Cross Country Champions!
OLMC Girls Varsity Cross Country Team Crowned North Jersey Champions - Boys Take Second Place in a Huge Upset!
“They Will Run and Not Grow Weary…”
OLMC Varsity Girls Go for the Gold
In the fitting culmination of a stellar season, the OLMC Varsity Girls cross country team won First Place in the North Jersey Catholic School Track Association Championship Meet! Every one of our runners added an essential ingredient to the victory, and it was a team triumph in the truest sense.
OLMC’s top 3 finishers -- Faith Schechter (8th grade), Cora Rose Webber (7th grade), and Gabriella Apelian (7th grade) -- turned in commanding performances as they vied with fifty-three runners from thirteen schools. They each medaled, finishing an impressive 3rd, 6th, and 12th, respectively.
The team’s final victory, however, was ultimately the result of the perseverance and dedication of its 4th and 5th runners: While Faith, Cora Rose, and Gabriella ran neck and neck with their formidable Holy Trinity competitors, the strong finishes of Katelyn Messina (8th grade) and Lisa Tsoi (7th grade) put OLMC in the position to win by two points.
Three more runners rounded out the championship roster: Brianna Zachok (6th grade), Veronica Huresky (7th grade), and Saoirse Flaherty (6th grade) not only ran the challenging final course with grit and determination, they were essential in shaping the team’s character from the first meet to the last, leading their fellow runners in sportsmanship and camaraderie. Alternate Veronica Snow (7th grade), together with teammates Daniah Dominiak (6th grade) and Marilyn Dominguez (8th grade), likewise played an integral role throughout the season, spreading team spirit, good cheer, and respect both in practice and at meets.
Each runner contributed something unique and valuable to the season -- modeling tenacity for one another, pushing each other to personal bests, and offering crucial support both on and off the course. Without any one of them, the team would not have been the championship caliber it was, and it is fitting that all eleven of them delight and share in the victory they earned together.
OLMC Varsity Boys Bring Home Silver
The Varsity Boys team likewise enjoyed a successful championship meet, earning Second Place place overall. Once again, OLMC’s impressive finish was entirely a team effort.
Led by medalers Max Tyrrell (8th grade) in 3rd place and George Flaherty (8th grade) in 13th place, our tenacious band of young men battled through a field of sixty runners from thirteen teams. As with the girls, remaining scorers Alejandro Orrellana (6th grade), John Balan (8th grade), and Peter Tyrrell (6th grade) turned in the crucial performances that propelled the team to their impressive finish.
Of particular cause for excitement and anticipation was the fact that the rest of the championship roster was filled with sixth graders. Quite literally following in the footsteps of their older teammates, Rinaldo DiGiacopo, Peter Balan and Charlie Ryerson strove mightily to emulate their resolve, endurance, and friendly competitiveness. Together with alternate Matt Mintel, one of the most dedicated members of the team, and up-and-comers Xavier Dominguez and Martin Gallozza, theyare the very bright future for OLMC Cross Country. Looking ahead, it is clear that this year was not only a remarkable success in its own right, but also a strong foundation for many victories yet to come.
OLMC Boys & Girls JV Teams Offer Glimpse Into the Formidable Future
Speaking of building for the future, OLMC’s junior varsity teams (4th and 5th grades) delivered powerful performances throughout the season, and never more so than at the championship meet. These young athletes represented each other and their school with grace and excellence.
For the girls, Shea Sutter (4th grade) -- who was OLMC’s top scorer and Team MVP for the season -- placed third, while Orla Flaherty (4th grade) battled her way to a close fifth place and Agnes Balan (4th grade) finished twenty-second out of fifty-one runners. These three runners have already begun to exhibit the kind of joyful leadership on which teams thrive; with them leading the way, the next four years of OLMC Cross Country promise to be seasons of explosive growth and excitement.
For the boys, Ian DeLuca and Miguel Torres (4th grade) ran side by side, supporting and pushing each other to new heights, finally finishing within two tenths of a second of one another. Together with teammate Mario Huresky (4th grade), these young runners form the core of a strong team being built to last.
Thanks to their strength of mind and character, and also their contagious energy, the example of our JV team is already motivating a new generation of runners: Inspired to emulate these determined competitors, OLMC students as young as first grade can be heard professing their enthusiastic desire to join the cross country team when they’re old enough. In fact, several members of our pre-team, led by brothers Fletcher and Griffin Schissel, got a head start this year by joining in “fun runs” throughout the season.
“Whatever You Do, Work At It With All Your Heart, As For the Lord…”
None of the team’s success would have been possible without the dedication and commitment of their coaches. No doubt, Dan Clavijo, Laura Huresky, and Carmen DeLuca spent the season training their athletes to run well, but that was not their most significant accomplishment; through it all, they also trained their charges how to live well.
The coaches consistently modeled the kind of passion, preparation, and work ethic they asked of the kids. Because of their attention to detail and gentle guidance, the runners were eager to improve; with every practice, they became more coachable, adaptable, and independent. They began to internalize the inescapable truth that victory is not earned in the moment of reckoning, but rather in the long and often unspectacular hard work of training. And they started to understand for themselves that “success” is not about winning and losing nearly so much as it is about giving their all for the sweetness and joy of the giving. None of this was by accident: For Coaches Clavijo, Huresky, and DeLuca, every practice was an opportunity to teach crucial life lessons through running.
OLMC’s season rightly peaked in a championship meet marked with great achievement: a gold medal for the girls, a silver medal for the boys, and the most number of top-3 finishes of any team. But in a more meaningful sense, that meet was not the end of a season so much as it was the sustained formation of the habits of heart, mind, and body that will serve these young athletes their whole lives long, as they strive to fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith.