Yesterday at Blair Academy, in a fast race that pitted NJ prep schools against one another, the KP harriers stunned everyone but us and WON. Our disciplined and competitive girls beat Pingry, Lawrenceville, Trinity Hall, Immaculate Heart, Mount St. Mary, Blair, and Peddie; our score of 46 was 15 points fewer than Pingry’s 61 (low score wins), giving us the championship for the first time in school history.
The gun went off right at 1:30, and our runners embraced the challenge we had put to them in the days leading up to the race. “We’re in it to win it,” we told them. “Don’t wait for the race to unfold—compete from the very first step.” So as not to scare the bejesus out of them, we added “you don’t have to run this race; you get to. And you don’t have to be heroes.” The weather gods smiled on us, lending clear blue skies, a light wind, and temps in the mid-50s—an ideal day to demonstrate their talent.
Which they did. As is her way, Miranda Lorsbach finished first for us, running the varied, loopy course in 19:19 and finishing third overall—a minute and ten seconds faster than her time here a year ago. Miranda is still recovering from a sore Achilles but trained like a warrior so she could help the team achieve this milestone. Second for KP and 7th overall was freshman Lindsay Hausman, who had one of those breakthrough races runners long for. She ran 20:22, a personal best on a challenging course, and her highest place yet this season. Wow! Right behind Lindsay was Catie Gilhuley, who finished 8th in a time of 20:25. Catie’s consistent effort, her dependable grit in every race, have made her an indispensable team leader; no matter her fatigue, she fights on. Behind Catie was Phoebe Eccles, who finished 14th in a time of 21:03. This was one of Phoebe’s fastest races of the year, in spite of the stitch that threatened to slow her down. Noe Nalavala was right behind, finishing 16th overall in 21:07, her second fastest time of the season—an outstanding performance on Blair’s up-and-down course, and a testament to Noe’s inner steel. Xenia Schmitz followed, finishing 31st overall in a time of 22:04—a full minute and 45 seconds faster than what she ran a year ago at Blair and her second speediest race of the season. Maya Vuchic followed, finishing 54th overall in a time of 24:39.
The girls’ race made manifest what we’ve said all along about cross country: it’s a team sport, where everyone’s performance has an impact on the outcome. Yesterday, every girl ran not only for herself but for the team, and our jubilation when we heard the news—Kent Place wins!—forced us into a group huddle where we relished the achievement as a team. Shared victories like this, where success is a function of interdependence and faith, are deeply gratifying, in part because they are so rare. How lucky for all of us to have experienced this success together.
There were other highlights to the day. Our bad tent karma continued. Like last year at Blair, our tent managed to disengage from the ground and fly across the field, where it ruptured and became another impromptu art installation. We had nice snacks, thanks to Naomi, Claire, Zofia, and Zofia’s Nutella-bringing friend; your support buoyed the team. We also had cheering parents and feisty dogs in our corner.
We have at least one more race to go in this magical season. Next Saturday is the State Group Meet at Holmdel; our race goes off at noon. Hope to see you there.