Sports

Cross Country Wraps Up the Season

By Aleeza Dhillion

Volume 2 Issue 2

November 19, 2021

Cross Country Wraps Up the Season

Image Provided by Elyas Layachi

North's Cross-Country team had their last meet of 2021 at Bethpage State Park on Saturday, November 6. The boys' team ranked fourth at state-qualifiers, with senior Captain Craig Papajohn-Shaw, Jack Schwabe, David Pinos, Elyas Layachi, and Matteo Somma running.  Senior Captain Samantha Szabo, Melissa Innocent, and Emily Dahl represented North in the girls’ race.  It was the last race of the season for everyone, except junior Melissa Innocent, who qualified for the State Championships after placing fourth in her class. This meet was an exciting and emotional one with it being the last cross-country race for the seniors on the team.


Our beloved seniors for the season were Craig Papajohn-Shaw, Samantha Szabo, Jack Schwabe, and David Pinos. Craig and Samantha were the outstanding captains this year; they confidently led the team all season, pushing everyone to do their best to improve.


Here is what Craig and Samantha had to say in a joint statement about their experiences as members and captains of North's Cross-Country team:


Q: How long have you been on the team?

A: We have been a part of the team since our freshman year.

Q: What is your favorite memory from this cross-country season?

A: One of our favorite memories from this cross-country season was the North Shore v. South Shore 4K Invitational. With personal best times all around, it was a moment when we could clearly appreciate the results of our daily hard work. The moment of pride, for not only our own achievement but that of the underclassmen as well, bonded us as a team.

Q: What are you going to miss the most about North's cross-country team?

A: We greatly appreciate being challenged both physically and mentally and will miss this most about our team and sport. The lessons we learned carry over into various aspects of life and help us become strong, well-rounded individuals. Furthermore, our intensive training has taught us how to push through any adversity. As senior captains, it has been our pleasure to guide the underclassmen to reaching their fullest potential and instilling in them the lessons we have learned through our coaching, past captains, and experience.

Q: What was the best part of being on this team?

A: The best part about being on this cross-country team is easily the family we have built. We are a close-knit group who are always genuinely there for one another. Cross-country is an exceedingly difficult sport that requires immense amounts of dedication and hard work; however, it is all worth it when you have your family to support you every step of the way. Not only are we co-captains and teammates, but more importantly, best friends because of the four years on this team. Our bonding with Coach Boyens has led us to appreciate his motivational speeches and guidance; from teaching us about "cerebral fortitude" to perseverance, his speeches shaped us from young freshmen into the All-County and All-Conference athletes and individuals we are today. As a team, we have all spent an extreme amount of time together during the best and most difficult experiences alike, which is a testament that being a team is by chance, but being a family is our choice.


Not only were the senior captains motivational, but so were the senior team members.  They were supportive and looked out for the newer runners to the sport, making sure everyone was included and safe. Here is what senior teammate Jack Schwabe had to say about his experiences on the team:


Q: How long have you been on the team?

A: 3 years.

Q: What is your favorite memory from this cross-country season?

A: My favorite memory from this cross-country season would have to be the County meet. The rain, the mud, and the overall horrible weather conditions made it a race of strength and determination to overcome adversity and succeed.

Q: What are you going to miss the most about North's cross-country team?

A: I will miss my coach, Mr. Boyens, and all the hard work he puts into the team. I also will miss the family that is the Cross-Country team. The team is small, so everyone gets close to one another, and it becomes more than just running.

Q: What was the best part of being on this team?

A: The best part of being on the team was my fellow teammates through the years. If cross-country were just running and practicing on your own, I would have never thought of doing it. The friends and memories I have made on the team will be ones that I will never forget.

The team will miss the seniors and their leadership next year but wishes them the best of luck in their futures. Coach Boyens and the seniors have shaped amazing runners on the team for the future team. Whether someone was the fastest runner or joined to stay in shape, Mr. Boyens and our seniors helped them not only achieve their goals but set new ones for the future. Although the seniors are leaving next year, their impact on this team will remain long after they are gone.