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Photo Courtesy of Ava Cummings

The team was all smiles after the race.

Noah Gagnon

The Bernards high school cross country season got off to a strong start at the Brookdale Invitational race on Saturday, September 10th. During the offseason, NJ.com ranked BHS boys cross country the tenth best dynasty in all of New Jersy high school sports. The Mountaineers were looking to carry on the tradition heading into the 2016 season. In their first meet on saturday, the team took home the first place trophy among small schools and took second place of all 17 teams at the event, only behind Monclair. Bernards was lead by a strong race from junior Stuart Gruters who is the younger brother of the fastest cross country runner in BHS history Richard Gruters. Stuart followed in his brothers footsteps finishing with a 16:45 5k, placing third overall and first among small schools. “We ran really well as a team today,” Stuart stated after the race.The Mountaineers were also assisted by a strong race from Dane Oberschmidt. Prior to the race, Oberschmidt was battling a hamstring injury, but he knew that his success was essential for the team to perform well. Luckily, Dane was able to tough it out and finish among the top half of runners. After the race he stated, “We were able to beat the heat and the other team.” All of the team’s success was done without Senior captain Connor Roehr, who’s been on the team since he was a freshman, which provides high hopes for the rest of the season.

On the girls side, the varsity team took the runner-up trophy among small schools.  Lead by impressive races by Alyssa Frausto and Hadley Meckes who finished fifth and 18th overall.

Other notable performances for the Mountaineers included a fantastic race from senior Quentin Kelly, who is looking to run cross country next year in college,  finished sixth overall in the boys varsity race. BHS basketball player Alex Kotwick, and Thomas Perone also received medals as they both finished in the top 15.

The team now looks forward to the class meet at Thompson park as on Saturday. If their performance is anything close to the one they put forth at Brookdale, the upcoming season will be a special one.