Cross-country runners from local, public and private high schools were among the hundreds of competitors who raced in the Mayor’s Cup Competition at Van Cortlandt Park on a blustery Saturday. The event also included parochial schools from across the city.
Male and female runners — from freshmen to seniors — ran on Vannie’s renowned course, up and down its hills and through its forest.
The racers were cheered on by teammates, coaches and parents, who set up tents on the course’s sidelines, alongside Broadway.
“This course means so much to me,” said Charles Scherr, a Horace Mann senior, who ran a personal best time in his event. “This is where we run every day.”
The Mayor’s Cup included several levels of competition. The Championship Division was comprised of boys’ and girls’ teams ranked in the top cross-country programs in the city. The competition also included a Varsity Division for the remaining schools, as well as a Junior Varsity and a Freshman Division.
Collegiate was the winner in the boys’ Championship Division with an overall score of 1:07:43.46.
Bronx Science was the top local team, finishing in eighth spot at 1:14:40.92, followed by Horace Mann, in 10th, at 1:14:49.92.
On the girls’ side, St. John Villa Academy was the overall winner, at 1:24:28.65. No local schools managed to make it into the top echelon of Championship Division winners.
There was an air of high-spiritedness and camaraderie at the event, despite the athletes’ competitive drive.
Several local runners were happy to discuss the course, the fine points of their training and their love of long-distance running.
“I have been trying to visualize the race,” said Sacha Heymann, a sophomore for the High School of American Studies, who was preparing for his heat. “I feel a mix of nervousness and excitement.”
Xaio Jing, a freshman for the perpetually strong Bronx Science girls’ team, said she took up running at the start of the school year.
“I thought it would be a good sport to get fit,” said Xaio.