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Diligent Training Over Summer Months Paying Off for PHS Boys' Cross Country

By Bill Alden

When Princeton High boys' cross country coach John Woodside puts together the annual summer training regimen for his athletes, he knows it is an inexact science.

"We always meet in the first part of June and talk about the summertime program," said Woodside. "I tailor it based on the age, skill level, and how much the guys are into it."

Once the school year started, it didn't take long for Woodside to realize that his runners hadn't let the 90 degree temperatures this summer keep them from hitting the road.

"The guys really took it to heart," asserted Woodside, who is in his fifth year guiding the Tiger boys' cross country program. "The summertime preparation was better than any we've ever had. The guys are stronger, more competitive, and better able to do the hard workouts they need to do in order to run better times."

Fortified by the work over the summer, PHS has gotten off to a strong start, going 7-1 in dual meets so far this season.

At the front of the pack for PHS has been a solid top three of Christophe Dorsey, Jeff Wray, and Dan Cavallaro. Last Thursday, the Little Tigers edged WW/P-N 26-29 and cruised past Ewing 15-50 in a tri-meet held at Mercer County Park. Dorsey was the No. three finisher overall, covering the 3.1 mile course in 16:33 while Wray was fourth and Cavallaro fifth in an identical time of 16:42.

"Christophe is a different runner this year," said Woodside, referring to his senior star. "He's strong, confident and he's a leader. Dan has continued to make progress. Jeff hurt his hamstring. He is able to run in meets but he can't do all the training."

PHS also has developed some good depth in Nick Oehlberg, Jesse Mostoller, Eric Smith, and Matt Grosshans. "Nick is just a little behind the top three," added Woodside, referring to Oehlberg who took sixth in the meet last Thursday with a time of 16:54. "Nick is coming on. Jesse is solid and Matt ran on the varsity last year. Eric ran JV last year and he has made big strides."

With the Mercer County Championship and the state meets on the horizon, Woodside believes PHS can make its presence felt in the big meets.

"This is the best team I've ever had in terms of overall attitude, times, and the way they approach things," maintained Woodside, who will compete in a tri-meet with Hopewell and Allentown on October 18 at Mercer County Park.

"They have a great mental attitude. They push each other and they aren't afraid to run hard and compete. The key is how much we can improve from his point and the end of the season."

If PHS runners can build on the improvement they made this summer, they could produce a fall to remember.

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