Saturday, October 28, 2006
By Mike Ballard
POMONA - Sophomore Travis Stewart (Runnemede, NJ/Triton Regional) and freshman Jonathan Salamon (Bridgewater, NJ/St. Joseph-Metuchen) became the first Rutgers University-Camden men's cross country runners to earn All-New Jersey Athletic Conference honors and Head Coach Joe Puleo was named the NJAC Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year at the NJAC Cross Country Championships here Saturday at Richard Stockton College.
Stewart and Salamon, who each earned All-NJAC Second Team honors by finishing eighth and 14th, respectively, led the Rutgers-Camden men to a fifth-place finish in the conference meet with 107 points. It was the best finish ever for the Raptors since they started competing in the NJAC meet in 1992.
Puleo’s award was his second major NJAC coaching honor. In 2005, he was named the NJAC Women’s Co-Coach of the Year for track and field.
The College of New Jersey won both the men’s race (17 points) and the women’s race (15), led by individual winners Christopher Guerriero (25:30.76 over 8K) and Megan O’Leary (23:11.12 over 6K).
The Rutgers-Camden women had only three runners and didn’t field a complete team. Senior Rachel McCormick (Blue Anchor, NJ/Winslow Township) was the top runner for the Lady Raptors, finishing 49th in the 60-runner field in a time of 32:13.55.
Stewart and Salamon each posted their best 8K times of the season. Stewart ran a 26:31.10 and Salamon posted a 26:59.18 clocking. Stewart’s time is the third-best 8K time in program history, while Salamon’s time is the eight best, just behind the 26:58 Stewart ran at the Paul Short Run Sept. 29. The program record is Warren Walker’s 25:22 run on Nov. 6, 1972 at the Delaware Valley Conference Championships.
Stewart and Salamon were two of eight runners the Raptors ran in the 65-man field. Finishing third on the team, and 34th overall, was sophomore G. Brandon Gordon (Haddon Township, NJ/Haddon Township), who posted a time of 28:33.01. He was followed by freshmen Frank Iwanicki (Edgewater Park, NJ/Holy Cross) and Akeem Lloyd (Atlantic City, NJ/Atlantic City), who were 37th and 44th, respectively, with times of 28:41.28 and 29:16.61.
The Raptors’ sophomore Darryl Mendillo (Galloway, NJ/Absegami) finished 56th (32:04.04), followed by sophomore Stefon Coleman (Penns Grove, NJ/Penns Grove), who was 57th (32:17.20). Freshman Michael McClain (Sewell, NJ/Bishop Eustace) rounded out the Raptors’ team effort by finishing 65th (40:57.88).
On the women’s side, the Raptors other two runners, in addition to McCormick, included junior Jessica Hull (Sicklerville, NJ/Fairton Christian Center and Academy) and freshman Rebecca Taylor (Haddon Heights, NJ/Haddon Heights). Hull finished 54th (34:20.52) and Taylor was 60th (40:24.51).
Rutgers-Camden will compete at the ECAC Championships at Williams College in Massachusetts on Saturday, Nov. 4.
MEN (8K): 1. The College of New Jersey, 17; 2. Rowan University, 65; 3. Ramapo College, 100; 4. Richard Stockton College, 101; 5. Rutgers-Camden, 107; 6. New Jersey City University, 180; 7. Kean University, 188.
Leading runner: Christopher Guerriero (The College of New Jersey), 25:30.76
WOMEN (6K): 1. The College of New Jersey, 15; 2. Richard Stockton College, 67; 3. Ramapo College, 73; 4. Rowan University, 89; 5. New Jersey City University, 152. Inc. Team: Rutgers-Camden
Leading runner: Megan O’Leary (The College of New Jersey), 23:11.12