Forys breaks course mark at Van Cortlandt
Senior's record then broken in next race
Sunday, October 15, 2006 New Jersey Star Ledger
BY JIM LAMBERT For the Star-Ledger

Craig Forys did exactly what he predicted. The Colts Neck senior tore apart the legendary Van Cortlandt Park layout with the greatest performance ever on the 2.5-mile course, running 12:10.7 to break the course record by five seconds. But unfortunately for Forys, he had only 12 minutes to savor the moment.

Forys won the E Division race in 12:10.7 at the 34th Manhattan Invitational yesterday in the Bronx to eclipse the course mark of 12:15.7 set in 1983 by junior Brad Hudson of North Hunterdon of Annandale. But Tommy Gruenewald of Fayetteville-Manlius in New York promptly ran 12:10.6 in the F Division to take the record away from Forys by the slimmest of margins.
Forys barely had time to catch his breath and comprehend what he had done when he was informed of Gruenewald's time. But he took the turn of events in stride. Oh well, said Forys, who hit two miles in 9:59. At least I had the record for a little while. I'm not disappointed because I did what I wanted to. I can't control what happens in the other races. He ran faster and that's the way it goes. Gruenewald didn't know what Forys ran until his race was almost over. My coach (Bill Aris) yelled to me with 200 meters left that I had to go 12:10 to get the record, said Gruenewald. I saw the clock and knew I had a chance. If Craig and I were in the same race I think we may have gone under 12 minutes.

In addition to Forys and Gruenewald's historic runs, Steve Murdock of Shenendehowa in New York also got under Hudson's mark, placing second to Forys in 12:15.5. A meet record 49 runners ran under 13 minutes. Forys sensed something magical was going to happen on a day with temperatures in the 50's, and a light breeze made for ideal conditions to run fast. With the shape I'm in, the perfect weather and the great competition, things were in place for a race like this, said Forys. Forys had to fight off a strong challenge from Murdock, who had a 10-meter edge on Forys with about 600 to go. He went by me on the last downhill, said Forys. My coach (Jim Schlentz) yelled to me that if I win the race I will get the record. I knew I had time, so I relaxed on the final straightaway and was able to get by him with about 200 to go.
Forys passed some legendary names in the sport on Van Cortlandt's all-time list, which goes back to when the course was first used in 1962. Among them are Olympians Alan Webb of Reston, Va., now the top miler in the U.S. who ran 12:18.8 in 1999, and Marty Liquori of Essex Catholic, who ran 12:23.2 in 1966. Liquori is considered the best distance runner to come out of New Jersey. There are some unbelievable names on the list, said Forys. It's incredible to think that I passed those runners.

Forys has now broken records on all three courses he's run this season. He surpassed the marks at the Spiked Shoe Invitational at Penn State and at Bucks Mill Park in Colts Neck. After what he did in this race, Forys likes his chances of getting the Holmdel Park mark of 15:16 set by Jason DiJoseph of Paul VI in 1988. DiJoseph's best time at Van Cortlandt is 12:20.5. I'm feeling more confident about that, said Forys. We'll see what happens.
Third-ranked Don Bosco Prep of Ramsey had the top New Jersey team performance, winning the B Division with an average of 13:22 and 89 points. Pope John of Sparta, ranked No. 4, captured the D race by averaging 13:26 and scoring 74 points. Fifth-ranked Ridgewood was second in the F race with a 13:29 average and 96 points. Top-ranked No. 1 Jackson was fifth in the G race with 171 and a 13:29 average.

Brandon Jarrett of St. Benedict's Prep was second in 12:31.4 and Kris Carle of Jackson fourth in 12:43.3 in the G race. Conor Sullivan of Don Bosco Prep was fourth in the B race in 12:58.3. Brian Guterl of Union Catholic of Scotch Plains was second in the D race in 12:55.0. Alex Brenner of Ridge was fifth in 12:56.5 in the C race.

(c) 2006 The Star Ledger
Davidson wins Eastern States girls cross country championships
JEFF REYNOLDS , The Saratogian

NY -- A breathtaking day deserves a breathtaking performance. At Saturday's Manhattan Invitational, under clear blue skies and brilliant sunshine -- a polar opposite to last year's wet, sloppy conditions -- two local cross country stars provided just that kind of show. One even helped his team win another team title. Saratoga Springs' Hannah Davidson won the Eastern States girls cross country championships race and Shenendehowa's Steve Murdock was second in a thrilling boys varsity E race at the 34th running of the event at Van Cortlandt Park.

