Madison Cross Country End of Season Recap

Henrik Hamilton, Staff Writer

As fall passes and gives way to winter, cross country runners are confronted with a single, overarching question: was all the pain worth it?

Was managing the anxiety associated with races and the pain felt during those races worth it? Was the time investment required to truly get the most out of oneself each day worth it? For most, I’d wager, the answer is neither a resounding “yes” nor a resounding “no.” The sport, as with most things, is not always fun in its purest sense. But there is much to be learned in doing things which are not easy or conventionally enjoyable, and every single person who participates in anything of that nature, including cross country, comes out the other side as a fundamentally stronger person. 

These are the conclusions at which many have arrived following the last meet of the season on November 5th. At the NJSIAA Group Championships, the men’s team placed 13th out of 20 teams in the Group 2 race. Even with the team’s #2 runner, Patrick Natale, developing a fever and being unable to run in the race, Madison still equaled their best finish of this century. On the notoriously difficult course at Holmdel Park, Leo London (17:46), Jacob Nolan (18:02), Henrik Hamilton (18:25), Jack Lukasavage (18:55), Ryan Delaney (20:05), John Davidson (20:28), and Eli Stodard (21:08) posted solid finishes.  

This all came after a grueling race at the NJSIAA Sectional Championships 7 days prior, in which both the men and women qualified for the Group Championships, though the women decided against running at the meet. At Oak Ridge Park, both teams finished 4th with strong team performances headed by Leo London (17:03) and Elizabeth Kulesa (20:41). On the men’s side, Patrick Natale (17:07), Jacob Nolan (17:27), Henrik Hamilton (17:37), Jack Lukasavage (17:54), Ryan Delaney (18:26), and John Sutton (19:33) all came through when it mattered most. And on the women’s side, Clotilde Monville (20:46), Emily Jones (21:46), Macey Arnold (22:21), Mallory Dineen (22:34), and Emma Cipriani (22:49) performed admirably and secured their qualification for Groups. 

For all, including Aiden Shah and Martin Bria, who continued to practice with the team through the end of the season as alternates, cross country evokes a mixed range of emotions. But it is undeniably an experience which none of them will regret taking part in.