CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – John Jay’s senior runners were heading into the home stretch of their careers before a global health crisis kept them from reaching the finish line.

After three-plus years of commitment, a DNF wasn’t the result anyone wanted, but the spring track and field athletes are taking the cancellation of the sports season in stride.

Life is a marathon—not a sprint—and the race has only just begun for these graduating seniors, who this week shared a bit about themselves, their fondest memories at John Jay High School, and their future plans.

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But before learning about the Class of 2020, the John Jay coaches will share some departing messages for their senior student-athletes.

Kerrie Kuntz, varsity girls head coach: “It has been a pleasure and honor to coach these dedicated athletes through their many seasons at John Jay High School. They will do great in whatever endeavors they decide to pursue. Best of luck in the future. Stay fit!”

Alex Swiatocha, varsity boys head coach: “Thank you to the Class of 2020 for being role models to your teammates. You have worked hard throughout your running careers at John Jay and your track times and seasonal improvements certainly attest to your work ethic. Your dedication and ability to be persistent in pursuit of your goals will be invaluable in anything that you do. Congratulations and good luck!”

Kitanya Brown

  • Events/PR: 200-meter dash/26.13
  • Seasons on Team: 4
  • Future Plans: Attending SUNY Oneonta
  • Pre-Race Snack or Meal: Crunchy peanut butter Cliff Bars and green grapes
  • Favorite Spring Track Memory: Running Loucks
  • Advice to Younger Teammates: Just because you lost doesn’t mean you should give up.

James Meikle

  • Events/PR: Long Jump/18’5”, Triple Jump/39’6.5”
  • Seasons on Team: 4
  • Future Plans: Northumbria University at Newcastle upon Tyne; study architecture in England and backpack across Europe
  • Pre-Race Snack or Meal: M&M’s
  • Favorite Spring Track Memory: Going to Counties for triple jump and long jump
  • Advice to Younger Teammates: Don’t be deterred by doing badly in meets and always stay focused during practice.

Jack Mango

  • Events/PR: 800-meter/2:37, 1600-meter/5:46
  • Seasons on Team: 4
  • Future Plans: Studying astrophysics at Georgia Tech
  • Pre-Race Snack or Meal: Toast with strawberry jam and sometimes a Cliff Bar
  • Favorite Spring Track Memory: Going on the river run and getting lost on the trails behind the school
  • Advice to Younger Teammates: Fake it ‘til you make it.

Morgan Johnson

  • Events/PR: 2,000-meter steeplechase/7:19, 1,500-meter/4:57, 3,000-meter/10:45
  • Seasons on Team: 4
  • Future Plans: Attending the University of Miami, where I will be majoring in psychology and competing in cross country and track
  • Pre-Race Snack or Meal: Oatmeal with peanut butter and banana
  • Favorite Spring Track Memory: Winning sectionals in the steeplechase after being injured for most of the season
  • Advice to Younger Teammates: Have fun at meets and hard work pays off.

Sam Posner

  • Events/PR: 1600-meter/4:35, 3,200-meter/9:52 (second fastest in school history)
  • Seasons on Team: 4
  • Future Plans: I will run XC/TF at Colby College
  • Pre-Race Snack or Meal: Pasta night before a meet; GoGo squeeZ and clementines on the bus
  • Favorite Spring Track Memory: Breaking 10 minutes in the 3,200-meter for the first time last year at the Somers meet
  • Advice to Younger Teammates: You don’t get anywhere alone. Running may be an individual activity, but without my parents, coaches, and teammates, I wouldn’t have become the runner I am today. Running isn’t easy, but if you surround yourself with the right people and put in effort on and off the track, you will be able to do great things.

Samantha Comstock

  • Events/PR: 800-meter/2:35
  • Seasons on Team: 4
  • Future Plans: Attending Sacred Heart University, Occupational Therapy
  • Pre-Race Snack or Meal: Bananas, ENERGY CHEWS!
  • Favorite Spring Track Memory: JayFest
  • Advice to Younger Teammates: Always push and support each other; this team is going to be your second family.

Jasper Meikle

  • Events/PR: Long jump: 17’9-3/4”, 200-meter dash/26.03
  • Seasons on Team: 4
  • Future Plans: Attend Cooper Union; keep running casually throughout college
  • Pre-Race Snack or Meal: Nothing specific, but at some meets the Cup-o-Noodles is my go-to.
  • Favorite Spring Track Memory: Winning my first 200-meter
  • Advice to Younger Teammates: When something starts to hurt, stop running.

Sara Rabinowitz

  • Events/PR: 100-meter hurdles/18.93, 100-meter dash/14.60, 200-meter dash/31.27
  • Seasons on Team: 4
  • Future Plans: Attending Marist College
  • Pre-Race Snack or Meal: Oatmeal
  • Favorite Spring Track Memory: Competing in hurdles for the first time and instantly falling in love with the event.
  • Advice to Younger Teammates: Don’t get too caught up in comparing yourself to others. Remember that as long as you’re working hard, you deserve to be a part of the team and love the sport just as much as anyone else, no matter what your times are.

Clodagh McGroary

  • Events/PR: 2,000-meter steeplechase/7:28.41, 1,500-meter/4:55.18, 3,000-meter/10:47.71
  • Seasons on Team: 4
  • Future Plans: I will be running cross country and track and field for Fordham University, where I will major in biological sciences on the pre-health track with the goal to be a nurse
  • Pre-Race Snack or Meal: Breakfast/Honey Nut Cheerios, Snack/Banana
  • Favorite Spring Track Memory: Winning the 4x800-meter relay in 2018 at the Glenn D. Loucks Games, which is a national invitational meet that has taken place since 1968
  • Advice to Younger Teammates: Always remember that “hard work beats talents when talent doesn’t work hard.”

Oona Kerrigan

  • Events/PR: 100-meter dash/15.28, 200-meter dash/31.49, 400-meter dash/1:16.52
  • Seasons on Team: 4
  • Future Plans: Attending Sacred Heart University
  • Pre-Race Snack or Meal: Bagel with cream cheese
  • Favorite Spring Track Memory: Every time I competed in the 4x100-meter relay
  • Advice to Younger Teammates: Enjoy it, because it goes by way too fast.

Aidan McGroary

  • Events/PR: 100-meter/11.95, 200-meter/28.1
  • Seasons on Team: 3
  • Future Plans: I will be attending the Kelley School of Business in Indiana.
  • Pre-Race Snack or Meal: Breakfast/Mom’s specialty—two fried eggs and tater tots, snack/two granola bars and a Monster
  • Favorite Spring Track Memory: There’s too many to count. I loved going on the free runs with all my friends. I also loved cheering on my great teammates like Clodagh, Sam, and Jeffrey Alper.
  • Advice to Younger Teammates: “There’s no talent here; this is hard work. This is an obsession. Talent does not exist; we are all equals as human beings. You could be anyone if you put in the time. You will reach the top, and that’s that. I am not talented, I am obsessed.” –Conor McGregor

Samuel Teich

  • Events/PR: 100-meter, 200-meter
  • Seasons on Team: 4
  • Future Plans: Attend SUNY Purchase; I plan to get a full-time job in the sport or architectural field and get married
  • Pre-Race Snack or Meal: Nature Valley protein bars
  • Favorite Spring Track Memory: Steeplechase at JayFest
  • Advice to Younger Teammates: Make the most out of it. The memories you make on this team will last for an eternity.

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