Boys cross country completes undefeated regular season


Sophomore Aaron Siff-Scherr finishes his run on Oct. 25 at Bethpage State Park for the county championship. The Vikings finished second in the county, falling behind the Syosset Braves. Siff-Scherr will be representing the Vikings at the State qualifiers on Nov. 1.

After recently winning its final conference race ahead of rivals East Meadow and Syosset, the boys cross country team secured the Division IB Conference I championships. 
Senior captains, Ben O’Brien and Taro Katayama, along with junior captains, Andrew Adelhardt, Matt Kramer, and Peter Kirgis, led the team to an undefeated season. 
Despite its accomplishments, the team is not satisfied; it wants more than a conference championship. 
“It feels good, but we are definitely not done yet,” said sophomore Aaron Siff- Scherr.  
Going into their final conference race, the team was optimistic about its chances. 
“Coach Klaff gives the team a lot of confidence,” said sophomore John Finkbeiner.
 Much of this confidence can be attributed to the team’s depth and athletic vigor. 
This year, the team had many runners who have contributed to its success including underclassmen such as sophomores Joseph Levine and Rory Owens, and freshman Alex Zsikla. 
Additionally, the team has a unique attitude towards running that contributes to the team’s success.  
“We don’t overthink it, we just go out and run,” said Kirgis. 
This year, the team’s experience has proven advantageous.  Despite losing a few impactful graduated seniors, the team’s core has for the most part remained in tact.
 “Last year we had a very talented squad of mostly freshmen and sophomores,” said coach Mr. Jeremy Klaff.  “We knew coming in this year that they would mature, we just weren’t sure how advanced that maturity would be.  We weren’t favored to go undefeated this year, but as the season progressed we started to turn some heads.” 
Winning the conference championship has taken off some of the pressure on the team.
“I was relieved to have accomplished the goal of being undefeated conference champions and confident at our chances in the county meet,” said Kirgis. 
The boys cross country team has won a title for ten consecutive years now, and the team is proud of its accomplishment. 
“We’ve been working really hard as a team and I believe that because of this, we won the conference,” said Katayama.
In preparation for counties, the boys cut down their 5k times. 
“Coach Klaff has been telling us that, historically, these next two weeks of training can bring your 5k down 30 seconds,” said Siff-Scherr. 
 Coach Klaff has had many years of experience as a cross country coach. 
Each member on the team trusts him, and admires what he brings to the team’s work ethic. 
“The county race is much more competitive and much more difficult to win,” said Finkbeiner.  “We know of a few teams that are right around our level, but we still expected to win.”
The boys were very confident in their chances at victory at the county race. 
They had a lot of time before the county meet, allowing them to have more training hours to further reduce their times. 
“Coach Klaff has told us to just go out and run our hardest, and if we do that, the results will come,” said Kirgis. 
The team was poised to bring the championship home to Schreiber this season. 
Although claiming this title would have been the ultimate reward, some members of the team see the County Championships as an opportunity to further develop their skills and prepare to get ready for the State Championship qualifiers on Nov. 1 at Bethpage State Park..
“The County Race and the State Qualifiers are the same teams, so Counties will be a good practice for the following week,” said Adelhardt.  “I think a great goal would be running well at the State meet.”
The boys have spent countless hours practicing and preparing for these upcoming meets.
Mr. Klaff has taken the hard work of the team into account, and believes that with proper guidance, the students will succeed at the event. 
“The team needs to stay healthy and focused,” said Coach Klaff. 
With health and focus, the team is optimistic at its chances to win the title.
“In cross country, meets are won during practice, as there isn’t much to do the day of the meet that can change the outcome.  The runners need to know which days of practice are vital, and must prepare their sleep and eating schedules accordingly.  Cross Country is different than other sports in that there are no lucky bounces, or hot goaltending on race day, the only thing you can hope for is everyone to be healthy and mentally prepared,” said Coach Klaff.