Turkey Trot draws a crowd of holiday runners

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The Turkey Trot, an annual event hosted by the Boys and Girls Cross Country teams, took place on Wednesday, November 21st, the day before Thanksgiving. Principal Anthony Barbetta and 90 other runners began the race at 3:30 P.M, running 1.5 miles around the Queens College Track and Lacrosse Field. The race not only included the boys and girls Cross Country teams, but also faculty, alumni, and other students.
Sophomore Yash Sharma, the November Athlete of the Month, took the lead early on. He eventually found himself trailed by sophomore Zach Ooi, alumnus Justin Lee, junior Thomas Sullivan, and senior Isaac Pulatov. Four hundred meters into the race, Justin Lee took the lead, and maintained it unchallenged. Yash Sharma and Zach Ooi stayed behind, racing amongst themselves. Thomas Sullivan and Isaac Pulatov fell behind to fourth and fifth, respectively.

As expected, Justin Lee, crossed the finish line 1st, at 7:54. He graduated THHS in 2011, was a multiple time MVP and captain, and now competes for Hunter College.

Physical education teacher Mr. Hanson said, “I’m impressed. I’ve never seen 1.5 in 7:54.” Justin himself declined to comment.

Zach Ooi, after trailing Yash Sharma the whole race, out-sprinted him to finish second, and first among students, at 8:10. “I decided to stay with my teammate and friend Yash because he runs a fast pace. I stuck with him as long as I could, and sprinted about two hundred meters to go. I went hard because I wanted to impress my friends and show people that Track can be a competitive and attractive sport.”

Yash Sharma finished five seconds behind him. “I took the lead in the beginning because I wanted to start out fast, and paced mostly with Justin. It was a nice clean race, and I’m happy with my results.”

Perhaps the star of the event was Principal Anthony Barbetta. After starting off the race, he ran with everybody else, sporting a Townsend Harris hooded sweatshirt. He crossed the finish line in 43rd place with a time of 11:59, slightly faster than an 8 minute mile pace. “Let me just say this; I have a much better appreciation for the track team and those who run it than I have for those who run the New York City marathon.”

The only other faculty running was Mr. Stonehill, assistant coach of the girls’ track team. He said, “I’m just happy to participate. It’s a lot of fun and we hope to see more staff next year. There’s no reason why there shouldn’t be more.”

Noah Silversmith finished first among freshmen and tenth overall, at 9:48.  Sophomore Leila Menkor Ono finished first among girls and thirteenth overall at 10:04. Fellow sophomore Gabriella Kluzinski finished sixteenth overall at 10:06, and second for the girls. Leila commented, “Gaby and I worked it, we motivated each other to end cross country with a good race. It was a great time to run with our old captain, Andia Paz, and new principal.”

The ninth place finisher, at 9:45, was Joshua Solomon, Athlete of the Year for the class of 2012, and a former Track and Baseball captain. “I wanted to come back and run with my own teammates and show that I can still run. But, it’s not always as easy to run as you think. I especially appreciate all the support from my teammates.”

Tyler Najac of the class of 2012, finished fifteenth at 10:06, and commented jokingly, “It was nice to dig my shoes out of the closet.”

Mr. Rio, coach of the boys’ track team, said, “The Turkey Trot this year was a tremendous success. I’d like to thank Principal Barbetta, Coach Stonehill, Coach Connor, both cross country teams and their captains, Isaac Pulatov, Katie Kang, Judith Suzuki, and Klaudia Gancarz, the alumni, and every student who came out here to race today to make this event a success.”