. . . all subjects that tested Middle Schoolers at this year's National Geographic Bee.
In the span of just two months, sophomore Nicole Vanasse has won six of the seven major cross country races that Big Blue faced during its regular season—most recently, the Non-Public "A" state championship title on November 11—leading Big Blue to four team titles and three top-4 performances as they took on some of the best runners in the state. Their dominant showing this fall warrants a quick recap:
NJSIAA Non-Public "A" Championships, November 11, Holmdel Park
Nicole, first place (18:45); team placed third to advance to the NJSIAA Meet of Champions (MOCs)
Prep Championships, October 25, Blair Academy
Nicole, first place (19:26); team, first place (they swept the top four positions, in fact)
Skyland Conference Championships, October 19, Natirar Park
Nicole, second place (18:31, PR); team, fourth place
Somerset County Championships, October 12, Pleasant Valley Park
Nicole, first place (18:45); team, second place
Shore Coaches Invitational, Varsity "F" race, October 7, Holmdel Park
Nicole, first place (19:31); team first place
Skyland Conference Valley Division Championships, October 4, Natirar Park
Nicole, first place (19:40); team, first place (they swept the top four positions)
Newark Academy Invitational, September 9, Newark Academy
Nicole, first place (19:51); team first place
Compared to her finish time on the famed Holmdel Park course one month ago at Shore Coaches Invitational, Nicole chopped more than 40 seconds off an already brisk pace to capture Saturday's state title. That feat alone is testament to her patience, progress, and talent. Out of six different varsity state championship races that day—Groups 1-4 and Non-Public "A" and "B", all run on the same course—her time of 18:45 was the sixth fastest of the day. She was also the first Pingry girl ever to break 19 minutes on the course.
Teammates Alina Irvine '21, (sixth, 19:57), co-captain Cathleen Parker '19 (14th, 20:29), co-captain Anna Wood '18 (17th, 20:35), and Ryan Davi '21 (32nd, 21:20) rounded out the team's top five. Pingry's third-place finish behind Union Catholic and Red Bank Catholic earned them a trip to the Meet of Champions on November 18 (the top three teams and top 10 finishers in each race advance to MOCs).
"It means a lot," Nicole told an NJ.com reporter after the race. "I've really been training hard for this, this has been one of my goals since the beginning of the season, so I'm really happy that the team was able to advance to MOCs."
Photos: The team celebrates following their third-place finish at states; Nicole Vanasse '20 in the lead at the Non-Public "A" Championships on November 11, courtesy of Mark Sullivan for NJ Advance Media.
Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer, email@example.com