by Geneva Gleason
Fallen leaves of every color and a sea of fans lined the paths at Warinanco Park as Westfield boys and girls varsity cross country pushed to the finish at the UCIAC and Union County Championships last Wednesday.
All seven varsity girls had personal records on Wednesday as the team took first place with 34 points. Senior Quad-Captain Gabrielle Stravach led with a second place time of 19:10, followed by junior Meghan O’Dwyer in fifth place with a time of 19:34. The girls also broke a school record with a team time of 19:38.
“Our goal [is to] make it to the Meet of Champions. We worked so hard over the summer and up until now that hopefully it will all pay off. We still have a lot ahead of us, but we are all very excited and nervous to see where we’ll go,” said senior Quad-Captain Erica Fischer.
Boys varsity also captured first place with 26 points. The team was led by senior Quad-Captain Matt Luppino, who placed second and ran a personal record with a time of 16:00. Senior Quad-Captain Philip Edwards followed in fourth place with a personal record of 16:14. The team also set the course five-man record average, beating the previous record by three seconds.
Said Luppino: “[The meet] was absolutely incredible [and] shows how deep our programs are and how dedicated everyone is to the success of this team. Everything that happened [Wednesday] would not have happened without everyone’s contributions all season.”
According to Girls Cross Country Coach Thomas Hornish, the varsity girls team is currently ranked sixth in the state and the JV team will defend its state title on Nov. 6.
Hornish added, “Wednesday was a historical moment and great day for Westfield.”