I can safely say that the coaching staff is quite pleased with this season and the effort and achievements of all involved. The Boys went 7-1 / 2nd in Division and the Girls 7-2 /2nd in Division. Obviously we were delighted to qualify both of our squads (4th place sectional medals) to the State Group Championship.
The weekend schedule we faced was the toughest in the program’s history. It is my hope that this helped us at season’s end.
It was the largest team in school history, but unfortunately we lost a few along the way because of injuries. This is the nature of the sport and something that every team faces and must deal with.
A great many of our returning runners really improved their PR’s from the previous year. This was very encouraging. Some of our new runners dropped times substantially after they became acquainted with doing a 5k race.
Our Captains- Ming Emma, and Saumya did a first rate job. They were great leaders and took a lot of pride in the SHS XC program. I can not thank the three of you enough.
Did we have a good time? Was there a family atmosphere? I truly think so. The hugging and tears in the parking lot after we arrived back from the Group Meet told a wonderful story.
If there was one flaw in the season, it would be our State Group performance. I do believe that both teams have the talent to return next year. Let’s not stop our goals at the Sectionals – there is no reason to fold the tent after this meet. We will address this and the staff will make preparations to see that we improve at this stage.
It must be noted that the Meadowlands Division of the NJIC will have a very different look to it for the next 2 year cycle. Changes are on the way within the Conference and there is even the slight possibility that we move to the Colonial Division. When this is all figured out, you will certainly be the first to know. It makes no difference where we land. We will be prepared and we will be competitive.
Our weekend schedule of invitationals will take a different look as well – it always does. We will evaluate this past season, look at our roster and its needs, and decide what meets will be best for the team. However, you can pencil in the Crusader Invitational at Monroe Woodbury, NY. It was an excellent run meet, great competition, and a killer course.
A very important objective of this entire squad will be to recruit additional runners. We need athletes and they DO NOT have to be distance runners. If you want this program to succeed, you must all be involved in the recruitment process. Nothing can top peer recruitment.
I want to thank Claire and Chris for their professionalism and friendship. I am always open to their advice, suggestions, and criticisms. It is what makes our program work. It is a great combination of experience. It was very meaningful to me on a personal level to have Chris be a part of this staff. He is one of us, is part of our rich XC history, served as a Team Captain, and has collegiate running experience.
This season marked my 44th year as a high school coach. My love for being involved with young people, a part of this wonderful sport, and watching you all grow in front of my eyes, is indeed such a special thing to me. This is a fabric of my life; each of you become a thread in this. I have never once taken this responsibility lightly. It is my hope and intention to be around for quite some time. Coaching is not a profession, it is an honor.
To our departing seniors, I wish you nothing but the best. May the remainder of your senior year be filled with long lasting memories. I expect you all to stay in touch and let me know of the happenings in your life. If I can help you in any way, you know where to find me. The bond has been formed and we are all one now moving forward in life.
Those of you participating on the indoor and/or outdoor track and field team – please keep me posted on results. I truly care about you all – it does not just end when XC is over. I am also so pleased and proud that our new head track and field coach will be none other then Chris Panepinto.
My last thank you is for allowing me to play a small role in each of your lives.
The work of putting together the 2018 cross-country season has already begun.
Always PROUD of YOU. Go Patriots!