The GSB Cross Country team used hard work and senior leadership to finish their season out strong, with one runner’s accomplishment earning her a spot in the coveted NJ Cross Country Meet of Champions.
Entering his 4th year leading the program, Head Coach Mike Parker noticed significant consistency in this year’s roster, especially for the Girl’s Team whose effort earned them a 4th place finish at this year’s Prep Championships.
“When I started four years ago at GSB, I had one girl runner on the roster. This year, we had a scoring team in every race that we participated in. That was a team goal. We shuffled the 8-member team to always have a scoring team.”
One of those members, Ellie Roslund ’25, competed in every race and earned the team’s Ironman medal for her dedication, durability, and all-around work ethic. Other key contributors included Seniors Caroline Rongen and Delaney Yates, Sophomores Angelina Bonventura and Katherine Horton, and Freshmen Braelyn Brandl and Ciara DeCarlo.
The Knight’s spotlight runner this year was undoubtedly Ema Hercules ’25. The sophomore phenom built off her successful freshman campaign to place 1st in the Skyland Conference Championship, 17th in the Somerset County Championship, 3rd at the Prep B Championship, and 10th at a highly competitive Non-Public B Group Championship.
Hercules’ Top 10 finish at the Group Championship earned her an invitation to the Meet of Champions, New Jersey’s premiere cross country race to face off against the state’s top competition. Competing for the first time, Hercules posted a strong time of 21:00 to finish as one of the top 100 runners in the state at the Holmdel Park course.
On the Boys’ Side, the Knights were led by all-year runner James O’Brien ’25 who saved his best race for the Somerset County Championship with a personal best of 19:17. Other key contributors to the Knights’ season were Seniors Tyler Tellalian, Laksh Patel, Peter Horton, Akshay Patel, Riley Bittman, and Nico Alfaro, Juniors Liam Seeley and Lex Webber, Sophomore Dylan Weaver, and Freshmen Quinn Miller and Evan Alfaro.
Beyond interscholastic competition, the Cross Country program demonstrated the true meaning of community in the team’s annual Charity Run. This year, the team’s 8 seniors, led by 4-year member Riley Bittman, organized the race to support pancreatic cancer research with a fundraising goal of $250. In the end, the team raised over $2,000 as parents, faculty, and fellow GSB students came out to support and take part in the race. Bittman also received the team’s Knight Award for his leadership and dedication to the cross country program.