Cross country teams aim high for Fall 2013

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The boys team prepares for the fall season.
The boys team prepares for the fall season.  Photo by Yash Sharma.

This season, expectations for Townsend Harris’  girls and boys cross country teams are once again high. Both teams believe that their squads have the potential to be the best in Queens.

“Cross country is my favorite season,” senior captain Linda Wu said. “It’s the first season of the year and also the season where we, as a team, excel the most.”

In 2012, both teams made notable achievements. At city championships, the boys finished in the top twelve in the 5k, varsity run. Each of the seven varsity runners completed the course in less than twenty minutes. The girls varsity team placed sixth at their city championships, sending former senior Katie Kang to the State Federation meet. This year, the girls hope to make it to States again, while the boys aim to become the first Townsend Harris boys cross country team to qualify for States.

Several runners such as sophomore Noah Silversmith, senior Kyle Su and senior captain Stephanie Loo aspire to set personal records this season.

“Breaking eighteen minutes for the 5k at Van Cortlandt Park would be the perfect way to cap off my senior year,” said Kyle.

Along with captains Stephanie and Linda, seniors Tahsin Akanda and Maria Mahin will be at the helm of the girls team. Senior Thomas Sullivan and junior Yash Sharma make up the duo that will lead the boys.

“I have the privilege of being one of the captains of the jewel of Townsend Harris athletics, the girls cross country team,” said Tahsin. “I wouldn’t  say I’m just excited–I’m also honored to lead a driven team to continue the track dynasty.”

“I feel like we could go really far if we take the season seriously and work hard,” said Yash. “As a junior, I plan on taking cues from the seniors, as they have more experience than I do.”

“We only lost three seniors last year, and our team looks to continue our momentum from last year.  I look to lead the team by inspiring them to do big things,” said Thomas. “This is the most talented boys’ track team we have ever fielded in Townsend Harris history, and everybody has huge potential this year, whether they are a distance runner or a sprinter.”

Last season’s underclassmen were strong assets. The girls won the freshman and sophomore Queens Championships. Yash finished second in the boys sophomore run, and junior Leila Menkor Ono did the same for the girls.

“I hold high goals for myself, which I hope I can reach. I use them to motivate me throughout the season. Varsity is all of our goals, but I just hope to finish the season without any injuries, and have a big improvement from last year,” said sophomore Yasmeen Ally, who finished second in last year’s freshman run.

At THHS, track is a sport with a long history, making the standards high. The runners of the cross country teams know to set goals that are challenging but not impossible.

Noah said, “Everyone on the team won’t have unrealistic expectations of you other than to put in your best effort, race smart, and hope you’ll set records for yourself.”