NUTLEY, NJ — The Nutley boys cross country team ran its final conference race on Election Day, Nov. 3. The championship was run in Newark, where the trail blazers in maroon placed second as a team and every single racer came in under 22 minutes. With arch rival Montclair Kimberley Academy taking home the title, the Raiders still avenged a regular season loss to the Chiefs of Caldwell by taking the silver and making this “different” season one to look back on and be proud of. The seniors showed up to carry this team across the finish line, but one young runner made sure to show off what is in store for the future of this program.
Senior captain Sean Bernardo, who’s times improved every single week, dominated yet again; Bernardo has won every race this season by a landslide and it was no different Nov. 3. Taking home first, Bernardo came in at a season best 17:23. He has put on a show this year and is leaving everything on these courses for his final season here at Nutley.
Fellow senior Anish “The Warrior” Kumar (19:35), zoomed in the top 15 overall and even was battling through some leg tightness to help secure the top-2 finish. Finally cracking the sub 20 club was freshman sensation Ryan Budnick, who came in at 19:59. Budnick knows he will have huge shoes to fill as he keeps pace with his elders and wants to put this program on his back in the years to come.
Right behind the sub 20 club was senior veteran Luca Vespa (20:03), who left it all out there and won the team vote for greatest hair flow. Fellow senior Tyler “The Hammer” Chang, followed right outside that 20-minute mark to finish at 20:13; Chang battled through mid-race challenges but was able to still finish like the warrior that he is. Coming in hot as usual was sophomore Justice “The Bolt” Rivera (20:29) and junior “Sweet Feet” Jimmy Bernardo (21:32), who both have shown great efforts overall this season to round out the top seven.