Kicking off the EA Day festivities last year, the cross-country team hopes to repeat its success this upcoming Saturday on the hills of Episcopal Academy.
“We’ve changed the training this year. We’ve ramped up the intensity a little bit during the season which has been bearing fruit,” varsity coach Mr. Timothy Lengel said.
In order to prepare for EA’s cross-country course, which is considerably more hilly than the home Haverford College course, captains Vincent Scauzzo ’20 and Lleyton Winslow ’20 have led captains’ practices on Sundays at EA itself, allowing the runners to practice on the actual course and familiarize themselves with the route.
“We’ve also resorted to training off-campus for hills, doing some stuff around Rose Lane and in that neighborhood to get some real hills in,” Scauzzo said.
Making sure that they are ready for the topography of EA has not been the only obstacle facing Haverford’s cross-country team this season. Earlier in the year, Sixth Form varsity runner Jack Ballenger went down with a stress fracture and is unable to complete for the remainder of the season. His injury has not deterred the spirits of the team, who have rallied together.
“That was a big loss, you know, losing your third or fourth guy on the team,” Scauzzo said, “but we just keep pushing. Because if we push, we’ll still have a chance, and if we have a chance, then we could win.”
Episcopal’s team is fast this year because of lots of summer practice as well as adding one or two new runners to the mix. But Coaches Lengel and Mr. Brian Long feel good about how Haverford stacks up against their opponent.
“AJ [Sanford ‘21], we know is close to EA’s number one runner, so AJ’s job is to try and beat their number one guy,” Coach Lengel said. “We know that Lleyton is near a particular runner, so he has to know who that guy is and make sure he leads that guy. And there are other runners who are better at finishing or starting so we work with them to tailor their races.”
“I think all the grinding is starting to pay off. We’ve got some serious speed from our guys who started out not super fast. Our top guys are only getting faster,” Scauzzo said. “I think it’s really shown a lot of growth, and I think we’re going to show a lot of speed on Saturday.”
Unlike last year, the student body will not be able to support their fellow classmates during the school day on Friday. Instead, the race will occur at EA at 11:00 a.m.