Murdock's showing -- he was second only to Colts Neck's Craig Forys, who set a meet and course record -- led the Plainsmen to a team title, scoring 65 points. Danbury was second with 85 and Clovis, Calif. was third with 128.
Murdock finished the 2.5-mile course in a time of 12:15.45, also faster than the previous meet record. Forys' time of 12:10.65 was nearly five seconds better than the previous record. That record was matched by Fayetteville-Manlius' Tommy Gruenewald in the very next race. As anticipated, Murdock and Forys battled from the start. The two led the field into the woods and emerged together as they neared the stretch. Murdock had gained an advantage off the final downhill run, but Forys caught and then passed the Shenendehowa senior in the final 150 yards before a raucous crowd. '(Forys) had about 20 meters on me before the hill, but on the hill I surged as hard as I could and got the lead,' Murdock said. 'I tried to carry my kick (down the stretch), but he got me.' 'On the downhill, (Murdock) opened up a little bit on me, but I knew it was a long straightaway,' Forys said. '(The record) was all that was on my mind.'

Shenendehowa coach Matt Jones was thrilled with Murdock's performance and was well aware of the effort it took to run that well. 'Where is he? I haven't even seen him yet. Is he still standing on two feet?' Jones joked. 'I didn't see the finish, but even from a quarter-mile out, Steve was running the race probably the best he could. We talked about being under 12:30 and how far under, and we also talked about possibly running under 12:20. To run 12:15 in that race with those guys is a great accomplishment.'

The Plainsmen's team score was the best of the day and they had an average time of 12:44. Following Murdock into the chute for Shenendehowa Saturday were Zach Predmore (11th, 12:57.74), Adam Quinn (12th, 13:02.90), Mike Danaher (17th 13:10.67) and Zac Suriano (23rd, 13:16.08). With their victory (defeating, in the process, a Danbury squad Jones was wary of), the Plainsmen defended their number one state ranking and put themselves in great position for the postseason meets. 'We had a gap of about a minute, which is usually a lot, but not with a guy like Steve,' Jones said. 'You also want to average under 13 (minutes) on this course and we were able to do that today.'

Davidson, like Murdock, gave the tens of thousands in attendance Saturday a great show. She led all her competitors from start to finish, holding off Colts Neck's Ashley Higginson and Suffern's Shelby Greany to win the Eastern States Championships in a time of 14:14.65. 'It's always fun because there's so many people cheering for you,' said Davidson, who beat her previous best Manhattan Invitational time by close to 30 seconds. 'You get pumped even though it's at the end of the race. It's the best feeling.' Davidson said she felt a bit tired as she warmed up early Saturday. When it came time to race, though, she seemed to be in perfect form. 'My goal is to lead from start to finish, which I did, but it was pretty close,' she said. 'I'm pretty sure this is my favorite course.' Cassie Goutos was next for Saratoga Springs in 36th place while Ashley McElroy was 40th. The Blue Streaks finished third with 190 points, behind winner and the nation's 18th-ranked team Midlothian ( Va.) with 148 points and Eleanor Roosevelt ( Md. ) with 172 points. 'The girls did really well, and this will motivate them to work even a little bit harder,' Saratoga Springs coach Linda Kranick said. 'They did a good job. They ran a good race today and I think we can improve a bit.'

New York State Class AA top-ranked Hilton was fourth with 203 points. Greenwich, the state's top-ranked Class C team, finished seventh in the Eastern States with 242 points. The Witches were led by Caitlin Lane's fifth-place finish (14:27.96). 'The times weren't bad,' Greenwich coach Steve Patrick said. 'Caitlin was disappointed. She wanted to run a little better than that. But even if she ran her best race, there still would have been a two-minute gap.' Emily Fung finished 22nd for Greenwich (15:08.38). Also at the Manhattan Invitational Saturday, Saratoga Springs' Christopher Allen finished third in the varsity A race with a time of 12:43.23. For Allen, it was an improvement of more than a minute from last year's race.