Greyducks Continue Streak of Borough Championship Victories

The Greyducks accomplished their goal of winning the Manhattan Borough Championships and look ahead to their next goal of qualifying for the state championships.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Junior Justin Zhang cramped up in the middle of the 4-kilometer varsity race in the Manhattan Invitational at Van Cortlandt Park on Saturday, October 14 and was forced to drop out. Just two weeks later, he finished third in the Manhattan Borough Championship varsity 5-kilometer race. This turnaround was symbolic of the performance of the entire Stuyvesant boys’ varsity cross country team, who bounced back from near last place in the Manhattan Invitational to winning the Borough Championship at Van Cortlandt Park on October 28.

The Greyducks entered the championships with an ample amount of pressure. In the last decade and a half, when the team was coached by Mark Mendes, they never lost a borough championship. However, the Stuyvesant team had been beaten badly by the High School for Math, Science, and Engineering (HSMSE) team at the Mayor’s Cup, and therefore, it was no longer thought that the team would win.

In the Manhattan Borough Championship varsity race, sophomore Baird Johnson finished second with a time of 18:14.79 and was followed by Zhang in third place, who ran an 18:28.25. A trio of Greyducks, senior and co-captain Minhein Htet, senior Clive Johnston, and senior and co-captain Jesse Sit placed in sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively, accomplishing coach Carl DiSarno’s game plan. “[My goal for the team is to] break up [HSMSE’s] pack,” coach DiSarno said. Junior Caleb Hoo placed 12th and sophomore Oliver Cai placed 14th to round out the varsity team.

Zhang, Htet, and Sit all ran personal bests at the meet, but had higher expectations for themselves. “I was hoping to run in the 18:20s, but I wasn’t able to,” Sit said.

Both Sit and Htet believed that the windy conditions lowered the times, but they were satisfied with the team’s overall performance. “The fact that people still ran better despite the wind shows that our team is getting stronger,” Htet said. He also thinks that their training has contributed heavily to their success. “The patience from building a proper base [and] then moving on to speed is finally paying off,” Htet said.

The junior varsity team dominated the event to the surprise of the upperclassmen. “I was shocked,” Htet said. The Greyducks had five of the top 10 finishers, with James Huang in first, Ramon Wang in second, Steven Zheng in fourth, Steven Tan in fifth, and Jacob Olin in ninth.

“Many of our JV runners set new personal bests,” DiSarno said. In both the varsity and junior varsity races, Stuyvesant placed first, followed by HSMSE in second and Hunter College High School in third.

The Greyducks now have their sights set on the city championships, which take place on Saturday, November 11. Despite having greatly improved from their first meet of the season, the Greyducks have to get even better in order to win the championships. “If you were to combine the results from the five boroughs, we currently sit fifth in the city. [The] top four [teams] make it to the Federation Meet, so we’ll need to perform our very best if we are to qualify,” Coach DiSarno said.

Captains Sit and Htet are both hopeful that the Greyducks will be successful in the city championships and qualify for states. “If we keep doing what we have been doing, getting the mileage and the speed work in, we can definitely beat out the other contenders for the third and fourth spots,” Htet said.

“If one of the top four teams slips up, I think we’ll be ready to pounce,” coach DiSarno said.