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“JUST A GREAT THING TO BE OUT THERE”

Beacon, Lourdes Cross Country Lead Local Teams Back To Competition

By Jack Weinberger
Special to HVSR

BEACON – It’s been a while since we’ve seen sports of any kind at Beacon High School, or any other high school for that matter.

But, alas, after seven months on the sidelines, the Bulldogs, Our Lady of Lourdes and Hendrick Hudson boys and girls cross country teams lead a small contingent of local schools back into competition.

The Beacon boys earned victories over Hen Hud, 15-50, and over the Warriors, 23-36, as senior Zach Cader covered the 2.5-mile course in 13 minutes, 52 seconds. Junior teammate Evan LaBelle was just two seconds behind.

Hendrick Hudson took four of the first five spots in the girls race, led by Isolde McManus in a time of 15:46. Lourdes’ Isabelle Colabatistto was second in 16:52. Beacon freshman Rachel Thorne (20:04) was the Bulldogs’ top finisher.

Conditions were ugly. There was nonstop rain throughout the day leading up to the meet but stopped just in time for the first gun. Tennis was also slated to have its first match today but the weather put the boot to that.

The meet consisted of both varsity boys and varsity girls races followed by JV boys and girls races. The first gun to the varsity boys race went off at approximately 4:30, and after that, the season was officially underway.

Less than 15 minutes later, Cader was talking about crossing the finish line first.

“It feels so great,” he said. “I’ve been doing a lot of time trials and running my heart out everyday to get ready for the season.”

“Just being out here and getting a chance to run is a great thing,” said Beacon coach Jim Henry. “Given that the pandemic is not over yet, maybe we end up with one race then the plug is pulled, or we can get two, three, four, 10 races. You never know.”

While coach Henry and his team are certainly hoping the season finishes out, athletes must continue to do their part and follow the rules and guidelines. This cross country season is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Masks are required both in practices and on the course during the races themselves. It can be argued that cross country is the biggest combination of being both mentally exhausting and physically exhausting, and the mask requirement certainly does not make anything any easier.

“It definitely makes it a lot tougher than usual,” said senior Ryan Lino, when asked about having to wear a mask when running. “It’s just another hard factor, during a race especially.”

Thorne placed seventh overall in the girls race.

“I had butterflies in my stomach all day,” said Thorne about competing in her first ever high school race. “It is always fun to just be with the team though.”

With the first race under the belt for Beacon, hopes are that there are many more to follow as sports are finally back for the Bulldogs, Lourdes and several other local schools.

“The biggest challenge was being patient as regulations were developed and implemented,” said Athletic Director John Giametta, referring to getting sports back in action. “While I couldn’t see it behind the masks, I knew our kids were smiling.”

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