Girls Cross Country Team makes it to States for the first time in 11 years

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After placing fourth in The PSAL City Championship, the Girls Varsity Cross Country team made history by qualifying for states for the first time in 11 years. To compete in states, the team traveled to Bowdoin State Park in upstate New York in November. Although the team did not qualify for nationals, they had the unique opportunity to run against some of the best athletes in New York.

This year’s cross country team was coached by math teacher Timothy Connor and captained by seniors Anusha Ramjanam, Erica Jin, and Kate Estevez (Editor in Chief of The Classic) who were able to encourage the team to improve their running throughout the season. “The fact that this opportunity came about because of all the hard work the girls did throughout the season was incredibly gratifying. I am incredibly proud of the team,” said Kate. 

Since THHS hasn’t qualified for States in over a decade, many team members did not expect the success that came their way. “It felt pretty unreal when we found out about our qualification at our city champs meet, but I was glad I got to do it with the team,” said sophomore Lelaina Madrazo.

Reflecting on the success of the team, Mr. Connor said, “The team found success through a combination of hard work and believing in themselves and their training.” Along with the hard work and miles that the team put in this year, Erica said, “the strength and capability it takes to be able to alter your mindset towards running is just a talent that makes us unique and worthy of going to states.” 

Seven varsity runners competed at States and were prepared to run a 5K, or around 3.1 miles, the distance of all Varsity Cross Country races. “I was nervous but a little excited to be racing on a new course,” said Junior Emma Cheng. Despite ranking low as an overall team in the competition, the individual athletes felt the opportunity helped them achieve some personal goals. “I really wanted to sub 24 at states despite the rough course, and I did, so that was truly rewarding at the finish line,” said Erica.

Last year’s captain, Isabelle Borgstedt, attended States as a spectator to cheer on her old teammates. “It was so lovely to see my former team make it to States, and it was such an honor to be there to support them. They all worked so hard to get there, and I am super proud of them,” she said.

Apart from running, the team was able to make unforgettable memories and have a unique bonding experience. “My favorite part of the trip was just hanging out with all of my friends and being excited about everything there. It was also very fun to stay in a hotel room together and eat snacks while watching TV and playing games,” said Junior Abigail Schwartz.

As the team runs through the winter season, they continue to use lessons that they learned from their states experience. “We are always very supportive, which makes [running] more fun and makes it easier to push ourselves and try our best,” said Abigail.

Photo courtesy Kate Estevez

Additional reporting by Evan Qiu