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Majors Spotlight
Majors Spotlight
February 21, 2024
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Boys Cross Country Team Makes History

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Brooklyn Tech Boys Cross Country Team at Bowdoin Park

After miles of summer training and dozens of after-school workouts, the Brooklyn Tech Boys Cross Country team had a triumphant end to their season. The team finished second place in the New York State Federation Cross Country Championships — the highest-ever finish for a Public School Athletic League (PSAL) school — along with a third consecutive PSAL City Championship title.  

At City Championships, Elijah Gentry (‘24) and Travis Wolfe-Thompson (‘24) placed 3rd and 4th respectively, with Max Haidt (‘24) and Kavi Sieg (‘25) also securing top 20 finishes. Both Gentry and Wolfe-Thompson broke a record set by Gentry on October 21st at the Brooklyn Borough Championships. Just weeks later, on November 18th, at the New York Federation meet, Gentry and Wolfe-Thompson led the Engineers once again, both placing in the top 25.

The coaches and runners attribute the team’s success to its competitive yet supportive environment. “Over time, hopefully, there is a culture that is created,” said Coach Wade Clarke, where “kids buy in [to the program].” 

There is no question that Coach Clarke has achieved full “buy-in” from his runners. Wolfe-Thompson noted that he ran over 300 miles this summer, while also working to ensure he paced himself. “It’s important to not overtrain during the summer though, because it will make you reach your peak performance too early,” he said. Sieg made a similar commitment, running approximately 50 miles a week throughout the summer. 

Towards the end of August, following a one-week intensive training program at The Running School, a sleepaway camp devoted to runners, the team gathered together for pre-season practices at Van Cortlandt Park. In addition to building team spirit, grueling workouts at the exact park where their PSAL meets would be held prepared the team for another trophy-winning season. 

“[Our workouts] help build the bond of shared hardship and camaraderie,” said Wolfe-Thompson. However, in an individual sport like cross country, the competitiveness of each runner can’t be discounted. “We definitely have a competitive [intra]-team dynamic, where we all want to be better than each other,” said Haidt.

In October, championship season began, and the time had finally come for the Engineers to show off their summer training. Tech runners occupied each spot in the top five at the Brooklyn Borough Championships, with Diamond Ling (‘26) and Cian Walls (‘24) also placing in the top 10. Gentry placed first in the borough, completing a 5K course in 16 minutes and 25 seconds, one second faster than the previous 2019 record-holding time. 

Going into City Championships, the Engineers were confident in their training but didn’t ignore the magnitude of what three straight City Championship titles would mean. “This one was definitely the most important of the three,” admitted Gentry, who ended up breaking the record he had previously set with a time of 16 minutes and 5 seconds in the championships. 

Hunter College High School fielded a strong challenge to the Engineers, with two Ivy League university committed runners on the team placing first and second in the race, helping yield a total of 55 points. However, Tech still managed to secure first place, with all runners on the team placing in the top 40 places out of 175. The top five runners that were counted for scoring all placed in the top 20. 

As the Federation Championship race in Poughkeepsie drew closer, the Engineers were not given much time to rest. At Bowdoin Park, the 300 fastest runners at the state gathered, ready to try and make history. “The energy and adrenaline is like nothing else,” said Haidt. The seven Tech runners gathered right before the race, and Wolfe-Thompson delivered his usual encouraging pre-race speech. “He has the strongest personality on the team,” asserted Haidt. 

As the gun fired, the runners funneled tightly into the Bowdoin Park course in Wappinger Falls. Crossing the finish line, Wolfe-Thompson and Gentry secured places in the top 25, and a second-place finish overall for the Engineers. The victory validated all of the hard work they had put in, even though the official state rankings didn’t reflect it. “Starting the season, we were ranked #11 in the state, and the rankings never really caught up to where we were,” said Gentry. 

After a tough race, the Engineers ended their season at the Nike New York Cross Country Regional Championships (NXR). Although they had hoped to qualify for the prestigious Nike Cross Country National Championships (NXN), an appearance at the regional race was no small feat for Brooklyn Tech. The team placed fourth overall out of 22 teams in the region, an accomplishment that only extended the season’s historic run.

Although the Engineers will lose record-breaking seniors this June, underclassmen runners still hold promise under the guidance of Coach Clarke. At the junior varsity Brooklyn Borough Championship, Tech runners occupied the top 21 spots with Abraham Wilchins (‘27) finishing nearly 30 seconds faster than second place. This dominance continued at the City Championships for junior varsity runners, where four Tech runners placed in the top 10. Even with these results, these next star runners must make the same commitment as those before them. “If you haven’t put in the work, you can’t just suddenly jump up and expect a result,” warned Clarke. 

The team now turns to the indoor track season, where the Engineers will build off the momentum gained from their fall results into a medal-winning winter.

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About the Contributor
Jacob Tobman, Sports Editor
Jacob Tobman (he/him) is a Co-Editor of Sports. Joining The Survey was a no-brainer for him as he's always been a consumer of journalism and holds a great passion for writing and research. Jacob enjoys reading the many opinion pieces that The New York Times has to offer while occasionally reading through other newspapers like The Washington Post. In the future, he would love to participate in politics and foreign affairs. In his free time, Jacob loves to play sports like Tennis and Basketball while also playing video games like FIFA and NBA2K. While not being an avid lover of books, The Hunger Games series holds a special place in his heart.

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    Rachel WolfeDec 16, 2023 at 8:01 am

    Great piece!

    Reply