Irvington HS cross-country teams show improvement this season

Michael Veltz

The Irvington High School boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams showed solid improvement from last year, much to delight of head coach Marvin Hawkins.

The boys’ team finished 3-7 in the dual-meet season and took eight in the Super Essex Conference-Liberty Division, 18th at the Essex County meet and 17 in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 3 state meet.

The girls team finished 4-6 and took fourth in the SEC-Liberty Division meet, 14th at the Essex County meet, and 17th in the North Jersey Section 2, Group 3 state meet.

On the boys’ side, Desmond Marfo made First Team, Michael Veltz made Second Team, and Claudel Saint Claire made Honorable Mention, while on the girls’ side, Cathiana Jean and Adijat Oyeleke each made First Team, and Taliyah Hayes was selected Honorable Mention on the All-SEC-Liberty Division.

“Despite the record, the Blue Knights showed improvement over last year and are on the right track to becoming a force to be reckoned with,” said coach Hawkins. “The good news is that most of the athletes on both sides return.

“On the boys’ side, Desmond Marfo, a junior, had a very good cross-country season, placing third in the conference meet. He had a personal best of 17:55. Michael Veltz, a senior, will be missed. He placed ninth in the conference meet with a personal-best of 18:12.”

Freshman Devin Seward, who ran 19:55, showed promise, and St. Clair, a junior who ran 20:59, showed improvement late in the season, according to Hawkins.

Desmond Marfo

For the girls, Jean (22:08), Oyeleke (22:30), and Hayes (23:14), all sophomores, showed great promise competing in their first cross-country season. Berline Julien, another sophomore, who ran 25:34 in her second season, and freshman Ariana Ruiz (25:30) give the Blue Knights a hope for the future, Hawkins noted.