The 5-kilometer course at Sunken Meadow is perfect for Ryan Kutch and his tough running style, and this was evident Sunday afternoon.
Kutch finished first at the NSCHSAA cross-country championship with a time of 16 minutes, 24.30 seconds, and he also helped lead St. Anthony's to a second straight team title. Teammates Freddie Buckholtz (16:31.10) and Ryan Dearie (17:00.53) finished second and third, respectively.
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"It feels great and the team won, so I'm even happier," Kutch said. "This is a big personal record for me. I ran it last year and was 20 seconds better today."
He finished third in the league championship last year with a time of 16:47.55.
"This is his kind of course," coach Tim Dearie said. "There are hills and you have to be tough as nails to run it well."
Dearie added that Kutch has improved tremendously since his freshman year. "Every year, he just kept working harder and harder, and getting better and better," he said. "Last fall, he became an elite runner that took our team to a new level."
It was the second straight year St. Anthony's had runners finish in the top three at the league championship.
"It can be hard when you're battling with three guys on the same team, but you have to do it, and I'm happy we all got in the top three," Buckholtz said. "We bring out the best in each other."
"It's awesome to continue the tradition we have of winning here," Dearie said. "We just try to push each other to our limits and keep getting better with each other."
'We're basically all at the same level, so I'm happy to know I have great teammates," Kutch said.
The Friars also were helped by Christopher Langer, who finished sixth (17:35.45), and Timothy Violino, who came in eighth (17:41.23).
St. John the Baptist teammates Chris Tinti (17:05.60) and Devin Laudenschlager (17:15.95) finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Raymond McCusker of Chaminade finished seventh (17:36.86), Kellenberg's Steven Hoffman took ninth (17:43.09) and Chaminade's Christopher Strzelinski came in 10th (17:44.89).