CBA repeatsas Parochial A champbehind Melofchik By tim morrisStaff Writer CBA repeats as Parochial A champ behind Melofchik By tim morris Staff Writer By not getting greedy and pursuing invitational titles in September, the Middletown South girls’ cross country team is picking up the hardware that matters most: state championships. The Eagles conquered Saturday’s nor’easter and a powerhouse field to win the Group III state championship, the first since 1998. “It’s so exhilarating and exciting,” said Eagles head coach Bill Clifton. “All of the hard work and determination has paid off. “I told the girls, back in August when we got together, that the states were our priority and that we would have a big build-up toward them,” he added. “We weren’t going to be greedy and chase after invitationals early in the season. We were going to focus on the states.” That is exactly what the Eagles have done. A week after taking the Central Jersey Group III crown, South stunned a field that included Moorestown, last year’s Meet of Champions winner, to grab the Group III championship. “We had a talk on Monday and I told the girls that Moorestown was ahead of us at this time, but not that far ahead that we couldn’t beat them,” said Clifton. “We eyed-up Moorestown and our goal was to mark them.” The Eagles conceded that the Quakers’ top runner, Meghan Hughes, would finish ahead of their best. South’s goal was to split the Quaker runners behind her, and they did. Tina Morrison led the Eagles with a 12th place (19:59.99) followed closely by Kolleen McCauley (20:15.11), 16th, and Jaime Liberti (20:20.61), 19th. In team scoring they were ninth, 12th and 15th. They gave the Eagles an edge over the Quakers, who only had two runners in the top 20. Lisa Zino (20:52.2), 31st, and Jane Wood (21:02.77), 37th, rounded out the championship effort. They were 24th and 29th in team scoring. South’s 89 points easily beat runner-up North Hunterdon (118) for the title. Moorestown slipped back to fourth (141) and need the wild card entry to get into the MOC this Saturday. Besides peaking at the right time, the Eagles had something going for them — the conditions. They welcomed the nor’easter and all of the rain, wind and havoc it caused. “I told the girls during the week that the forecast was for rain and to be prepared for it,” said Clifton. “Rain is the great equalizer. It comes down to who is the most determined to run through it. We wanted it cold, windy and rainy.” The Eagles got what they wanted and delivered with a superb effort top to bottom. Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, picked up its eighth straight Parochial A state championship, doubling up Delbarton, 42-85. Will Melofchik (16:29.69) and Patrick Ryan (16:39.86) ran one-two with junior Melofchik picking up the individual state championship. Jake Zorski (17:01.59) was 10th for the Colts. Brett Fiorovati (17:14.99) and Andrew Tignanelli (17:22.84) rounded out the scoring with 13th- and 16th-place finishes. The Meet of Champions title is as open as it has been in years. Mainland Regional has been No. 1 since it beat the CBA at the Shore Coaches back in the first weekend of October. The Colts are No. 2 and closing; however, Toms River North (which lost by just a point to CBA at the Shore Conference Championships) and Hunterdon Central are capable of winning it all as well, and wild card Old Bridge can’t be counted out either. It will come down to the first through seventh runners on each team racing their best. The Colts have been known to thrive in situations such as this before. Can they do it again? The top 10 individuals and top three teams from each state group, plus 10 wild card qualifiers from among the groups and two teams, advanced from Saturday’s Group meet to the MOC. Middletown South’s Dan Ciambrone was among the individual qualifiers running ninth in Group III (16:50.07). St. John Vianney’s Eric Walker was ninth in the Parochial A race (16:55.78) and extended his season for another week.