of 51, followed by Mount Olive’s 39. There were 18 teams represented in the county championships.