Overachieving goes beyond classrooms and onto the track

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After the race, freshman Muhamed Bicic and junior co-captain Yash Sharma pose with their first place medals. Photo taken <br /><figcaption id=Photo by Junwoo Shin

On October 2, the THHS track team joined other boys cross country runners from high schools all over Queens to gather at the starting line of the Grand Prix #2, which took place at Cunningham Park. Their performance was quite respectable, with several varsity members taking home medals and one freshman earning his second consecutive first place finish.

The starter stepped forward, yelled, “Get ready, get set… ” and bang went the gun, and the cross country boys immediately darted forward, leaving their coaches and the remaining team members in the dust. They disappeared into the forests of Cunningham Park, over hills and tons of grass, and reappeared to cross the finish line. Once they completed the race, the boys let out breaths of relief, glad that they finished the race.

The Townsend Harris assistant coach, Orlando Martinez, had instructed the varsity cross country boys team to treat this meet as a workout, making sure that each and every boy stuck together, running at the same pace. However, his instructions were largely ignored by the team.

Cunningham Park was filled with a swarm of gnats, which latched onto the boys’ clothing. Nevertheless, the boys ran their hardest.

“I was running the race like a workout up until the point I realized that I was actually up in the front, so I got into it and actually started racing,” junior captain Yash Sharma explains. He got 1st place in the 5k varsity race, with a time of 19:26, while senior Thomas Sullivan received 4th place, finishing less than a minute after Yash. Others, such as junior Ross Cimagala, beat his personal record of 31:14 by almost five minutes. Junior Igor Portnoi stopped running momentarily, but sprinted to full speed at the end, getting 20th place.

For the freshman 1.5 mile, freshmen Muhamed Bicic and Patrick Menchaca represented Townsend Harris. Muhamed took 1st place again in this event after recently winning first at their first meet on September 24. His time of 8:46 beat his recent personal record by 10 seconds.

“I feel like I could’ve done better” was a commonly heard phrase amongst the Harrisite runners after the meet. Even Patrick, who looked about ready to collapse after the race, felt that way, even though he had only started running track a week ago.

When asked how they felt after the race, there were mixed reactions. Most runners, such as Patrick and sophomore Noah Silversmith, were exhausted. Igor seemed openly furious about his performance, saying, “I felt sort of angry at my performance and felt I could’ve done much better if I didn’t stop momentarily. I knew that since at the end I was able to fully sprint, which indicates I still had enough energy.”

However, both Ross and senior captain Thomas felt good about the race they ran. Thomas commented, “I saw towards the end that there were four guys in front of me, so I chased every one of them down and had an amazing kick.”

On Sunday, October 6, the boys cross country team will have another meet at Van Cortlandt Park against runners from all the different boroughs.

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