The Greyducks Keep Quacking

The leadership of the talented and supportive captains of the team, combined with the strong work ethics and boundless potential of the runners, means a very bright future for the Greyducks. Picture request: Group Photo of the Greyducks

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A gentle yet persistent breeze brushed the faces of the Greyducks, Stuyvesant’s boys’ cross-country team, in the early morning of November 4. After weeks of trudging through ankle-deep puddles in the relentless rain, the boys could not have been more grateful for the clear skies and moderate temperature on their biggest race of the season: the PSAL City Championships. Huddled together for warmth under their bright red canopy tent, most wore looks of anxious anticipation. While some scrambled to screw spikes into their racing shoes, others sat with a calm, blank stare, embracing the tranquility before the imminent battle ahead. As the runners gathered at the start line, their hearts pounded with a nervous energy that surged like an electric current. With the explosive firing of the announcer’s pistol, the Greyducks were off.

The team had ambitious goals heading into the season, seeking to follow up on their City Championship placing and invitation to states last year. Senior and captain Dawson Carlisle demonstrated his unwavering dedication to his teammates by leading a new effort to instill discipline and team unity as early as their summer pre-season practices. Armed with training cones and stretching ropes, Carlisle led the boys through a group warm-up and stretching routine, before dividing them into designated exercise groups. The traditionally self-paced team rose to this challenge, and the fruits of their labor were evident in just the first meet of the season. At the Regis Invitational on September 16, junior and captain Jamie Andersen won the JV Boys 4k with a time of 13:59.50, with fellow junior captain Rayan Capanu and junior Clyde Konty trailing closely behind. Senior captains Carlisle and Lucas McGarvey saw similar success in their Division B Boys 4k race, finishing in ninth and 10th place, respectively. After just three weeks of Carlisle’s new training regiment, the team was already seeing results.

The Soph-Frosh Borough Championship on October 10 proved that the team had not only a dominant varsity squad but also a group of highly talented underclassmen with exciting potential. In the Freshman Boys 2400 Meter Run, runner Tyler Horiuchi finished with a commendable time of 9:42.00, followed by fellow freshman Daniel Jung at 10:00.90. Similarly in the Sophomore Boys 4k, varsity runner Raphael Ramot finished second place with a time of 14:06.00. Though a few of these runners had prior experience in cross country, the majority were either coming from other sports or completely new to running in general. With each new generation of freshmen improving year after year, it is clear that the effects of the forced idleness from the pandemic are slowly vanishing. “I am extremely proud of our freshmen and sophomores. Seeing them run these fast times tells me that the team will continue to thrive for years to come and will be in good hands even after many of our seniors graduate,” Capanu said. 

Despite the nerves and the fact that it was the fastest City Championship in the last century, the Greyducks were able to secure an impressive third-place finish on Sunday. The varsity squad was able to achieve a five-man average time of 17:07, with McGarvey taking the lead with a time of 16:43.9. The JV team dominated their competition as well, with many runners achieving massive PRs. Senior Otto Halbhuber beat over two hundred runners to place first with a time of 18:01.9, securing him a well-deserved spot on the varsity team as they advanced to States in two weeks. “This squad is the fastest Stuy team in at least the last twenty years. I can’t wait to see what more we can achieve as we move into states and the track seasons,” Andersen said.

This elite level of improvement has prompted coaches Sandra Brandan and Stephen McClellan to implement drastic changes to the upcoming indoor track season. To build a more tight-knit community of runners that specialize in certain events, Brandan has decided to cut down the number of boys indoor distance runners to just 20. Given that the current team has almost 40 members, this means that nearly half of the team will not be joining them for the winter season. Though this decision was difficult to make, Carlisle hopes that the smaller community will eliminate the need for exercise groups, allowing them to practice and improve as a unified whole.

The leadership of the talented and supportive captains of the team, combined with the strong work ethics and boundless potential of the runners, means a very bright future for the Greyducks. Moving into the indoor track season, they hope to continue making both Stuyvesant and city history as they display their skills to the world.