On October 15, Princeton Day School's Cross Country team celebrated "Senior Day" with a ceremony after the completion of their meet against visiting Wilberforce School and Stuart Country Day. The girls team defeated Wilberforce (25-30) and Stuart (16-45) to improve their season record to 8-0, while the boys team mounted a competitive race, falling just shy of Wilberforce (27-30).
"What the times and score won't show is the heart and grit of this team. Having run three races last week and then being off for the holiday and through Wednesday, we have not really been able to train together this week. After the meet, we celebrated our Seniors, who have meant so much to this program and are the reason we are where we are today," Assistant Coach Devlin shared.
After the meet, Head Coach John Woodside, flanked by Assistant Coaches Chris Devlin and Kelly Grosskurth, addressed the team, family and friends who attended the ceremony to celebrate each senior runner. Coach Woodside particularly emphasized the marked growth of the program during this group of seniors' four years that has led to their current success and created the conditions for continued growth.
Coach Woodside spoke about each senior during Thursday's ceremony:
Alex Hollander: "Alex is the most important figure in PDS Cross Country over the last five years. In 2016, there were zero girls on the team and, in 2017, there was one; Alex. The girls team has grown ever since and is now in the midst of an undefeated season. The one constant was always Alex. She is the rock on which this girls team is built."
Mackenzie Mazzarisi: "Mackenzie is a two-year runner and co-captain this year. She is a strong runner who has battled through injuries to come through for her team. Her personality shines and she routinely inspires her teammates to reach new heights."
Ben Bigdelle: "Ben is a two-year runner. He is a natural who took to the sport immediately when he joined. He has been a top runner for the team in virtually every meet since he joined and he has made huge contributions as a leader through his commitment and determination."
Brendan Chia: "Brendan is a four-year runner who has persevered through a number of injuries throughout his career. He always fully supported his teammates, even when he couldn't run. Finally healthy this year, he is contributing greatly to the team's success on and off the course."
Gunnar Clingman: "Gunnar has been the team's most competitive runner throughout his four-year career. His dedication to training and to the team is unmatched. Since last year, he has transformed his performance in running into leadership and inspiration for other runners, which has helped to build a strong team. He is currently rewriting the PDS record book with virtually every meet and will go down as one of the greatest PDS Cross Country runners of all time."
Tharun Potluri: "Tharun is a four-year runner who has grown tremendously during his career. A co-captain of the team for two straight years, Tharun is running the best that he's ever run this year and continues to make an impact on the team as a leader."
Yishi Wang: "Yishi is a four-year runner who has battled through a number of nagging injuries but continues to run hard and work through them. He has grown immensely over the last four years and he has added a great deal to the team experience due to his personality and determination."
Jacob Yim: "Jacob joined the team this year as a senior and brand new to cross country. Jacob is a great addition to the team who works hard and adds to the spirit of the team." (Not pictured, Jacob was unable to attend on Thursday.)
View our Flickr album of photos from Cross Country's Senior Day and the meet against Wilberforce School and Stuart Country Day.
Photo: Collage of Cross Country runners and their families on Senior Day