PARSIPPANY _ Mendham's Elizabeth Timoney isn't quite ready to take on fruits and vegetables yet but that day may arrive soon.
Timoney, a junior, is trying to eat healthier now that cross country season is here. The issue is that Timoney, who finished first in the NJAC American/National/United Race at Central Park on Wednesday, Sept. 16, loves to snack on Double Stuff Oreos and Goldfish, especially when doing her homework.
"I eat a lot of junk food. It's a problem," Timoney said. "I've got to substitute healthier stuff, maybe Cheerios or something."
Her choices, apparently, are not holding her back. Timoney finished fourth at the Roxbury Invitational at Horseshoe Lake Park last Saturday. She cruised across the finish line with a substantial lead on Wednesday, leaving teammates Defne Sement and Lucy Jeffs behind at the start of the second lap.
Not only is Timoney, who completed the course in 20:41.85, striving to eat better, she has plans to break 19:00. Her PR is 19:10.83 established at Central Park in the Morris County Championships last fall.
Mendham coach Rob Kertesz advised Timoney to "take it nice and easy." The temperature at 5:25 p.m., when the first varsity girls race started, was a balmy 85 degrees.
"My coach said to not push too hard," Timoney said. "I felt good."
It was a strong showing by Mendham. Jeffs was second in 20:48.67 and Sement was third in 21:29.73. Timoney's freshman sister, Megan, finished fourth in 21:34.69.
"The people we have are getting better and better," Timoney said. "The freshmen are very good."
In the second girls NJAC Large Schools batch race, Sierra Castaneda of West Morris prevailed in a time of 19:09.79. Anna Campbell of Pope John was second in 19:48.80.
It was Castaneda's first outing of the season. She hoped to compete at Randolph's Freedom Park last Saturday but the invitational was cancelled.
After finding out that the Randolph race was off, she and her sister, Julia, and their friends, Ava Luskin and Mikayla and Victor Cochrane, headed to Freedom Park and ran anyway - in the rain.
"I was really disappointed," said Castaneda, the Morris County and NJAC Large Schools champion a year ago. "It was upsetting. It's my senior year so... It was sentimental."
Castaneda, a senior, had a relatively smooth race but the last mile, she said, was tough because she was wheezing a bit from the ragweed and pollen and had forgotten her inhaler.
"I went out really good," she said. "I just died off a little bit at the end."
Of course, Castaneda has an objective this fall - to break 18:00. Her best time is 18:14, which was achieved at Central Park twice and at Roxbury in 2014.
The next few months will be busy for Castaneda, undecided on a college. She visited Bucknell last weekend and roomed with former West Morris teammate Brennan Sharkey.
Castaneda, successful in the past while wearing cheetah print spikes borrowed from her friend, Erin Hughes, has handed the shoes down. The well-worn spikes now belong to Vanessa Adams, a young runner from Newton.
"Vanessa keeps saying that they're magic," Castaneda said. "She ran recently and took second. I told her she had something to do with it."
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