As the 2016 boy’s cross country season approaches, the Pirates will rely on their veteran leadership on and off the course.
The Pirates enjoyed a 12-3 year in 2015, along with a 5-0 division record and a Patriot Division crown.
The three losses in 2015 came against Moorestown, Rancocas Valley and Northern Burlington.
The 2015 team won the Patriot Division at the BCSL meet by two points over Maple Shade and finished seventh overall at the sectional meet.
Last year’s team was very young, with five of the nine members were underclassmen.
This season, the youth has translated to veteran leadership, and head coach Dan Fourney knows it will help.
“Hard work pays off,” Fourney said. “I’ve had a lot of hard workers in my career. Hard work pays off. These guys know there’s no shortcuts.”
Mike Ungvarsky has let his actions speak louder than his words in a leadership role this year.
“He is a born leader,” Fourney said. “He is a lead by example kid. He got the guys together all summer long. He was responsible for bringing them in and running.”
There are seven runners on the squad this year, with one freshman who has quite a bit of experience, winning the mile in the South Jersey Middle School races.
Per the norm, the Pirates will endure a very tough schedule in 2016, with the likes of Moorestown, Northern Burlington, Maple Shade and Bordentown present at batch meets.
“Moorestown will probably give us the toughest challenge,” Fourney said. “They always have a good team year in and year out.”
The season begins on Tuesday, September 13 at BCIT Westampton for a batch meet featuring Pemberton, New Egypt, Westampton and Maple Shade.
“We have a couple of new teams in our division this year. Medford Tech always does a nice job,” Fourney said. “They won the Freedom division the last couple years and moved to the Patriot this year.”
As of right now, the only home meet of the season for the Pirates will occur on Tuesday, October 4 when Holy Cross, Pemberton and Palmyra visit.
The majority of the runners take part in winter track and/or spring track and field.
“The continuity of grinding it out, doing what you have to do every day, is important,” Fourney said. “You don’t see many great cross country runners who just run cross country. Some of them do other sports, but you have to be out there for at least indoor or outdoor.”
Fourney likes to remind his runners of the program’s strong history each season.
“We talk about it. I’ve been asked how many teams have gone on to the meet of champions. We talk about history all the time. I give them lists of courses with times kids have run in the past to motivate them.”
Follow Cinn City News for all the news stories in and around Cinnaminson, including exclusive coverage of Pirates sports at the high school and in-town levels. We are on Twitter and Facebook. Be sure to sign up for our daily newsletter on the homepage.