by Kevin Kerliu and Reese Ganaway
The past few months of hard work by the boys’ and girls’ Cross Country teams across New York City had all led up to their two final races – Borough and City Championships. With each team’s mind set on the same outcome – victory – it was imperative that each team set a precedent for victory at City Champs with a favorable outcome at their respective Borough Champs prior to the culminating PSAL race of the season, and that is exactly what MSIT brought home on the morning of October 29th. The Varsity boys finished in first place, bringing home gold from Van Cortlandt Park with an impressive low point total of 43. Oadhan Lynch led not only the team, but also the race, finishing in first place. Sean Okubo and Omar Toro finished closely behind in 3rd and 7th places, respectively. The Varsity girls also finished strong, coming in second to Wagner, largely due to MaryKate Drennan’s 1st place finish and Cassidy Williams’s 2nd place finish. With this momentum, the boys and girls were able to head into City Champs motivated and focused.
On November 12th, all of the PSAL cross country athletes in the city lined up at the starting line at Van Cortlandt Park, ready to give it their all. The MSIT boys’ lineup included Oadhan Lynch, Sean Okubo, Omar Toro, Andy Wang, Kurtis Chan, Andrei Acosta, and Mark Melnik. The MSIT girls’ lineup included Cassidy Williams, MaryKate Drennan, Dylan St. Lawrence, Xin Yu Zhu Jiang, Natalie Williams, Jessie Lou, and Ning Ting Ni. All the grueling months of training had come down to an event of less than 20 minutes–the event that would decide who the best in the city were. It turns out the MSIT Cross Country boys are going to the infamous States Champs after all, thanks to their impressive second-place finish. Likewise, the girls are also going to States thanks to their great performance, a fourth-place finish. Oadhan Lynch, the boys’ top athlete, spoke about the team’s impeccable performance, claiming the team did “the best [it] could have done”. With a second-place finish at a city-wide event, Lynch seemed ecstatic but also realistic, explaining how although he could have ran a better time, catching first place was unrealistic. However, it is important to note that this is a big feat for Lynch, as he is still a junior, and with the current first-place athlete being a senior, Lynch is in a prime position to take first place next year. Despite his success, Oadhan is determined to perform even better at his last Cross Country meet of the season, State Championships. He plans to run sub 17 on the tough State’s course, and is already thinking about his race strategy, explaining how he plans to “go out conservative and hit the downhills hard”. In terms of the future, Lynch was very optimistic as this Cross Country season was unique with only 2 seniors on Varsity (meaning that the team will still be very strong at the beginning of the next cross country season). In regards to the season immediately following this year’s Cross Country season (Indoor Season) Oadhan has high hopes, aiming to put in enough effort to run sub 4:20 in the mile by Outdoor Season. Similarly, senior MaryKate Drennan was also very positive concerning the girls’ team and its ambitions as well as her own. She was especially proud of the team’s performance at Cities, explaining how “after not performing well at boroughs and losing to Wagner, I think we all tried to step up our game and run a good race so that the whole team could make it to states”. In terms of time, Drennan acknowledged that her performance could have been better, but she realized this during the race and thus focused on putting herself in a good position to help her team’s final score. On the other hand, Drennan was very proud of her teammates, as most of the Varsity girls ran 45 to 60 seconds faster than last year–a tremendous improvement. Looking to the near future, MaryKate hopes for a personal record at States and she hopes to be one of the top 50 athletes at the prestigious event. She also explained how she looks forward to the competition there, emphasizing how she thrives on it and thinks that States will be the perfect environment for a great personal record. Meanwhile, Drennan has other impressive goals lined up for the upcoming indoor season–she aims to improve in the mid-distance events and, of course, qualify for the infamous New Balance Indoor Nationals. Long term, the star athlete has no worries for the team as a whole, as only 3 of 7 Varsity runners are graduating this year. Because of this, next year’s Cross Country season is already looking promising.
Over the past years, MSIT’s Track team has seen its fair share of peaks and valleys, but the future looks exceptionally bright–with two seasons left in the year, there is no telling what else our strong group of seniors has in store!