Girls Cross Country wins big

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Girls Cross Country Team gather around their trophy. Photo taken <br /><figcaption id=Photo taken by Doris Zheng.

The Lady Hawks travelled to Van Cortlandt Park on Saturday, October 26 to take part in the PSAL Queens Borough Championships where they competed against other runners from public high schools.

The girls gathered by the straightaway of the course before the race.  Junior Camille Chan led some of the girls in song. Sophomore Yasmeen Ally and juniors Gaby Kluzinski and Nina Leeds joined Camille in a verse of “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys, which made many of the surrounding girls loosen up and laugh.

Along with many of her teammates, junior Hannah Jang had high expectations saying, “I expect everyone to try their hardest and to improve overall as a team and individuals.”

Freshman Maressa Cumbermack added, “I’m expecting us all to try our best today and hopefully place higher than last time and set personal records.”

Coach Timothy Conner was confident about his team saying, “They will do their best and if they don’t they will be the only ones upset about it.”

The varsity girls were the first to run. As a team, they placed second with seventy-two points. Senior captain Stephanie Loo led the THHS girls across the finish line with a time of 23:03. She met her previous personal time record and placed tenth. Junior Elaine Li, sophomore Yasmeen Ally, and seniors Annika Joeng and Captain Linda Wu all finished in the top twenty.

“I think my performance today was decent, but I feel that my times haven’t yet shown the ways that I’ve improved and grown as a runner this year,” said Stephanie.  “I am very thankful for every race I’ve ran this season, and I’m proud of my personal progress.  All the glory and honor is due to God – it is only through Him that I am able to run.”

The junior varsity team led by junior Nina Leeds, placed first in all of Queens. Leeds finished with a time with 23:57, so far her best time this season. She was followed by sophomore Hailey Lam, who placed second with a time of 24:12.  Senior Esther Jou, sophomore Joanna Huo, and juniors Stephanie Geier and Michelle Shin also finished in the top ten. Overall, the girls placed first, making them the top junior varsity team in Queens.

As she crossed the finish line, Nina said she was thinking of, “the quote on our old team sweatshirts: ‘Pain is temporary, victory is forever.’” She explained how it “really pushed [her] to fight through the pain and to the finish line.”

“I don’t think the cold weather played that much of a role on our performances today. Even though we were shivering and huddling, I think we all prefer it over a really sunny, hot day,” said Michelle.

Freshman Brianna Manginelli finished strong, using her final burst of energy to sprint past the two runners ahead of her to place seventeenth. Her efforts caused Coach Stonehill to comment that she had “a lot left in the tank” as he cheered her on.

“I found it rather difficult to sprint to the finish line yesterday, but everytime I run a straightaway I always hear Mr.Connor yelling for me to prove to him that I should be a sprinter, and that’s always my goal at the end of a race,” Brianna said.

Nina added, “I was also very lucky to have my team perfectly placed throughout the race.  I felt that every time I started to lose my form, a teammate would be right there on the sidelines, screaming words of inspiration and telling me how to fix my form.  I honestly wouldn’t have been able to push through without them.”

Senior captain Tahsin Akanda expects great things from her team in future races, saying, “My team has great potential and I expect no less from it than I do myself: self-improvement. At the end of the day, I ask myself why I run and I say it’s for myself, so I not only expect everyone to strive to do their best, but reconnect with the fun of the sport.”

The girls will compete next in two City Championship meets at Van Cortlandt Park on Saturday, November 2nd and November 9th. They expect to succeed.