Catching up with OPXC

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Catching up with OPXC

Max Hubbauer, Staff Writer

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With championship season in full swing, the varsity cross country team has had two impressive showings at both the Union County and Prep A championships.

Leading the way in both meets was the tag team duo of junior Andrew Vita and freshman sensation Mike Cantaluppi. Vita, with a time of 17:22 at the Union County Championships, set a personal record for the 5,150 meter layout at Warinanco Park, en route to a 20th overall finish, while Cantaluppi was close behind placing 28th with a time of 17:39. Collectively, the team fell short of its goal of a third place finish at the meet but still managed a 17:56 average in a highly competitive field. Other notable finishers in the race were John Kolassa, third amongst OP runners with a time of 18:08, Douglas DeGolyer, 4th on the team with an 18:13 finish and Adam Lewis who continued his breakout season with a time of 18:21. In the JV race, several runners set PRs on the course as seniors Brian McReynolds and Paul Moyer led the way for the squad which finished 4th overall on the day.

While the team’s placement at the county meet may have been somewhat disappointing, they would bounce back in a big way against some of the better prep schools in the state at the Prep A championships. Running with Kenyan prodigy and national superstar Edwin Rutto of St. Benedicts, the team was able to hold its ground quite nicely while averaging a blistering 17:38 average, good for fourth in the meet and the best average OP’s ever run on the course at Blair Academy. Freshman Mike Cantaluppi had the best time of the day for OP, finishing in 7th place overall with a time of 17:15 and further cementing his place among the best freshmen in the state, (for more coverage on Mike’s record-breaking freshman season, be sure to look at NJ Milesplit’s article which mentions Mike as one of the more promising underclassmen in New Jersey.) Following Cantaluppi in the race was junior Andrew Vita who, while battling an IT Band ailment, still managed to pull off a 17:30 while placing 12th overall. OP’s 3,4,5 and 6 runners were simply sensational as the foursome of Brendan Mairs, Adam Lewis, Doug DeGolyer, and John Kolassa all broke 18 minutes with Lewis, DeGolyer and Brian McReynolds setting PR’s on the day. Altogether, it was a very successful meet for the varsity squad and even those who didn’t run enjoyed exploring the luxurious Blair Academy campus while successfully discovering the mysterious M5 and were treated afterwards to delicious pizza courtesy of the Mediterranean Diner.

In addition to their success on the trails, the team has also helped in reaching out to the surrounding community. With their recent trip to the Hillside Food Bank, the team strengthened morale as fellow teammates were able to bond with one another while shoveling through ounces and ounces of uncooked pasta and packaging them into individual bags. After all was said and done, the food bank’s overseer “Black Heart” thanked the team for their help and announced that they had packaged close to 80,000 bags which he claimed would feed about one family per bag and warmly welcomed the team back to the food bank in the future.

All in all, while the cross country team has had its fair share of success both on and off the course in recent weeks they will look for more upcoming as at their next meet at the NJCTC championships in Morristown they will look to put themselves in a good position for States and Meet of Champions going forward.

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