Seniors Bella Granada and Adam Raffay rose to the level of team captains for the Lenape Valley High School cross country program by way of innate leadership, according Lenape Valley Head Coach Kylie McGlew.
“I actually do not choose captains,’’ Lenape Valley head coach Kylie McGlew said. “I like to see who the natural leaders are and have them emerge on their own. Once this happens I give them more responsibilities. These two have been with the team for four years, so it was only fitting. These two both take AP courses and strive for academic excellence."
Granada and Raffay have each been the schools "Student of the Month" at least once.
“Bella writes out little index cards before each meet with an inspiring quote and a personal note to each athlete," the coach said.
The coach said Adam continually calls out encouragement to fellow runners.
"He also makes sure if an athlete cannot make a practice that they are out doing the workout on their own," said McGlew.
Granada began competitive running at age 15.
“I’ve always loved running and I heard great things about the team here at Lenape, I think that’s what really attracted me to the sport,’’ Granada said. “Some of my strengths as a runner are taking advantage of the down hills and really opening my stride. Another is probably my finish, I love finishing strong with a sprint it makes me feel like I pushed myself from beginning to end."
Her goals include maintaining her pace throughout races.
"I feel like I start strong and stay with the pack ahead but slowly start slowing down and that frustrates me, I would like to be a little more consistent," she said. "Some personal goals for this season are to break 23 and finish in top five in more than one of my races. I would love to see our girls team have a strong record and work hard with the small team we have.’’
The student-athletes feel inspired by McGlew.
“I think each coach that we’ve experienced these past four years have inspired me and made positive changes in me as a runner, but I think the most influential to me has been our coach this year, Kylie McGlew,’’ Granada said. “Not only does she connect with us on a personal level but she also really understands us as runners and is able to help us prove upon our weaknesses and emphasize our strengths.’’
Raffay was a 14 and a freshman when he started to run competitively.
“I always was able to run fast and I wanted to do a sport that could help me get better,’’ Raffay said. “Running is more of a mental sport than it is actually running. My strongest strength as a runner is how mentally I keep with the race. I love cross country, there is barely anything I would change about this sport. My personal goal for this season is to break 19 minutes in a 5K."
He'd also like to see everyone break their own personal record.
"The most positive influence on my cross country career has to be my brother," he said. "He was on my team freshman and sophomore year. He was the number one runner on the team and I've always been chasing his times.’’
The Patriots are scheduled to take part in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championships on Oct. 15 at Morris County Central Park.
“Ciara Mulroy is a junior, but is my top athlete,’’ McGlew said. “She is soft spoken, but works extremely hard and the other athletes see this. We are a small group, but they are fighters. They all want to succeed for their teammates.’’