Boys cross country secures county championship

The boys varsity cross country team has had one of its most successful seasons in recent years. This season, the boys captured their first  team this season captured their first county championship since 2011.

The team had no shortage of talent, as roster was filled with experienced, skilled runners. The team was led by veteran seniors Jordan Hurt, Joey Levine, Rory Owens, and Aaron Siff-Scherr.

By the end of the season, the Vikings had become the best team in Nassau County, making them one of the most talented teams Port has seen for some time.

“This is up there as my best team ever,” said Coach Jeremy Klaff, “We just had such a great year and I’m really proud of everybody.”

After an impressive showing at the county championships, some Port runners were able to qualify for the state meet. Hurt, Owens, and Siff-Scherr represented Port, racing at Chenango Valley State Park on Nov. 12.

Sophomores Ben Goldstein and Nicholas Scardigno and junior Aaron Cotumaccio displayed hard work and perseverance all season, as they helped the team clinch the county championship by earning all conference honors.

As a whole, the boys cross country team views this past season as a major success, especially now that they have a county championship under their belt.

“As a whole, Port should feel proud due to our results,” said Cotumaccio. “I think the main take away for us this season has been that hard work pays off.”

The team’s success did not come easily, however, and the boys knew that in order for them to be the best in the county, they would have to work harder than any other team. During the year, they focused on constantly improving while pushing themselves during practice.

“The season went really well and a lot of people broke their personal records,” said junior Jared Levine. “Everyone worked very hard during this season to become a better runner.”

Improving as the season goes in is crucial to a team’s success, especially in cross country. Promoting an atmosphere of friendly competition helped the team maximize its potential, leading to the boys’ success this past season.

“The competitive nature of our team always pushed me to try to be faster than the other guy in front of me,” said Levine. “Racing against each other while still being a team really led to everyone progressing as runners as the season went on.”

The team’s grueling practices ensured that the athletes remained in peak physical condition throughout the season.

“At practice our team has no excuses,” said Cotumaccio. “If you are not feeling well, then you just get through the entire practice and fight through the pain.”

Without such demanding practices, the Port team may have never won the county title, something that was in their sights since the beginning of the season in August.

The boys are proud of their current achievements, but they are also looking towards the future. Unfortunately, the team is losing a number of experienced runners, as a total of fifteen cross country runners are graduating this year.

Although so many key runners are leaving this year, the team still feels optimistic about their chances next year, and they are confident that they can remain at the high level at which they have been performing all year.

“Although we have many seniors  leaving next year, our team has a very bright future,” said Cotumaccio. “Seven of our top eleven runners are returning for next year. Look for us to make another postseason push for state qualifiers next year.”

That being said, many underclassmen and incoming freshmen will need to step up in order for the team to return to the State Qualifiers next season.

“I think we are going to be really strong next year,” said Levine. “Although our top four are graduating, our team is very deep and a lot of us are ready to move up the ranks and play a bigger role on the team.”

The Vikings conclude their season with a Nassau County championship and they hope to take their success a step further when the 2017 fall cross country season begins.