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Big Blue Beat: Boys' Varsity Cross Country Team

By Madeline Skapper '20

Head Coach: Matt Horesta

Last season's highlights: The 2016-17 Boys' Varsity Cross Country Team, led by captains Thomas Tarantino '17 and Matthew Peacock '17—who are running for Middlebury College and Williams College, respectively, in the fall—had a successful season last year, finishing with a 4-1 dual meet record. The team also performed well at championship meets with a win at the Prep A Championship, a second-place finish in the NJSIAA Non-Public "B" Championship, a fourth-place finish at the Somerset County Championships, where Tarantino placed third overall, and a second-place finish in the Skyland Conference/Valley Division Championship.

What to watch for this season:

• Led by captains Colin Edwards '18 and Jeffery Xiao '19, the team is preparing for another strong season.

• Head Coach Matt Horesta's focus meets for the season include the Prep A Championship, where the team looks to defend its title. He is also hoping for a team win at the NJSIAA Non-Public "B" Championship.

• A week of cross country camp in the Poconos this summer, in addition to preseason practices, which begin on August 21, will help them to prepare for the start of the season. The focus of the camp, according to Coach Horesta, will be mileage, with a morning and afternoon run for five consecutive days—"it's a good way for the team to get to know each other better and train with no distractions before heading into the start of the school year," he says.

• Additional summer training for the runners includes building up their base mileage (up to 50 miles/week for the older members of the team), which will ultimately lead to harder workouts and more successful races as the season progresses. Hill workouts are also a key aspect of training.

• Coach Horesta expects six or seven freshmen to join the team this fall, all of whom have completed successful middle school cross country seasons and will therefore be a valuable part of the team this year. Henry Wood '21, for example, is just the fourth Pingry boy to break five minutes in the mile as a middle schooler.

Full-Court Press:

"Although we lost our top two runners to graduation, this year's team might be able to be as strong as that one. We have more depth of talent than in prior years, and I think many of the kids can make a big improvement between now and the fall with a good base of summer training. If the boys are consistent in their summer training and stay injury free, we can hit our goals for the fall." —Head Coach Matt Horesta

Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer,