With the County Group meet right around the corner, the cross country season is flying by. This year’s team has proven that they are ready to run, putting in immense effort at practice which results in their competitive times. Working hard has served them well, as the girl’s and boy’s teams both took second place at the NJIC League meet. This victory was extra sweet for the girl’s team, who were seeded third and surpassed their projected ranking. Sophomore Erin DeMayo also won an individual medal for placing in the girl’s top ten. On the boy’s team, senior Mike Castellanos took home an individual medal for placing in the top ten as well. In addition to Mike’s medal, many more members of the boy’s team were garnered in the freshman, JV, and varsity races.
Preparation for groups has been intense, with speed training workouts aplenty and a day by day plan which everyone has been sticking to. This team will stop at nothing to achieve their full potential, and could really be a prominent name in the county, and perhaps even the section and state down the line. Coach Van Dyk, Bott, and Blake are pushing the runners to reach their goals, and believe in the team fully. Coach Bott is new to the cross country team, bringing increased motivation and inspiration, and serving as a great mentor for the girls. She is training as well, as she will be running the New York Marathon on November 4th for a charity that promotes suicide and mental health awareness. Coach Blake is one of the top distance runners in the state of New Jersey, running for NJIT.
The cross country team is comprised of athletes across all grade levels, with 7 seniors total. Taha Faiq, Jack Whaley, and Mike Castellanos are the captains for the boys team, and the other senior guys include Jared Contreras, Brendan Torres, and Mat Leonessa. On the girls team, Madison Fahmy is the sole senior girl, with the girls’ captain being junior Kaitlyn Sullivan. The captains and the seniors guide the younger runners on the right path, and help them improve as their athletic career progresses. This team is like a family, and their close-knit nature allows every member of the team to grow together and push each other. This season, and in the winter and spring seasons to come for those who do track and field, the cross country runners are truly going the distance!