By ALISON PARK, freshman
Rain or shine, the cross country team sacrificed lazy summer mornings to train for the upcoming fall season. As the 2015 season progresses, the runners continue push themselves to their maximum capabilities as the boys aim to set new personal records while the girls compete for their second GMC title.
Having already individually medalled in three invitationals—the Battle at Ocean County Park, the Red Division Championships, and the Central Jersey Shootout—the girls cross country team is on track to another GMC title. Through the pouring rain or up the infamous hill at Thompson Park, Brillian Bao (12) is motivated by her coaches’ unconditional support, “They pushed me to see potential within myself, and I learned to rise to each challenge, trying to run each race better than the last.” Both captains Brillian Bao and Samantha Anderson (12), as well as Coach Azher, a JP cross country alumni, pass that constant encouragement and support to the team. Leading the way for the Lady Hawks this year is sophomore Angela Cao. Last year, she led the girls team to its first GMC title, placing 9th in the entire county. But her success only prompted her to work harder. After a summer of training, she finished a dual meet against Piscataway in 19 minutes and 40 seconds, becoming one of the fastest girls in JP history. Angela trains relentlessly for the upcoming GMCs, hoping to lead her team to another GMC title.
On the flip side, the boys cross country team, led by senior captains Aaron John, Zoeb Mohammedshah, and Aneesh Deshpande, has done spectacularly this season as well. The team has medalled in the same three invitationals and placed first in the Greystone Invitational. Aneesh Deshpande credits his teammates’ sheer willpower as the main factor of the team’s successes, remarking, “Cross country is a mental sport in a lot of ways; if you put your mind to it and get through that pain, you can mentally propel yourself to a win.” To strengthen the team’s determination for the upcoming GMCs, Aneesh leads his team through mile repeats and long runs throughout Edison. Because of the team’s impressive season record, Zoeb has a similarly optimistic outlook for this season, strongly believing that his team has the ability to capture its first GMC title this season.
As the 2015 season winds down, the cross country teams are working harder than ever to shatter personal records and prepare for their upcoming races. With the GMCs looming over the horizon, the teams continually race against the clock, striving for the best results.
Already having raced at three invitationals—the Battle at Ocean County Park, the Red Division Championships, and the Central Jersey Shootout—the cross country team is moving to improve their record. With the addition of Coach Azher, a JP cross country alumni, to lead the team this year, the cross country team is looking bright!
At the Battle at Ocean County Park, the boys varsity team came fourth out of 15 schools. In the senior division, captain Aaron John led the JP team, placing 15th in a race with over 100 boys. Following John was captain Aneesh Deshpande, who came in 17th. Both runners took home a medal.
The Central Jersey Shootout gave the top 25 in each varsity race medals. From the JP team: Aaron John, Aneesh Deshpande, Shay Mallick, Violet Kimble, Neehar Mahidadia, Zoeb Mohammedshah and Demetri Wojciechowski, Gouttham Chandrasekar, Robert Catinello, Andrew Galarza, Lillian Chen, Jenny Huang, and Nadya Menendez were all successful and achieved a medal .
With big expectations, especially for the girls varsity team, who were last year’s GMC Champions, the team looks to keep pushing forward. Harshita Jain (10), remarks, “This season could be just as good as our last, or maybe even better. Everyone is running great times already, and with a little more work, I think we have a shot at becoming 2-time champions.” With their sights set forward, the boys and girls cross country team are only looking to develop more. As the pressure increases with GMC’s nearing, and the face-off with huge rival Old Bridge comes closer, the team is pushing their hardest, even if cross country is one hill of a sport.
Featured image by gbsvainikolof.blogspot.com