Cross Country team journeys to New York City; competes in milestone race


Ian Rodriguez, Staff Writer

For the first time in school history, the cross country team traveled to New York City to compete in the Manhattan College Invitational; the largest single-day cross country race in the nation. 

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022, the race attracted over 8,000 runners from the east coast. Athletic Director Regina Grubb commented that she knew it was a high-level race and hoped the runners saw high-level competition. The reigning state champions brought the top 12 runners on the boys’ and girls’ teams to the Big Apple for the milestone event.

The course offered a unique challenge, running for a distance of two-and-a-half miles — a half-mile shorter than the five-kilometer courses the team typically runs on. While the shorter distance may have assisted the runners in their performance, it didn’t take away from their success. Coach Prasad Gerard highlighted four of the top runners as Daisy Dastrup and Anna Bodmer from the girls’ side as well as William Beane and Aaron Longbrake from the boys’ side. In the girls’ race, Dastrup finished fifth and Bodmer finished 19th. In the boys’ race, Beane finished 14th and Longbrake placed 21st. 

The team was up to the task, not only competing but excelling against the enhanced competition they encountered even in spite of a vacancy left by one of their best runners.

“I’m happy with how our team performed because even without Caleb Dastrup, one of our strongest runners, we were still able to compete against teams from all across the east coast,” said Beane when asked his opinion on the race.

Outside of the race, the runners also had opportunities to explore the city and bond with their teammates. All the runners were able to explore the city in different ways, and Gerard agreed that this was a valuable experience for them. He and some of the runners had the opportunity to attend the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which added an enriching highlight to their trip.

“We went to Central Park and climbed the rocks, which was really fun,” said Beane. “We also got to see all the memorials in the park like the John Lennon and Jackie Kennedy Memorial.”

The cross country team concluded their season with a pair of regional championship titles. In November’s state championship meet, the boys claimed their second consecutive state title, while the girls finished runners-up.