Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Clifton Girls Show True Colors

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Clifton Girls Show True Colors

Article excerpt

MAHWAH -- They wear pink in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month every year. But if they run as well as they did in Friday's Big North Liberty championship at Darlington Park, the Clifton Mustangs girls cross-country team may never return to their traditional maroon tops.

Clifton stamped itself as the favorite for the upcoming Passaic County championship by edging Bergen Tech, 34-36, in a meet between two of North Jersey's best kept secret teams. The Mustangs joined two-time defending Passaic County champion Wayne Hills, a 44-53 winner over a surprise Lakeland team in the Independence division race, as winners on the final day of the three-day Big North championships. But neither team produced the individual race winner.

In a battle of three of North Jersey's newest cross-country stars, junior Michelle Kubasek of Bergen Tech ran a school record 18:54 for the 5,000 meter Darlington Park course. She held off Clifton sophomore Meghan Jozefczyk, who lowered her school's course record to 19:12, the fastest Passaic County time on the course in four years. Kubasek's classmate and teammate, Abigail McLaughlin, also in her first year running cross-country, took more than a minute off her best time, running 19:31 for third.

"I saw the clock [still in the 18s] as I crossed the finish line and thought 'Oh, gosh'," said Kubasek, who took 36 seconds off of her previous best and became the eighth North Jersey runner this fall under 19 minutes at the traditional course. "I was very nervous before the race because it's always hard to run against Meghan, and I'm always trying to stay ahead of her. But this was amazing."

Clifton senior Sofia Nedelcheva, junior Megan Davey and senior Olivia Rosenberg finished 6-7-8, respectively, within 18 seconds of each other. Junior Anisha Khandakar finished the scoring in 11th to clinch the win. …

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