By Jasmine Bar
Fall sports are over at Briarcliff High School, but Briarcliff’s cross country team has left a laudable legacy behind. In particular, the girls ranked highly at an impressive amount of meets and were recognized on various levels for their excellence.
One of the co-captains of the girls team, Blake Elwood, spoke with great pride. “We’ve come a long way. A few years ago, we didn’t even have enough people to qualify as a legitimate team.” This season, the girls team had ten strong runners who each contributed a great deal to the group’s success.
At the League Championships, the girls came in first place out of five schools. At both the section championships (about 20 schools) and at the country championships (about 40-45 schools), the girls were runner-ups to Bronxville. In addition to these major meets, the girls also collectively ranked notably high at numerous invitationals. Overall, the girls team was ranked 8th in New York State.
In addition to team wins, there have been multiple all-county and all-league individuals. Caroline Pennachio and Ryan Gallagher were recognized as league champs. Recently, Caroline Pennachio, Ian Wax, and Cole DiNome all qualified for the New York State Championships, which was held at SUNY Canton. Caroline finished in 11th place for the Girls Class C Championship – the second Section 1 finisher in her race. Ian and Cole also ran extremely well, finishing 13th and 67th, respectively, in their competitive race.
Amid intense training and a plethora of meets, the cross country team proves to be more than just a sports team. “We do lots of team bonding,” said Mary Donoghue, a member of the team. “Whether it is a city trip or a team dinner, we always find time to spend together.”
It seems that persisting through early morning practices and running on excessively muddy fields has paid off in the case of the Briarcliff’s cross country runners. Only the future can tell if next year’s team can live up to these remarkable feets.