Girl’s Cross Country Rounds Out Successful Season


courtesy of Cate Lanahan.

Senior Bridget Esposito tries to beat out her competitors as her teammates cheer her on.

Katie Buelt, Features Editor

With the season coming to a close and the sectional meet on the horizon, the HHS girl’s cross country team can look back at their completed schedule with satisfaction. The team started their season with a major success at the Thompson Park Class Meet, hosted by Metuchen High School. HHS came in second place, losing only to Voorhees High School by a mere six points, their team average time only eighteen seconds less than that of VHS. They also successfully beat out both Montgomery and Hunterdon Central, both of whom have proven to be tough competitors in the past. 

The HHS girl’s cross country team dominated at the Shore Coaches Invitational in Holmdel on Oct. 5. The team held their own against 28 other teams in their division, coming in 15th overall. 

Perhaps even more significant, was the team’s participation in the Skyland Conference Championships in Phillipsburg. With a varsity average five kilometer time of 21:46, the team finished in sixth place overall out of 21 teams, just below Montgomery High School. Notable performers include senior Catherine Lanahan, who finished in 11th place with a time of 20:10. Next to cross the finish line for HHS was Junior Allie Bird just over a minute later, putting her in 27th place. Beyond the upperclassmen, sophomore Pele Townsend, who has made it into the top seven this year, finished in 57th place, while fellow sophomore and returning varsity runner Preeta Joshi was 49th. The pair picked up times of 22:27 and 22:12, respectively.

Most recently, the team raced at the Somerset County Cross Country Championships at Pleasant Valley Park. The improvement from the last meet was exceptional; they decreased their team average to a time of 20:49. With her best performance this season, Lanahan finished in 19:55, narrowly beating two Ridge runners to place in sixth. Overall, the team came in second out of the thirteen teams present. 

While speed and statistics are important, the team has forged lasting relationships that aren’t based on skill, but character and a passion for the sport. 

The team rounds out their regular season next Wednesday against Hunterdon Central. From there, they will compete in the NJSIAA Sectional Championships in Holmdel. An exceptional performance could allow them to qualify for the Group 4 meet and the Meet of Champions, but when and where their season officially ends remains to be seen.