Hilltoppers Dominate Union County Championship
Tuesday, August 24, 2010 • 11:57am
After losing the 2007 Union County Cross Country Championship by a lone point to Westfield High School, Summit's mens cross country team came out with something to prove. The boys scored 43 points to Westfield's 68, snapping Westfield's county championship streak at three.
The Summit Hilltoppers brought home their first ever Union County Championship trophy on Wednesday, October 29. Summit runners Tomas Salazar (16:59), Kiko Azevedo (16:59), and Thomas Chin (17:01) swept the five, six, and seven spots in the race, the first to cross for either team.
After not racing for nearly three weeks, senior Tomas Salazar finished first for Summit. Salazar was proud of his team's accomplishment, "We had been waiting since last year for the race to come around again. We were really pumped up for it and we know that it would take a perfect race to win. We ran inspired and did just that."
Michael Schaffer (17:10) and Christos Hantzaras (17:18) secured Summit's victory coming in 11th and 14th place, respectively. Not only did Summit secure their first ever Union County Championship, but they once again broke the school record for the lowest team running average. The team ran an average of 17:05, fourteen seconds faster compared to last year's county average of 17:19.
Coach Neal Sharma claimed the victory to be the biggest in the history of the program. The Hilltoppers competed against teams from Group III and Group IV, divisions comprised of larger schools. Sharma spoke of his team's success, "Today was our best team race of the season: we worked together as a team. We rebounded after last year's disappointing lost of one point."
Summit had been shooting to win the County Championship since the beginning of this year. Returning all seven Varsity runners from the previous year, Summit was in great position to come out on top. Winning by 25 points only furthered the confidence and poise of the team as a whole.
The team still has challenges ahead. Championship season has just begun. The team intends to repeat as sectional champions as well as well as give Haddonfield a run for their money in the Group Championship. The team's ultimate sight is set on the first-ever Meet of Champions appearance for the team, where they intend to place as one of the elite teams in the State.