Michael Ungvarsky Has Banner Week – Wins Cross Country State Title and Signs Letter of Intent with Duke

Mike Ungvarsky is surrounded by his family to sign his national letter of intent.

Evan McCarron and Staff Reports, Staff Writer

Senior Michael Ungvarsky is a varsity runner for Cinnaminson High School on the cross country team and winter and spring track teams. In practically all of his races this season, has come in first place, leaving everyone else in the dust and he did that and more this week to win his first cross country state championship.

For example, in the Burlington County Open on October 14, he left all three Cherokee racers behind with a strong move to finish first and just five days later, on October 19, he again came in first place both occasions with his overall time falling below 16:00.

However, at the NJ South Group 2 sectionals on  Saturday, November 5, Mike was upset by sophomore Devin Hart from Point Pleasant Boro, who got in front of Mike and never gave up the lead, winning by 12 seconds.

Mike did not take his loss at sectionals lightly and went out to defeat Hart on Saturday at the Group 2 state championships and did exactly that, winning in 15:58, just meters ahead of Hart.  The victory was only the fourth-ever state championship from a Cinnaminson runner and the first since Jon Anderson in 2004.

Mike can add this state championship to the one that he won on June 4 for the spring track team when he came from the eighth seed to win the 3200 meter race.  But, Mike came into the race on Saturday, looking to erase the memories of a bad race the previous week.

“On the Saturday of sectionals it was a bad day for me,”  Ungvarsky continued, “and I rebounded the following week and took care of my body really well and ran angry, wanting to get revenge (for the previous week’s finish).”

This week, Mike will head into the NJ State Cross-Country Meet of Champions as the seventh seed of all private and parochial runners in the state.  He likes a challenge going into the meet and is looking forward to the competition.

“This Saturday, we are going to see where I can compete with the best runners in the state.  Top three in the state would be good, even top five, but I am looking forward to seeing where I am versus the other top guys in the state,” Mike said.

The week was made even better with his selection of Duke to attend college for the next give years.  Mike chose Duke over Kentucky and Ole Miss, both of whom he had taken recruiting trips for and enjoyed.  However, the comfort and his fit on the team of Duke outweighed the other factors for Mike.

“(The selection of Duke) kind of worked for me because of the combination of athletics and academics that they offer.  After visiting, I found that I was really comfortable with the guys on the team and the campus was great, I really felt comfortable there,” Mike explained.

On Tuesday at school, Mike had the formal letter of intent signing with fellow senior Lily Black, who chose to attend Rutgers to swim for earlier this year.