Dean Tae '24
Mar 18, 2023
Most students have probably seen a pack of shirtless students running around campus. Those dedicated runners are the cross country teams and they have delivered some outstanding performances since the start of their season.
The biggest highlight of the season for the girls team so far has been its meet at Carlisle on September 24. Although not registered as an official team due to unexpected illness and injury in a few runners, the team excelled.
“Every single person who ran broke a personal record, so that was really exciting,” Erika Tso Sowah ’24 said.
The boys’ team also ran well at Carlisle. The top four varsity runners–Bryce Brown ’24, Brendan Shorb ’24, Cole Smith ’23, and Winston Watkins ’25–paced themselves in a tight pack, ultimately finishing within twenty seconds of one another.
“It was great to see that pack of white-and-blue jerseys at the front of the field,” said assistant coach and history teacher Rich Heffron.
The team’s only home meet of the season, occurring during Family & Alumni Weekend, was another highlight for several runners. Among several teams, the girls finished second and the boys third.
“Running our home meet this weekend was an amazing experience having a home crowd and a strong performance of the team despite the weather,” said Jake Cruikshank ’24.
“The home meet was my highlight of the season since I got to see my friends and family cheer for me as I ran,” Oscar Su ’25 agreed.
The girls cross country team, even with the loss of many runners due to injury and sickness, still dominates the ranks during meets. Most runners have achieved personal records during meets and some even continue to set personal bests every week.
“Some highlights from the season are getting the opportunity to watch all of the new runners set PRs and bonding with the team,” agreed Leah Willis ’24.
Heffron says that the team will be in shape to challenge for the Mid-Atlantic Prep League title in the upcoming championships. “We've been progressing steadily from race to race and although we are currently the third strongest team in MAPL right behind Peddie and Lawrenceville, our guys have been running personal bests almost every race so I think there's a chance we could surprise our rivals at the conference meet.”
Anne Sehon ’25 is very optimistic about the team’s finish. “The season has definitely been a bit rocky so far, with only our first meet being run with an entirely healthy varsity squad, but it feels like we're on an incline towards running faster as a team,” said Sehon.
David Grady, boys head coach and math teacher, has lofty yet achievable goals for his athletes. “I expect all of our runners to improve significantly from last season. We have already had several runners performing at a much higher level than last year, both in terms of their times and their placing in large meets. Cole Smith and Winston Watkins are two such runners. Jake Cruikshank and Oscar Su are ahead of where they were last year as well,” said Grady.
Both girls and boys cross country teams are looking forward to contending for the MAPL championship at Peddie School on October 26, followed by the PAISAA state championship on October 29.
With such great expectations already set by the runners, the remainder of the season is one to anticipate.