RV upperclassmen have big showing at Cross Country Sectionals

Both the boys and girls’ teams rank in races last month


Photo courtesy of the Cross Country team

A snapshot from the girls race at Sectionals last month

Alexandra Hascek, Sports Writer

The Red Devils raced at the NJSIAA Sectionals, one of their final meets of the season, on October 29 The meet was held at Thompson Park in Jamesburg, NJ, where runners all competed to secure a place at States and run their fastest times. 

The course run by both the boys and girls teams consisted of approximately a 3.1 mile pathway over different hills and other natural terrains. With neither team previously racing at this course during the 2022 season and the course being known to be difficult, the Red Devils were looking towards a challenging meet.

The top seven fastest on each team, girls and boys, competed in Central Group 4 at the meet. Running the fastest on the Rancocas Valley team, Senior Ryan Smith placed fifth overall with a time of 16:14.28, placing him to run at States on November 5. Senior Dylan Selby came in next on the boys’ team running a time of 17:26.68, and sophomore Christopher Gray was third on the team with a time of 18:32.89. 

“My race was alright,” said Gray. “I started out slower and picked it up, no one really passed me throughout the race. [But] I went really fast on the downhills, and I think that’s why I went slower.”

Other runners also agreed that the Thompson Park course was a slower course than expected because of the difficult uphill sections. 

“I started off in the top three and as the race went on I ended up in fifth but the hill really sucked,” said senior team captain Ryan Smith. “But as a team, we had a great showing. The girls did great, the guys did great, and our coach did great this year at practice keeping us fit. And I’m also going on to States, so ‘W.'”

The Rancocas Valley girls team was also competitive at Sectionals, attempting to place for States and keep their season going. Leading the team, junior Bea Faigal ended with a time of 22:18.18. Following behind by only two places, senior Sarah Paulin finished at 22:26.50. Notable because it’s her first season running on the team and the third fastest time of the Rancocas Valley girls, freshman Mary Casano ran a time of 22:58.73. 

“I didn’t like having to run a brand new course on such a big meet day… coming off of a sprained ankle, this course was definitely harder than I anticipated,” said junior Mylee Lafferty

“Well as it being my first Sectionals for cross country ever, it was a really good experience with the team and I love this whole team, it’s like a family,” said junior Varsha Patel. “But the course, Thompson Park… next year will hopefully be better.”

Although proud of their season’s accomplishments, the girls felt bittersweet about Sectionals as it would be the final race for some of the seniors on the team and also the last race of the year for some of the underclassmen. 

The girls’ head coach talked about what it was like at the meet and throughout the past months.

“The girls raced really well today,” said head coach Mrs. Saiia. “This is a tough course and they didn’t back down. It has been inspiring watching them improve throughout the season.”