Captains Profile: Boys Varsity Cross Country

This year, V Form Co-Captains Harrison Abromavage, Chris Crane, and Orlando Doull are leading the Boys Varsity Cross Country team, all of whom have been members of the varsity squad for all four years during their time at Lawrenceville.

This year, V Former Co-captains Harrison Abromavage, Chris Crane, and Orlando Doull are leading the Boys Varsity Cross Country team, all of whom have been members of the varsity squad for all four years during their time at Lawrenceville.

Crane started off his cross country journey at a young age, running five kilometers every weekend with his family. “I’ve always been very skinny and long-distance running [came more] naturally to me than other sports, so in middle school, I took up cross country.” Crane’s commitment to the sport grew over time, seeing his II Form-year teammates on the cross country team as great role models, motivating Crane to work harder. Crane noted the influence cross country has had on him outside of the sporting realm; he learned the importance of working hard in running and was able to translate those valuable skills into his academic habits. Although running is often categorized as an individual sport, the team spirit in cross country grabbed Crane’s attention: “Your fifth runner is just as important, if not more important, than your fastest runner to win a race.”

Doull also started running in middle school, when one of his teachers thought that he would be a good fit for the sport. To Doull, cross country is special as it is “almost a completely level playing field” and hard work leads to faster times more often than not. “The more you put in, the more you get out,” he says, unlike many skill-based ball sports, where performance can wane with just a couple of poor decisions or unlucky bounces.

Unlike his co-captains, Abromavage only started cross country his II Form year at Lawrenceville. After seeing only limited improvement in his swimming career that required “endless dedication to maintain a level of skill,” Abromavage started looking for another sport to pursue––one that would satisfy his background in endurance exercise and that he could improve in across his four years of high school. Despite his relatively late start to the sport, after running for the first couple of weeks of his II Form year, Abromavage felt confident with his decision and decided to continue. Abromavage highlighted the importance of what a runner does post-practice, “whether it be core exercises to improve stability, plyometric work to prevent injury, or rolling out to fully recover.” Both the minor and major improvements motivate Abromavage to work even harder. Abromavage agreed that the intrinsic team element of the sport outweighs the individualized aspect of cross country. “On race days, one runner might win the race, but it’s the team that puts the most runners in the highest positions that ultimately takes the win,” reinforcing the group dynamic requisite for success.

Nevertheless, injuries are inherent in the sporting world, presenting athletes with physical and mental challenges, and cross country is no exception. Doull and Abromavage have both suffered season-ending injuries in their Lawrenceville careers. At the beginning of Abromavage’s IV Form season, minor shin splints quickly evolved into a stress fracture, causing him to miss practices and races towards the end of last year’s term as well as the entire winter track season. “This fall, I’m back and feel more ready than ever,” Abromavage enthused. For Doull, he overworked himself while he was on a 10-mile run in the rain and contracted season-ending pneumonia. “Everyone sacrifices something in this sport, and it is the setbacks that make us strongest,” he reflected. Crane added to this point, concurring that “running is a very demanding sport with a lot of benefits, but a few times, those demands got to be much more than I wished they had.” Nonetheless, all three co-captains preserved through their struggles to lead the team today.

Throughout Crane’s cross country journey so far, his most memorable experience was winning the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) Championship last year. After entering the MAPL competition optimistically in 2018, the team came up short due to sub-par performance, so “[coming] back and [winning] felt great” for Crane.

For Abromavage, he enjoys going on hard runs with the group and “leaning on each other to really push through, and by the end, emerging with a sense of accomplishment unlike any other.” Doull recalls the “gradual climb that [his] journey as a runner has been” and remains thankful for everything cross country has gifted him.

Despite the current restrictions due to Covid-19, the team captains are determined to maintain the team spirit and motivation within the squad. The cross country team will not have much competition in the fall, but Crane noted that in running, “you can’t afford to take a season off,” so the athletes are looking ahead and preparing themselves for the 2021 season. In the upcoming weeks, the captains plan to possibly hold virtual competitions with neighboring schools and have multiple intrasquad meets.

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