The White Plains Examiner

White Plains Cross-Country Runners Prepare For 2012 Season

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Senior Chris Cardon has high hopes for his 2012 Cross-Country Season. Photo by Peter Gerken

Driving around the sloping streets that surround the White Plains High School during the last week one may have noticed students running hard in this heat. Members of the school’s cross country program are back in action. Fred Singleton and Carlos Agudelo, who work together to keep the kids focused and always improving on their running technique, coach the boys and girls squads.

Cross-country like any sport draws upon on the individual’s physical attributes but also tests a person mentally. Unless there is a hurricane or lightning the race goes on. In some cases these runners have to run through mud, puddles and toward the end of the season they can face some rather cold weather and strong winds they must contend with.

Last season was a banner season for both programs. The girls’ squad won their first league title in 21 years and the boys won their league title since 2001. Both teams lost significant leaders from last year’s team because of graduation. The girl’s team lost Elizabeth and Eleanor Trelstad while the boys will miss Michael Michel and Aneesh  Bhattacharya.

For training the coaches have a unique way of separating the runners for workouts.

“We pretty much break the team into two. Not by gender but by how many years they have been on the team. The veterans could handle some of the longer runs,” said Agudelo.

The girl’s squad is going to be young this year according to Agudelo.

“This year we have a pretty nice advantage well our top runner Liza Gellerman is a junior,” said Agudelo. “It’s good to have your elite runners for them not to be seniors so you know you have a year or two with them.  So that is very nice. The rest of our team is very young. Most of our returning runners are sophomores.”

Some of the key young runners that Agudelo was referencing are Lauren Woods, Cardon Furry and Rachel Okun.

Agudelo is excited that he was able to recruit two of his track runners to come out for the cross-country team this fall.

“We added two new runners that I was able to steel from track that have never done cross country they look very promising Maria Bautista and Jackie Caceres,” said Agudelo.  “It’s still a little early to tell where they will fall on the team but it’s always exciting when you can steal a little talent from track.”

Senior Chris Cardon will be the leader of the boys’ squad in 2012. He won the league meet last fall and this year he might one of the best runners in the county and maybe even Section 1.

“I certainly hope so,” said Singleton about the prospects of Cardon having a big season. “You never know who’s coming out of the woodwork whom you’ve never seen before. He has the cache’ to be one of the best runners around. He’s a hard worker, talented runner and he just wants to do well for our team.”

Singleton believes that Cardon has his eyes set on some serious goals for this season

“He has a lot of potential to do a lot of things. He wants to get on that bus going to the state meet,” said Singleton. “I sent him some information over the summer of all of the returning athletes he is second in the county. He has that aspiration to go for trying to become county champ.”

As for the rest of the boys’ squad Singleton is hesitant to speculate on how the team might do because it’s so early in the season.

“I don’t want to say we’re rebuilding because we still have a lot of good kids. Some of the kids from last year are ready to step up,” said Singleton.

Two runners Singleton thinks can make a significant contribution in 2012 are William Garrison and Nelson Corona.

White Plains has a significant advantage for their training for cross-country. Behind the high school are some steep hills that the teams use to make their runners stronger.

“We have a team saying that we have been saying for years, ‘White Plains is tough on the hills,’ When we go elsewhere there are pretty few places that have as many hills than what we have. We tend to look forward to hills on other courses,” said Singleton.

The 2012 White Plains Cross-Country Schedule has yet to be finalized. The teams will run in mostly big invitational’s meets. They do compete in one dual-meet, which they do with all of the members of their league right before the league meet. All four teams will run one race but the met will be scored head to head.

Scarsdale, New Rochelle and Mount Vernon are the other teams in White Plains’ leagues. In cross-country each team starts seven runners in each race and then coaches table the places their top five runners finish. The team with the lowest five-person aggregate is the victor.

White Plains will host the Fred Gressler Invitational during the last Saturday of September. This meet was started by current interim athletic director Nick Panaro.

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