By: Paul Schwartz / Record Sports XC and Track Reporter
Jeremy Bronsteinskipped Wednesday’s dual meet at Darlington Park with a slight Achilles injury but the Dwight-Englewood junior began the 2017 season with a bang on September 9 when he set a school record of 16:09 in winning the Season Opener C race.
“It was the first race of the season and I wanted to see what I could do,’’ said Bronstein, who stamped himself as a contender for not only the NJIC Patriot division title next month but also for the Bergen E (Non-Public) crown and perhaps even the Lou Molino Bergen Meet of Champions on October 28. “I put in up to 55 to 60 miles a week in summer training and it’s the first time I’ve taken summer training seriously.’’
That’s also true for Meadowlands contender Sirish Modhagala of North Arlington, who won his race Wednesday in 17:18, just four days after running a personal best of 16:56 at Darlington in the same race won by Bronstein.
“He really wasn’t able to put in the mileage last summer because he had just transferred from Paramus Catholic and I didn’t get the coaching job until late August last year,’’ said Wildcat coach Stephanie Sinclair. “But this year he’s put the time in and our whole senior group has followed his lead.”
Park Ridge/Emerson seniorJake Cooper had the day’s best boys time Wednesday, winning his race easily in 17:14. But like Bronstein and Modhagala, he had already enjoyed his Season Opener race the previous weekend.
Cooper won the B race in 16:45, just a second off of his Darlington best, pleasing the defending Bergen C champion, who is hoping to run at Tufts or Cornell next fall.
“I wanted to start off where I left off last year,’’ said Cooper, who did just that and then had a breakout spring season which included an upset 1,600 win over now graduated Bogota stars Danny Daurio and James Draney at the Bergen D championships in May.
“That race was huge for me confidence-wise and it was the smartest race I ever ran. It’s one I’ll remember as I compete this year.’’
If Cooper does go to Tufts he might be teammates with Glen Rock senior Alex Walter, who began her senior year with a pair of wins at Darlington, an easy 19:56 win at the Season Opener C race and a comfortable 20:19 on Wednesday, the best girls time.
Walter has Tufts and Brown on her list, and the veteran performer, who has county and league titles in her past, is looking forward to her final scholastic year with a pair of new goals.
“I’ve wanted to run in the 18:40s for a couple years,’’ said Walter, who ran 18:50 at Darlington in 2014. “And I’ve been so close to making the State Meet of Champions (14th, 11th and 14th in her first three seasons when a top 10 finish at State Group 2 who advance her), that this year I want it more than anything else.’’