2017 saw my first, and probably last, 5K with a relative (my niece Lauren, above). It was at the Stomp the Monster 5K in Monroe in June.
Stats for the year:
1,028.1 Total Miles
278 Days Running including a streak of 173 Days
Average/Day = 3.6982
A pulled calf muscle in mid December ended my consecutive running streak of 173 days. This is my personal record as an "old man" but in college I ran over 200 days once--don't have the exact number though.
This would have been the first year in which I ran seven road races. But fifteen minutes before the start of the August 3rd race, a massive thunderstorm moved through the area. Subsequent road flooding caused the race to be canceled.
I ran for time in the 6/4, 9/16, and 11/23 races. In all of the others I treated as hard workouts.
April 1 Colonia 5K 26:28
June 4 Marlboro 5K 25:20
July 4 Cranford 4 Miler 34:01
August 3 Colonia 5K Canceled due to thunderstorm
September 16 Caldwell 5K 24:42
November 23 Green Brook Turkey Trot 5K 24:57
December 2 Reindeer Run 26:16
Upper School Girls
Record: no record due to only three girls on the team
Invitationals - ditto
It was a tough year for this squad. We started with three girls (one Senior, one Sophomore, and one Freshman) in August. The Sophomore went down with a knee problem and did not return til early October. The Freshman Kynise (above) was a hard worker and earned the Most Improved Runner award. At the state meet she finished first among the three female runners. There are five female 8th graders who will be moving up from the Middle School X-C team, so next year's squad will have at least the required 7 runners to compete in races. More about the 8th graders can be found below.
Upper School Boys
Newark Academy Inv'l - not enough runners entered to form a team
County Championship - 24th of 24 teams
Preps Championship - 8th of 8 team
State Championship - not enough runners
The eight boys that we started with in August lasted the whole season with a few injuries here and there. The team consisted of 2 Seniors, 1 Junior, 2 Sophomores, and 3 Freshmen.
Although the team as a whole did not have much success, one of the Freshmen, Zane, (above) attended every practice and every workout from August 14 to November 11. This Ripkenesque achievement earned Zane the Most Dedicated Runner Award. One of the Seniors, Suraj, (below) came into the season holding the school record for the 5K. This was the program's fourth year of existence. Suraj broke his own record 3 times lowering the time to 18:19. That feat earned Suraj the Runner of the Year Award.
Middle School Boys
County Championship - Varsity - only three runners entered
County Championship - Junior Varsity - 18th of 18 teams
Pumpkin Run - Varsity - 10th of 13 teams
Pumpkin Run - Junior Varsity - not enough runners
This was the largest Middle School Cross Country team in the four years of its existence. Thirty youngsters signed up to run and 11 of them were boys. The boys team lacked depth and had only three strong runners. That is why only three runners entered the Counties Varsity race. At the Pumpkin Run, we decided to load up the Varsity Team and the few leftovers ran in the JV. Two of those top three runners are 8th graders and one of them is expected to run with the Upper School in 2018.
Middle School Girls
County Championship - Varsity - 4th of 15 teams
County Championship - Junior Varsity - 7th of 19 teams
Pumpkin Run - Varsity - 1st of 7 teams
Pumpkin Run - Junior Varsity 3rd of 3 teams
19 girls made up this squad. Every year the Middle School girls are the shining jewel of the Wardlaw + Hartridge Cross Country program. The 10 wins was a record for the team. In fact, there were 14 consecutive wins spanning 2016 and 2017. The 4th place finish at the Counties was the best by the school at the varsity race. The amazing finish by the JV squad showed how deep this team really is. At the Pumpkin Run, the girls knew it would be hard to defend the trophy they won in 2016. We sent our 10 best runners to the line and they ran their best race of the year. Nine of the top 27 runners wore the green and gold. We scored 32 points ahead of second place Kent Place which had 55 points. Champions posed for a post race picture below.
Individually, the girls attained many PBs during the season. Bronwyn (below on left) was again the top runner. She won 8 individual races, finished 3rd at the Counties, and 2nd at the Pumpkin Run. Only a 7th grader, she will be back in 2018 to lead the team to more success.
And finally a mention of the depth on this team. Of the 19 girls on the team, 11 were experienced enough to be considered our top runners. In Cross Country, the "Top Seven" is the elite racing group that every runner wants to be a part of. All eleven runners were good enough to make the Top Seven. But the seven below were the ones that worked the hardest and ran the Varsity race at Counties.
Left to right are Jasmine (6th), Jeni Lynn (8th), Nelagh (6th), Bronwyn (6th), Tenajah, (8th), Ananya (8th), and Shreya (8th). I still hate the New York Yankees but I enjoyed stealing their moniker from the 90s to use for my 8th graders. During the very first week of coaching this talented group, I began to affectionately refer to them as the "Core Four". They are very close friends and have been the leaders of the Girls Team for the past four years. They and one other 8th grader will be moving up to the Upper School team and will greatly improve that squad.