Cross-country runners prepare for EA Day: “the strongest we’ve looked in years”

The Fords step out against Malvern on September 26 – Communications

Haverford cross-country runners are carrying momentum into EA Day after recent strong results. Now, the team is preparing to put up their best performance for their final race.

“We’ve had some injuries going into the end of the season, but overall this is the strongest we’ve looked in the last few years,” Sixth Form co-captain Nolan McCloskey said. “Everyone on the team has been dropping seconds or even minutes of their time over the last month, and everyone is ready to run their best race on the most important day.”

The team’s improvements this season have paid dividends. “Just recently, we got third out of around 17 teams at the PAISAA championship, which is our best performance in a few years,” said Fifth Form co-captain Finn Kelly.

The team also took third place at the Inter-Ac Championships. The results from PAISAA (Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association) and the Inter-Ac meet are the team’s best in recent years.

These results are not random: the team is implementing changes to make their training more efficient for the end of the season. One training change the team has made for the last month of the season is tapering. 

“During a taper, our mileage decreases, and our workout intensity increases,” Kelly explained. “With only one race left to run this season, we aren’t training for long-term strength anymore, we are only training to be as strong as possible on November 11th.”

Alex Dardarian ’25 in last year’s race at EA – Communications

In addition to this technical adaptation, the runners are also focusing on running in packs. 

“Coaches [Brian] Long, [Tim] Lengel, and [Barbara] LaPenta have emphasized the need for this in both physical and mental terms,” McCloskey said. “Packing together allows the lead runner to break the wind for the others, and mentally it also allows for each of us to push our brothers.”

“Getting cheered on by all our classmates on our biggest race means everything to us.”

Finn Kelly ’25

Haverford cross country’s tradition of brotherhood and support plays a pivotal role in the team’s success. “This year the team was closer than ever and it allowed us to push each other to continue getting better,” McCloskey said. “Hopefully that effort will allow us to run our best on EA Day.”

The team also looks forward to the support of Haverford fans. 

“Cross-country meets never really get much student support through the regular season,” Kelly said, “so getting cheered on by all our classmates on our biggest race means everything to us.”

Author: Ian Rosenzweig '25

Ian Rosenzweig currently serves as Academics Editor and writer. He has also served as the editing director for The Foreign Policy Youth Collaborative, a youth nonprofit organization, for whom he has written content regarding international and domestic policy. His poem "Faithful Return" won the 2022 Berniece L. Fox Classics Writing Contest. In February 2023, three of his articles earned honorable mention recognition from the Philadelphia-area Scholastic Writing Awards.