Hugh Merkle Team - COMPASS RE

School District Wins Cross-Country Title

Posted November 13th 2023

The Avalon Stone Harbor Schools’ cross-country runners are now the Cape Atlantic Junior League champions. It is the first time the team has won the title.

Under coach Laura Salvesen, the 32 runners capped off a 9-0 season on Oct. 23 when both the boys’ and girls’ squads beat Bishop McHugh in a 1.5-mile race from Surfside Park in Avalon. The boys finished the meet with a score of 16-39 (lowest number being the better score) and the girls won by a score of 15-40.

This is the third year the school district has had the cross-country program. Salvesen said one of the highlights of the season was watching one of the youngest runners, JJ Corrado: “He’s a standout runner and performer for being so young and inexperienced.” At 10, he’s one of the youngest runners on the team. He has broken his own school record multiple times this year, and tied it at final meet.

Corrado finished first for the boys’ team with a time of 9 minutes, 34 seconds. He said he enjoys being on the cross-country team because it enables him to get close with people he otherwise may not have had the opportunity to meet. “It’s a good way to stay in shape and it’s a good experience overall,” he said. “If you have an opportunity to join the team, you should do it.” Alex Gonzalez, 13, came in second at 9:51, and Ford Smith, 11, was third at 9:55.

Brynn Cunningham, 12, was the girls’ winner in a time of 10:00. Cunningham, who wears her lucky socks to every meet, said one of her favorite things about being on the team is being with her friends and classmates. Addison Webster, 13, was second in 10:08, and Morgan Sharpe, 13, was third at 10:20.

The top three boys and girls went on to compete in the Cape Atlantic Middle School Cross Country Championship, aka the Meet of Champions, Nov. 1 at William Davies Middle School in Hamilton Township. The boys finished fourth behind Mullica, Ocean City and Margate. JJ Corrado finished fifth overall and broke his own school record again, finishing the race in 9:32. The girls finished sixth, led by Cunningham at 10:32.

“We have a wonderfully youthful and energetic team,” Salvesen said. “It’s only our third season competing as a school and it’s truly inspiring to see our strength lies in our numbers. I’m grateful to have athletes who are always very eager to improve and support one another. With an undefeated season for both boys and girls, I look at the past season and future seasons with great excitement and anticipation.”

Photo caption: The Avalon Elementary boys’ and girls’ cross country runners, with coach Laura Salvesenand assistant coach Tom Marshall.

The Hugh Merkle Team - COMPASS Office: 609-368-9100
374 96th Street, Stone Harbor
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