More than 80 high schools gathered in Van Cortlandt Park on Saturday to compete in the Mayor’s Cup Cross Country Championships, and some of the best runners in the Riverdale- Kingsbridge area left with medals dangling from their necks.
Among them were Riverdale Country School students Andrew Robertson and Jason Brander, who came in 19th and 24th place, respectively, in the freshman boys’ race, which featured more than 200 runners.
“The race is pretty tricky. You don’t know when to pick up the pace or when to relax,” explained Robertson, who actually ran in the competition for the first time last year when he was still in middle school.
Hilltop rival Horace Mann ranked 8th in the boys’ championship varsity race, with senior Ben Noble finishing in 14th place, and 9th in the girls’ championship varsity race with Jessica Skoczylas taking 21st place.
The Bronx High School of Science had a stellar showing throughout the day, winning top awards in the freshman girls, junior varsity boys and varsity boys races.
Hao Zhou beat 188 runners in the 2.5 mile boys’ junior varsity race, to take the top spot. “It feels good to win,” he said. “It definitely gives you a boost of confidence.”
The Wolverines’ varsity boys team took fourth-place honors.
Ben Kogelman is the senior captain of the squad and he recorded his best time ever for a 4K race, finishing in 15:56.69. “There are a lot of great runners and we are trying to get into the top-four by the end of the season and make it to states if possible,” said Kogelman.
Bronx Science girls’ coach Ken Miller and his team also had a very successful day. They placed 5th overall in the freshman girls’ 1.5-mile run and 4th overall in the varsity girls’ 4-mile run.
Coach Miller recognized Riverdale residents Elizabeth Shanahan and Zoe Katz, as well as Anna Hewitt and Hong Yi “Rosey” Liu for their impressive performances.
“Four of our best runners were taking the SATs. The varsity girls really stepped up to the plate and filled in for those runners and still took 4th place,” said Miller. “I’m also very proud of my freshman girls.”
The top three teams in each of the scheduled races received plaques and T-shirts, while the top 35 individual finishers received medals.
PSAL track and cross country commissioner Dwayne Burnett hosted the event and announced the winners as they crossed the finish line.
“This competition began four years ago and it brings together top teams from our city’s public and private schools,” Burnett said at the end of the competition. “This year’s event went well and I was excited about the entire day.”