Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

River Dell's Girls Come Up Big

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

River Dell's Girls Come Up Big

Article excerpt

MAHWAH -- The emotions flowed from the River Dell girls cross- country team after Saturday's Big North Patriot championship race.

It wasn't just that defending Bergen County champion Shannon Goria returned to the course for her first race of the year after several months of physical setbacks.

It wasn't just that the Golden Hawks avenged a dual meet loss to Ramsey and won easily, 21-37, sharing the league title with the Rams and providing tangible evidence that the dream of making the state Meet of Champions still might come true after two months of uncertainty.

Both things were evident as the tears flowed from Goria, who won her third straight divisional title by a step over sophomore Kellie O'Donnell and the Golden Hawks took four of the first five places against one of North Jersey's best teams.

O'Donnell was crying, too, as Goria kept insisting that her teammate had told her to take the victory in the final 20 meters "after she kept me going for the entire race."

But it was senior captain Melissa Dougherty, clear-eyed and beaming after the best race of her career who put it all together while keeping her composure.

"This season, when Shannon got hurt we knew we had to keep unified and really kick it in," said Dougherty, who did her part with a fourth-place finish in 20:15, 25 seconds better than her previous best. "I didn't run cross-country as a freshman and I was late to understand what is needed but we all knew we had to come up big."

O'Donnell did, breaking 20 minutes for the first time. Eve Schoenberg, the Golden Hawks' fifth ran nearly 30 seconds faster than the Hawks' No 5 from 2015 did and while Goria and Ginger Pojednic are not at top form yet, River Dell should get there.

The River Dell boys, led by the first-ever major win by junior Gary Wilhelm, put five runners in the top nine and easily defended its Patriot title, 24-48, over Pascack Hills. …

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