By Mary Reduzzi
It is an ordinary Tuesday night and while most North Warren sports teams are just finishing up their practices or games, the girl’s cross country team is running a ten-minute warmup before one of the most important races of the season. Each girl is repeating what Coach Loughlin had instructed them the day prior in their heads: weather the storm. Five minutes left.
The top seven girls become increasingly nervous about which girls they need to beat from which teams, what times they have to hit, and whether or not they’ll be able to steal back the division championship title taken from them last year by High Point. The ten minutes are over, and the girls lace up their spikes and head to the line. Strategic spots on the starting line are chosen, wishes of luck are offered, and the gun goes off.
All the girls need to do is displace the top seven runners on the other teams. All the girls need to do is maintain a solid pack behind the top three. All the girls need to do is work off of one another. All the girls need to do is weather the storm.
And weathered it was. 20:38 and junior Sophia Knerr blows through the finish line. 21:38 and sophomore Ellie Pagano follows to take second place. 22:14 and Sophia Civitella is NW’s third runner, followed by seven course personal records. With a 1-2-4 place punch, the girl’s team secured the divisional win by beating out High Point, the team’s biggest rival, and remains undefeated (9-0). To celebrate, the NW team was invited to dance with the Morris County Vocational Technical School, of which became the first (hopefully annual) North-Warren-Hackettstown-Morris-Tech-Cotton-Eyed-Joe-flash-mob.
As the team is composed of nine seniors, one of the largest loss of runners will take place next year, but the girls hope to leave behind Coach’s inspiring message and impactful promise to those following in their shoes: take a deep breath and you will weather the storm.