It Takes a Team to be Champions

Varsity Girls Cross Country
You might think that an individual sport like cross-country would be a lonely pursuit. Not so when it comes to the varsity Girls Cross Country team at Grace. Senior Camille S. said, “I think this was a successful season because the girls' team had such a strong bond. We all loved to work together and encourage one another to do our best.” Kate P., also a senior, added, “Our team is extremely supportive of each other. While there are some days that are challenging, I know I can also push through them with the help of my teammates.”
Every girl we asked described the cohesion of the girls’ team as the source of their A.C.I.S. Championship this year. “It felt incredible to win the ACIS Championships. It was a total team effort, given the scoring method. If the entire girls team did not do well we had no chance of winning. Everyone played a huge part in this accomplishment,” said freshman Talli W.  
In the championship race in late October, the girls ran their 5000 meter (5K) race at a combined time of 1 hour 59 minutes and 59 seconds, narrowly edging out the victory over the second place time by only 1 minute. The average race time for the champions was 23 minutes 59 seconds. Sophomore Daniela M. turned in the fastest time of the race at 22 minutes 41 seconds. “I felt really good when I won the ACIS Championship race. I wasn't expecting to be the first one, but I felt very happy and proud of myself when I crossed the finish line!” Daniela added, “I loved the team! Everyone is very supportive and we are all friends. It’s nice to have good relationships with your teammates because it encourages you to come to practice every day and do the best you can.
Head Coach Rodnel Janvier also praised the team, “The girls winning the championship was definitely the highlight of this season. They were very dedicated, coachable, respectful and hard-working.” Illi Armijos, Director of Athletics, said, “This is the second league championship for the Varsity Girls in three years, after they won the PSAA Championship in the fall of 2015. We’re really proud of their hard work!”
The bond formed by the teammates was a mix of hard work and fun, whether singing on the bus or having water fights after a hard practice on a hot day. It allowed the girls to stay loose and turn in outstanding individual performances that drove the team forward. Camille S. ’18 described the closeness of the team, “We are a tight-knit group who all have a passion for running. Our determination makes us like a family.” Talli W. ’21 added, “Coach Howell saw everyone in action during the first meet and he felt that we could actually win the championship. Everyone became so determined. We all really wanted to do well and improve our abilities. It wasn’t just winning as a team, but individually we looked to getting personal bests or moving up a place or just finishing a three-mile course. As a team we cheered on everyone’s accomplishments.”
The Girls Varsity team won three out of the four qualifying races before the championship race with Daniela M. ’20 and Talli W. ’21, each posting the best time once. Throughout the season, at least two Grace runners finished in the top three in every race. The impressive results culminated with Daniela and Talli both earning All-ACIS honors.
For their impressive season, the girls team earned a berth to the NYSAIS State Championship meet. Out 160 runners, both Daniela and Talli ran well finishing in 31st and 59th respectively. The Boys Varsity team also ran a strong season, earning third place in the ACIS and also earning a berth in the state meet, in which they netted the 15th best team score.
Distance running is a tough sport requiring not just physical endurance but mental fortitude. Success requires persistence and knowing that the tough days will pay off. Kate P. ’18 described it this way, “Cross Country is one of the hardest sports, but every meet and practice is extremely rewarding in the end.” Kate summed up the season, “It was surreal winning the A.C.I.S. Championship, especially since our girls’ team is relatively small compared to some of the other teams. All the girls were so motivated to win and it paid off. I am so proud of everyone on the team.” 

The next major expansion at Grace Church School began on June 19 with the groundbreaking - actually the roof-breaking - for the Gym at Cooper Square. The 14,000 square foot facility serving Grades 7-12, and qualified to host volleyball and basketball league and NYSAISAA playoffs, is scheduled to open in Fall 2018.

Stay up to date on construction progress and see video and photo galleries at