North Salem High School boys cross country team captures league title for first time in 44 years


The North Salem High School cross-country team at the Pawling High School league meet on October 13. Photo courtesy of Chris Gould.

The last time the North Salem High School boys cross country team won the league championship, Jimmy Carter was president, the original Star Wars movie debuted in theaters, and gasoline cost around $.70 per gallon.

Seven presidents, innumerable Star Wars movies and nearly half a century later, the boys have reclaimed their title. North Salem’s harriers bested all five teams in their meet at Pawling High School today, capturing the league title and celebrating a victory that has eluded them since 1977. Eight team members also claimed All League honors, awarded to runners who place in the top 10 overall.

“The kids are tremendous. I just can’t say enough about them. This team is special,” said Chris Gould, North Salem High School’s cross country and track coach. Gould added that he began to see glimpses of the team’s potential as far back as last winter, during the winter track season.

North Salem HS boys cross country runners took top honors at today's meet in Pawling. Photo courtesy of Chris Gould.

“Definitely in the spring some of the guys started to blossom,” Gould said. “They put up some really good times in the 2-mile and 1-mile.” By the summer months, the boys were getting together on their own to put in the base training that is so critical to success in the fall season.

Today, the difference in finishing times between North Salem’s 1st and 5th male runners was just one minute and one second. Gould emphasized what an important accomplishment that was, explaining, “that’s a tribute to their training. You train together, you want to run together, too.”

The boys team is led by captain AJ Laqueur. “He’s been leading these fellas since last year,” Gould explained. “He’s our front runner; everybody feeds off of him. It’s incumbent upon him to be where he should be and he always has been. He’s a great kid, and a great captain.”

Gould added that North Salem’s two female runners also outran the competition today, with Bella Fryer placing 4th and Isabella Schembri placing 5th out of a group of over 20 girls.

The team will now set their sights on the championship season. The Section One Coaches Invitational at Bowdoin Park is this Saturday, followed by the Westchester County Championship at Somers the following weekend. The Section One Championships will take place Saturday, November 6 at Bowdoin Park.

NSHS cross country coach Chris Gould attributed the team's success to the training work they put in during the summer months. Photo courtesy of Chris Gould.

North Salem cross country runners who earned All League honors at today’s meet include:

  • Bella Fryer – 4th place girls
  • Isabelle Schembri – 5th place girls
  • AJ Laqueur – 4th place boys
  • Thomas Gautier – 5th place boys
  • Jack Fryer – 7th place boys
  • Helio De Moraes – 8th place boys
  • Jake Greenberg – 9th place boys
  • Connor Quadrini – 10th place boys

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