WASHINGTON TWP. -The boys finished fifth while the girls placed 10th at the South Jersey Group 4 Championships.
Still, the Kingsway teams were happy to be running on the track at Washington Township High School.
You see, the Dragons don’t have a home track.
Kingsway coach Christian Lynch doesn’t make excuses, but he is a realist, too, whose cross-country program is dominant.
“These guys have never had a home meet,” Lynch said. “These guys who have won all these championships have never had a home meet.”
The Kingsway boys scored 50 points as first-place Rancocas Valley scored 89 to outdistance second place Egg Harbor by 14 points.
The Kingsway girls scored 22 points as Rancocas Valley swept both the boys and girls. The Red Devils scored 76 points to beat Egg Harbor by five points.
How does Kingsway practice?
“The hurdles, we just put on the infield and we run on the grass,” Lynch said nonchalantly, “the distance kids I take them over to the middle school where I teach and we run on the sidewalk around the middle school.”
Joey Grandizio, a senior, placed fourth in the 3,200 meters with a 9:46.28 to finish behind Justin Kelly of Cherokee, who won gold with a 9:32.93 and Kingsway sophomore teammate Stone Caraccio, who ran a 9:34.53 and Cherokee’s Christopher Spiask, who ran a 9:39.87.
“Joey is what Kingsway is all about,” said Lynch.
Grandizio doesn’t make excuses either.
“I don’t think you really need a track to train on, we have all the other resources we need,” Grandizio said, “we have a great coaching staff and we have a great teammates, so all you have to do is push each other.
“It’s not all about the track, we go everywhere to race and we get as much racing as possible, so we don’t really need a track,” Grandizio said.
Caraccio, a rising star in a program that has produced so many in middle distance, did win the 1,600 with a 4:20.88 to edge Kelly, who ran a 4:21.36.
“We're going to take advantage of it when we get on a track and race as hard as we can,” said Grandizio, who will attend Boston University and run the 1,600 and 3,200 while majoring in finance.
Kingsway juniors Orion Joyner and Eron Daniel placed first and second respectively in the triple jump with a 44-05.00 and 43-08.50.
“It’s kind of a disadvantage,” Grandizio conceded about not having a track, “we don’t like to have to get on the bus all the time even though we have to.”
Kingsway will get a track, it is just a matter of when.
“Our administration is phenomenal, our AD June Cioffi is phenomenal, she’s like are angel, she is so supportive,” Lynch said. “And our superintendent, Jimmy Lavender, is supportive.
“We want to get a track that’s a jewel,” Lynch added.
Until then, Kingsway will keep showing up at track meets ready to run.
“They are not spoiled at all,” Lynch said. “We come to a meet and we are just happy to be on a track.”
Group 1: Schalick won the girls' title with 47 points over second-place Haddon Heights (40) while the Garnets won the boys' title with 46 points as the Cougars placed second with 35.
Group 2: Haddonfield ran away for the girls’ title with 108 points to top second-place Cinnaminson by 37 points. Conversely, the Willngboro boys won gold by just three points with 68 over Pleasantville.
Group 3: The Winslow girls stormed to the title with 141 points to outdistance silver medalist Mainland (57.50). Delsea took the boys' crown with 140 points as Deptford placed second with 76 points.