Girls’ cross country continues to flourish at Sectionals


Courtesy of East Athletics Twitter

On November 3, the East girls’ cross country took fifth place at the The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Sectionals.

On November 3, 2018, over 100 girls from sixteen different high schools across the state gathered at the Delsea High School in Franklin, New Jersey. As they breathed in the crisp autumn air and felt the adrenaline rush through the atmosphere, their hearts burned fervently, all with a shared passion: running. With an unwavering sense of determination, the participants raced across the field, their hours of practice and work ethic apparent. The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Sectionals would determine the future of the Cherry Hill East cross country team. Based on the meet’s results, it is safe to say that the team’s future is filled with opportunities for promise and success.

Seven of the team’s members- Tabitha DiDonato (’21), Dani Lazarus (’19), Aliza Kotzen (’20), Mary Kate McCurdy (’21), Madison McNiff (’22), Sarah Pierce (’19), and Isabel Slimm (’21)- participated in the meet.

“[The team] was able to achieve [their] goal of advancing to states…as they had to finish in the top five, and [East] finished in the fifth place,” Coach Anthony Maniscalco said.

Maniscalco has high hopes for the team’s performance at states and views the meet as a building block towards the team’s future achievements.

“At states, we’re hoping to compete with teams like Shawnee and Cherokee and we have a shot to make the meet of champions…to do that, we have to perform on Saturday,” Maniscalco said.

While the team did not accomplish its goal of finishing in the top three, the runners remain determined to push forward with optimism.

“We accomplished a clear goal…to make it to states…which we’ve had for about a month and a half…however, we fell short of our goal of finishing in the top three…[but] we’re not going to dwell on that…we’re going to try and get ahead of them this weekend,” said Maniscalco.

The meet on November 3, while overall a testament to the girls’ perseverance, remained a challenge.

“It was a very tough race and there were a lot of obstacles, but overall, we all did our best,” McCurdy said.

McCurdy, in particular, had gotten injured two weeks before the race. She even had stitches for ten days, but was able to train a couple days earlier. Additionally, many of the girls were able to obtain personal records.

“While the race wasn’t our best, we all [performed to the best of our abilities],” said McCurdy.

Ultimately, November 3 will remain a challenging yet memorable day for East’s cross country team, and the experience has augmented Maniscalco’s hopes for the team’s future performances. Despite the obstacles that the runners faced, the meet acted as a key ingredient in allowing the team to advance to greater heights. The promise of a bright and prosperous outlook continues to glimmer, and Maniscalco believes that the girls will continue to reach for the moon in the upcoming year. Overall, the team is bounding into a plethora of opportunities and potential.