Cross Country Runs Through Challenging Season

Seton Hall Prep’s Cross-Country season officially came to an end at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Non-Public Group A race at Holmdel Park, NJ. Scoring for the Pirates were Co-Captain TJ Sparno ’23,  co-captain Russ Webb ’23, Andrew Burkitt ’26, Nick Cirelli ’26 and John Dec ’24. Ronan Carter ’26 and Gabe Ramos ’26 contributed to the varsity team in this challenging course. Despite a difficult end to the season, the team came in twelfth place among twenty-one teams competing. Even though it was a difficult finish, the team ended on a positive note. Webb and Sparno have shown their leadership and determination to this program during their four years at The Prep. 

The 2022 Cross Country season was filled with many challenges and opportunities. The season opened on September 10 with the Season Opener Invitational at Darlington Park in Mahwah, where the team showed confidence and a strong performance. The freshman team placed 1st in the 2-mile, the varsity team placed 3rd in the 5K, and the JV would have placed 1st in the 5K; however, there was no JV team score calculated at this meet. The new freshmen runners who scored were  Cirelli, Burkitt, Carter, Dean Romain ’26, and Matt Werner ’26. As the team progressed into the season, they faced some tough competition at the Stewart Memorial Invitational, where the varsity team finished in 8th place out of 16 teams, the JV team finished in 5th place out of 16 teams, and the freshmen team came in a close 6th place out of 13 teams. The team continued to shine as they ended their dual meet season with an 8-1 record defeating Verona and Bloomfield.   

Seton Hall Prep finished the season strong with great effort in the Super Essex Conference Championships held on October 14 at Branch Brook Park. The varsity team finished in 5th place, while the JV and freshman team finished in 2nd place. This was a difficult challenge for Seton Hall Prep, as one of the team’s most valuable runners, Conner Schmit ’24, was injured and out for this meet and the remainder of the season. Losing Conner mid-season had a significant impact on the team. Runners had to step up to the plate and outperform themselves to compensate for their loss. The team, however, showed resilience, determination, and commitment.  

A big congratulations go out to TJ Sparno, who will receive 1st Team All County recognition, and Ben Brennen ’24, who will receive 2nd Team All County recognition for their accomplishments at the Conference Championships. However, the team’s accomplishments could not be achieved without the effort of every single runner on this team. The incoming freshman had a remarkable season and was a great addition to the Seton Hall Prep family. Not only did they show up and perform, but their spirit and enthusiasm in every meet made it all the better.  

Prior to the start of the XC fall season, the team begins with optional practices three times a week as early as June. It continues throughout the summer until preseason officially starts in mid-August. During the season, athletes practice six times a week, and the practices consist of rigorous training, running at least 5-6 miles daily. With the meets usually scheduled during the week and on weekends, the team could have as many as two weekly meets during peak season. This sport requires both physical and mental determination to succeed. Seton Hall Prep Cross Country Team put on great effort during the season and will continue to shine every year more and more.