Cross Country Season Wraps Up With a Stellar Season for BHSEC’s Team

Darya Foroohar, ‘20

The sunlight cut through the crisp air as gusts of wind swirled around Van Cortlandt Park, whipping ponytails, tugging on uniforms, and even knocking over the PSAL’s clock, which displayed the times of runners as they crossed the finish line of the Park’s infamous 5k course. It was Saturday, November 10th, and the meet was City Championships, where the top cross country runners from public schools all across NYC converge to battle for 1st place and a coveted spot in the New York State Federation meet. This year, for the first time in BHSEC history, our boys’ team had qualified for this meet. Although they placed sixth in the Manhattan Borough Championships, their average time was four seconds faster than the average time of the school (DeWitt Clinton) that had placed fourth in the Bronx championships, which made them eligible to compete in Cities. News of their qualification came with not a small amount of shock, as well as some anxiety on the part of the boys, who had hoped their season would be over once they had completed Manhattan Championships. “We’re going to get our asses handed to us,” proclaimed Miles Danielski (9th), with a bit of nervous laughter, after I asked him how he was feeling about the upcoming race.

And get their asses handed to them they did. However, they can hardly be blamed, as BHSEC is not particularly known for its athletic prowess. They placed 21st out of 25 teams, but this certainly does not tell the entire story. Going up against big schools like Brooklyn Tech, Susan Wagner, and Beacon takes mental as well as physical strength, and Bard’s boys brought both to Van Cortlandt, many of them getting their best times of the season. The team left the park that afternoon with a sense of accomplishment and pride at what they had achieved.

The rest of their season went very successfully, with the team doing well in the Prospect Park Grand Prix. While the freshman found it a little difficult to adjust to the 5k, they quickly caught on, and the season ended with runners Evan Farley (Y1), Sligo Farel (9th), Miles Danielski (9th), and Isaac Moss (Y1) claiming medals in the various races (Evan and Sligo placed first in Grand Prix #4 and the PSAL Group Run, respectively). Furthermore, they were able to perform well at boroughs even as the meet was switched from a weekend to a weekday due to heavy rain. As no Y2 boys attended meets this season, the team will not be losing any runners next year, and the hope is that the team will become better than ever next season and continue to make a strong showing among the heavyweights of PSAL XC.

The girls team also performed well this season, claiming 6th place in the borough of Manhattan to match the boys, however, their average time was not sufficient to promote them to City Championships. Their borough championships were also postponed, and so they trekked up to Van Cortlandt on a Thursday to run what was a disappointing race for many of the team’s runners, but a memorable one all the same, with the obligatory trip to Lloyd’s Carrot Cake after the race was over. While boroughs did not go quite so well for the girls, the same cannot be said for the rest of their season, which was filled with excitement, PRs, and medals. Hanna Dobroszycki (Y2), Allycia Santa Cruz (9th), Darya Foroohar (Y1), Ella Crowther (10th), and Ophelia Lam (Y1) all medaled in various races throughout the season.

Although the team could only officially attend 3 Grand Prix races, they performed very well and made up for this by attending many meets at Van Cortlandt. While not everyone was able to attend all meets, everyone worked extremely hard and there were many PRs this season, both official and off the books. This season brought the team closer together and taught them many valuable lessons about motivation, dedication, and persistence, and the runners left Van Cortlandt for the last time feeling anticipative about what was to come. Hopefully, next season their efforts will pay off and result in City Championship qualification.

For both teams, the season was filled with difficult practices, some of which were in the pouring rain or blistering heat. From pre-season to the last practice, the team’s energy often dipped, but was always brought back up by the support its runners gave each other, often fueled by captains Eliya Ahmad (Y2) and Evan Farley. When Coach Drew Miller was unable to attend practices (which happened quite a lot if I am going to be honest), they organized workouts and made sure team members did not lose motivation (which is quite easy). Unfortunately, this has been Ahmad’s last season, and the team is losing her, as well as other seniors Dobroszycki and Vanessa Leung. However, before the Y2s leave for good, there is outdoor track season, which starts in March and is bound to bring more running fun for all grades. For now, though, the team is rejoicing in the end of obligatory morning practices, surge runs, and treks to Van Cortlandt, though all of this only served to bring us closer together.