Girls Cross Country Looks to Defend Title as Season Begins

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Issue 2, Volume 110

By Owen Potter, Veronika Kowalski 

If you head down to the first floor after 10th period, you might run into the Greyducks—one of Stuyvesant’s most successful teams in recent history—preparing for practice. You’ll find around 40 girls in running gear gathered on the floor, chatting and getting some homework done as the rest of the building clears out. Once the team is ready to run, captains Liza Reizis and Ester Suleymanov get the girls ready for their route along the Hudson River, part of a daily routine that has the Greyducks ready to win their 15th consecutive Manhattan Borough championship and qualify for the State Championships to face the fastest runners in New York.

The Greyducks, Stuyvesant’s girls’ cross country team, are coming off an extremely successful season; all seven of their runners who competed in the Borough Championships finished in the top 20 of the standard 5000-meter race. Though the Greyducks will be without former captain Clara Mohri, who finished second in last year’s Borough Championships, the other six members of the team have only improved since then. Junior Julianne Yotov will hope to improve upon strong performances in both the Borough Championships (third overall) and City Championships (ninth overall) as the team looks to fill in the void left by their graduated leader.

This year, the Greyducks have runners across every grade level who are prepared to make major contributions to the team. In addition to seniors and co-captains Reizis and Suleymanov, juniors Yotov and Jessica Kwok (fifth overall at Borough Championships) have set high expectations for themselves after their impressive placements at the end of last season. Additionally, sophomore Alicia Yu will be a crucial runner in this year’s lineup. Reizis, captain for the second consecutive year, said, “[I’m] super excited for some rising star freshmen.” They include Bella Stenhouse and Anna Kathalawa, as they can have a serious impact at the varsity level. The Greyducks’ abundance of talented players is sure to get them far in the coming season.

The Greyducks are set up to compete for another Borough Championship, a goal that will not be completed without hard work. The team practices six days a week, working to improve both strength and endurance. “The group is truly a huge family,” Reizis said. “We push each other to new limits, bond over difficult workouts, and study as we travel to different practice locations.” This chemistry will be the backbone of what is shaping up to be another successful Stuyvesant cross country season. The Greyducks will look to kick off their pursuit of a 15th consecutive Borough Championship with a strong showing at their first meet at Van Cortlandt Park, which is right around the corner.