A Recap of 2020 Cross Country


Thomas Coder, Staff Writer/Co-Editor

This year’s cross country season was looked at through a lens of gratitude. With the constant threat of race cancellations looming over us, us being extra cautious and attentive to safety, and the lackluster racing opportunities, it is fair to say that as a team, Oratory XC overcame some pretty monumental adversities. As a unit, we were able to live up to our normal competitive standard that we hold ourselves to and the team has held up previous years.  

In the preliminary round of training, the team did not hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity to all be together. We knew that we only had one week before a two week break, so the Rams trained as hard as ever, and we established our base fitness for the season in just 9 days.

Though there were only two teams involved, the meets that were most crucial to our running development this season were our first two, both at Oak Ridge Park. Both of these meets were solely against New Providence, a rival of ours. In both of them, we as a team were able to come together and compete for the first time in a while, and that opportunity being against New Providence made the camaraderie all the more electric. In these races, the Varsity squad was able to perfect pack running technique, and although we did not leave the races with a win over New Providence, we were set up for all the races that laid ahead of us. 

We took everything we learned from those races to Newark Academy, and although times on that day were universally on the slower end, we were once again able to show how much better we could all run if we acted as one team, one unit. It was in the second half of the season where the races started to count, and the demeanor of all of us before and during our races changed accordingly. We rose up to the magnitude of the Union County Championship, taking the place as 4th best team and defeating some of Summit Highschool’s top guys on the individual side. This was a huge confidence booster, and one that we held in the back of our heads for whenever we needed it. Confidence was something we would need most at our final race of the Season, at Garret Mountain Reservation. This was a cross country race as much as it was a battle against the elements and topography, as the course had a brutally windy and hilly characteristic to it. This combined with the top competition in New Jersey running along us, nerves definitely seeped through occasionally on the days leading up to this race. Per usual, we prevailed, and dropped some performances for all of the New Jersey Cross Country community to recognize. Will Heffernan had the race of his life, managing to run a personal record despite all of the elements that were making that more difficult. 

Overall, OP XC overcame many odds this season, and was able to live up to the expectations that the team the previous years set.