Boys’ Cross Country Team Crowned PSAL Champions

The Boys' Varsity Cross Country team ends a phenomenal season by capturing the PSAL City Championship title on November 9th, 2019

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Jing Mae Wang

The varsity team lines up with their medals after claiming the PSAL championship title. “We knew we could win if we ran well, and we didn't want to let ourselves down,” said Wyatt Morgan ’20.

Against the two-time defending champion, Susan Wagner, few expected the Wolverines Cross Country team to come out as victorious. However, after an intense, nerve-wracking cross country season, Bronx Science went from being last year’s underdogs to sweeping the 2019 Cross Country Championship. 

Although Susan Wagner’s team was a heavy favorite at the start of the season, it was clear the tables had turned after Bronx Science’s astounding performances at meets and dedication to practices throughout the year. After dominating the Bronx Borough Championships, the varsity team entered to compete in the finals. The team was comprised of seven runners with the fastest 5K times throughout the season: Sawyer Cooper ’20, Nate Lentz ’20, Wyatt Morgan ’20, Shmuel Padwa ’20, Itamar Pres ’21, Sean Kerrigan, ’22, and John Payne ’22.

The beginning of the team’s success was marked by Coach Mei’s implementation of new rigorous summer training schedules. “This year we also had quite a few athletes who really trained over the summer,” said Wyatt Morgan ’20. The entire team is always self-motivated to set personal records, especially in cross country, living by the motto that every practice counts. From high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts to strength drills, students determined to kick off the season on a high-note participated with enthusiasm. 

Along with dedicating significant time to physical training, Coach Mei also worked on mental game. We all want to see our times improve. He motivates us by making it clear that running is a sport where you get exactly as much as you put in,” said Ethan Pascual ’21. “He once asked, ‘What is pain?’ One of us replied ‘pain is weakness leaving the body’ and Coach Mei said, ‘That’s right!’” said Michael Le ’21. Mental fortitude distinguishes the top athletes from the rest. When battling through pressure from spectators or running in a difficult course, a positive mindset is indispensable. 

On the course, “The back hills are always the toughest part of the Van Cortlandt 5K,” said Sean Kerrigan ’22. “I took out the first mile fast and tried to stick with the pace as best I could, telling myself that every uphill has its downhill.” While Susan Wagner’s seven runners started the race strong, the Wolverines were confident that they had the heart to succeed. “We definitely had the mindset that we could win because we had better times than them and we had done a ton of work to beat them,” said Captain Nate Lentz ’20. 

Seniors Sawyer Cooper and Nate Lentz spent the entire season exchanging places atop the leaderboard. It was only fitting that the duo finished side-by-side at the PSAL City Championships. “It felt great, as we have been teammates and friends for a long time, so it felt good to win the race together,” said Lentz. Varsity captains Cooper and Lentz went sub-17:00 as they crossed the finish line at 16:32 and 16:34, respectively. Junior Itamar Pres finished 5th overall at an astounding 16:51 and Senior Shmuel Padwa came in at 17:00. With the rest of the team not far behind and four members in the top-10 overall, the Wolverines were almost guaranteed the win. 

At 17:20, Wyatt Morgan narrowed down Bronx Science’s time to secure the title. To complete the scoring, the incredible sophomores Sean Kerrigan, at 17:36, and John Luke Payne, at 17:56, crossed soon after. “The feeling was indescribable, I just remember making eye contact with Nate and Sawyer and screaming ‘LET’S GO!’ as loud as I could while pumping my fist in excitement before being yelled at by a PSAL official to give them my tag from my bib,” said Kerrigan.

The boys won by an exceedingly large margin, “We went into the race hungry to win, and we came out winning by over 50 points,” said Lentz. Nate trains every day after school with his friends and has been an avid member of the cross country team since day one. Ending his sensational four-year career on the Bronx Science team with a blast, “I only hope that next year’s team can defend our title and improve on what we have built this year,” said Lentz.

As Bronx Science looks to defend its title next year, the returning members will need to rise to the challenge to uphold the varsity team’s success. “We’ll need a few other strong runners to fend off Wagner, and I believe our sophomores will step up to fill the gap left by the current seniors,” said Kerrigan. Nonetheless, the culmination of the commitment set forth by this year’s varsity team will forever go down in Bronx Science history. 

Jing Mae Wang
Nate Lentz ’20 runs alongside his fellow varsity captain, Sawyer Cooper ’20 during a race.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jing Mae Wang
Itamar Pres ’21 runs along the Van Cortlandt 5K course at the city finals. He will lead the Wolverines as one of the team’s top cross country runners next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cross country coaches and the varsity team claim the coveted PSAL banner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The culmination of the commitment set forth by this year’s varsity team will forever go down in Bronx Science history.