PARSIPPANY _ Mount Olive's Sydney Bradle didn't see Randolph's Abby Loveys after the first mile of the Morris County Girls Cross Country Championships.
That's amazing because Bradle finished second to Loveys, who claimed her second consecutive title at Central Park on Wednesday, Oct. 25 with a time of 17:49.65. It didn't take long for Loveys, a junior, to pull away from the pack, become a speck in the distance and, ultimately, disappear.
"You think you'll close in on Abby or maybe catch her," said Bradle, who traversed the course in 18:31.08, said. "Then she's gone."
Loveys is one of 13 girls to garner two or more championships. The Rams scored 50 points to take top team honors for the ninth time since 1997. Randolph runners in the top 10 were Olson (third, 18:35.02) and Meredith Finley (sixth, 18:47.97).
Julia Trethaway or West Morris and Lucy Jeffs of Mendham took fourth and fifth place, respectively. Jamie Habib of Madison was seventh. Villa Walsh's Morgan Mehmel and Sarah Hanifin took the eight and ninth spots. Izzi Gengaro of Mountain Lakes was 10th.
"It's definitely a really nice feeling," Loveys said. "There are so many talented runners in this county, so many to look out for. I'm happy and very proud of my team."
Heavy rain on Tuesday postponed the race but Loveys, who set the record (17:35.48) for the new course when the NJAC races were held last week, found the conditions nearly perfect. It didn't bother her that she had to wait a day.
"I was a little soft, a tad bit soft," Loveys said of the course. "I don't think it affected anything. I didn't mind that it was today. Our coach (Len Pietriewicz) told us it was going to rain and guessed we probably wouldn't have the meet on Tuesday."
For the first mile, which Loveys completed in 5:24, she noted that she "had company." But, just like Bradle said, Loveys was quickly out of reach.
How did Loveys know she was all alone?
"I heard people cheer me on," she said. "I kept running then I heard the cheers again. The voices were in the distance."
Bradle's time was personal record and that's exactly what she wanted. Coming in, she was aiming for the top five.
"I felt really good today," Bradle said. "I was running with my teammate, Laura Green, in a pack at the start. I began to speed up at the third mile and broke away. I worked on the next girl (Olson) in front of me. I got past her with 600 meters left and tried to stay where I was. I gave it all I had."
At the NJACs, Bradle fell at the two-mile mark, just before the bridge. She recovered and finished. Coming in second more than made up for it.
"Sydney was upset after the fall because she knew she could do better," Marauders coach Mike Behre said. "Sydney did very well. Her time was the fastest any Mount Olive girl has run here."
Bradle came into the race very optimistic, of course, but knew Loveys' times were better than hers.
"I know the times. Abby's are faster than mine," Bradle said. "I never count myself out. I don't think that way. This is my biggest achievement in running. Abby winning is great. She's so sweet. She's one of the nicest people you'll ever meet."
***PHOTO GALLERY BELOW***
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