posted 2012-09-21 19:05:13

Cross Country Team Looks for Third Straight CUNYAC Sweep

Cross country team is in it to win it    

Stephie-Anne Duliepre

Contributing Writer
For the Hunter Cross Country team, returning to school this fall not only means books, papers and long hours of study, it also means another opportunity to shine within the CUNY Athletic Conference. For two years in a row, the women’s team has dominated CUNYAC competition, and for three years in a row, the men’s team has done the same.

2011 Cross Country Champion Jacklyn Henderson graduated last year after beautifully ending her Hunter career. And this year, with Henderson gone, very high hopes have been placed on senior Lizzy Mahoney. Last year, Mahoney placed 57th at the NCAA Regional Championship with a time of 23:55.6 in the 6k event. Mahoney’s teammates, senior Shantel Peters and junior Stephie-Anne Duliepre, who both made the CUNYAC All-Star list last year, will also be expected to follow Mahoney in their quest for another CUNYAC title. Sophomore Mary Leong and senior Alyssa Locnikar are returning from last year’s Track and Field team and are expected to be making a name for themselves during the 2012 Cross Country season.
Among the men, many return to try and snatch a fourth consecutive CUNYAC title. Although a few of the top runners, such as Christopher Guerrero and Jose Miranda, are no longer on the team, returning runners like junior Richard Barbecho, sophomores Youseph Anwar, Manish Chaudhari, Justin Lee, Christian Rojas and Hunter Lackowitz, and senior Jamal Britton, are all determined to maintain their position as CUNYAC champions. “We’re definitely looking forward to winning it again. We have high expectations and hopefully we can exceed those expectations,” says Anwar. Both Justin Lee and Christian Rojas made it to the 2011 NCAA Regional Championships.

There is a great deal of fresh talent on both the men’s and women’s teams this year. “The team is very focused compared to my high school team. I like it. Everyone’s older and faster so they can share their knowledge with me so that I can improve,” says Diego Buen, a freshman on the team who looks forward to his future as a student-athlete.
The glue that holds both teams together is Coach Ed Zarowin, or as he’s more commonly known, “Coach Z”. “My thoughts are neither good,bad, nor indifferent, but my overall gist of this season is that it will be a good one,” says Zarowin. Embarking on his remarkable 29th year as head coach of the cross country teams, Coach Z is a true Hunter dynasty. Zarowin, who has one of the longest tenures as a coach in Hunter athletics history, has coached more than 160 teams. He has guided his student-athletes to extraordinary heights: 3 NCAA Division III Championships, 23 All-Americans, and 44 CUNYAC Championships. A 33-time CUNYAC Coach of the Year, Zarowin has led the Cross Country teams to 14 men’s and 11 women’s championships, while also guiding 25 individual champions, including current runners Lizzy Mahoney and Christopher Guerrero. When asked what his thoughts were about so many great achievements, Zarowin says, “I’ve been fortunate all these years, both at Brooklyn Tech and for my many years here at Hunter to be working with intelligent young people. That aspect is more than half of what is required from potential athletes.”
The 2012 cross country season is already well on its way and the Hawks are scheduled to race at Purchase College on Saturday, September 8th. Considering their long history of dominance, and the large crop of young talent the Hawks bring to the table again this year, the 2012 season, for both the men and the women, looks to be a promising one. Everyone looks forward to an extraordinary season, and we all look forward to celebrating Coach Z again next year, when he will enter his 30th year as head coach.