By Ryan Polistena, Staff Writer
With one of the shorter seasons of fall sports, Cross country is already nearing its end with only one full team meet remaining. Wednesday, October 21st marked the day of the SWC Championship – the final meet that Junior Varsity participated in and therefore the end of the season for the majority of the team. It is the end of another fantastic season under Coach Waring.
Despite the record of five wins and eight losses, the Boy’s Cross Country Team has put more work and focus into this season than that of past years thanks to the leadership of captains Joey Heinemeyer ‘16, Marko Pilepich ‘16, and Kevin Sholtes ‘16 and the many other experienced seniors on the team. Some of these senior peer leaders and mentors include Mike Fusaro ‘16, Patrick Daly ‘16, Peter Gallagher ‘16, Mike Walters ‘16, and David Hayes ‘16. This senior class has built up the team over the past four years, growing the program to about fifty athletes this year, with a class of about fifteen freshmen coming in just this year. Captain Joey Heinemeyer ‘16 describes his team as “fifty gentlemen who work hard both in the classroom and on the track” and notes how happy he is “to call himself part of it.”
Coach Waring trained the team especially hard this season, recognizing the explosive potential of the varsity and staying true to his goal to “create life-long runners”. The varsity team is represented by athletes from every grade and includes: Brian Carraturo ‘17, Dillon Bell ‘17, Ryan Polistena ‘17, Patrick Daly ‘16, Patrick Joyce ‘18, Peter Gallagher ‘16, Marko Pilepich ‘16, Shawn Sato ‘19, and Simon Russo ‘19. Each runner has achieved personal records and helped further the tradition of solid cross country running in Bethel. Recently, the varsity achieved a great success, sweeping a meet by defeating both Stratford and Masuk going 2-0 for the day. It seemed close at first as top three runners Brian Carraturo ‘17, Ryan Polistena ‘17, and Dillon Bell ‘17 placed 3rd, 4th, and 6th, but the team’s next four runners rounded out the overall top ten of the meet, securing the win for Bethel.
Coach Waring not only develops the students on the team as athletes, but also as people. Shiv Dave ‘16, recalls the quote that sticks with him most, “Talk is cheap, actions are everything.” A line commonly heard during the cross country season that relates not only to the sport, but to school and life. Coach Waring reminds the team often that stating goals or speaking confidently means nothing if one cannot go through with it. Mike Fusaro ‘16 believes another Coach Waring quote that “We’re a class act” is just as meaningful. Although many people may not follow the cross country team or see its races, the team is still held to a high standard. Athletes are expected to be some of the hardest workers and best teammates in the school, two characteristics that cross country running develops. Coach Waring also reminds the team often that once in the program, the people are always in the program. After learning the values of a runner and a teammate, he fully expects all the athletes to continue living with those values for the rest of their lives.
Overall, Cross Country has become an important part in the life of many BHS athletes. In fact, multiple Cross Country alumni have come back to visit the team such as former captains Willis Ballard and Patrick Hannigan.The pasta parties, premeet speeches from Coach Waring, and the camaraderie between all the runners on the team will stay with each athlete forever. This was just one amazing season out of many others and hopefully many more in the future