West Milford Cross-Country: Battling COVID


Team Captain Kevin Bramley stands beside a WM cross-country sign he made for a scout project, as well as the program (Courtesy of Julie Bramley via Twitter)

JD Jones, Arts & Entertainment

Restrictions from COVID-19 have affected many sports at West Milford High School, including Boys Cross Country. The team has had to follow numerous regulations since July in order to continue practicing in a season that has had drastic changes. The amount of meets this year was lower than the previous one, and many teams have had to drop out of certain events with West Milford due to the virus. In addition, the amount of runners that can run at away meets and invitationals has been limited to 12-14 runners, as opposed to the whole team. However, there are still opportunities for which the team to take advantage of. At the head of the team, Coach Joseph Andriulli has aimed to achieve things this year that still reach the heights of years prior.

“One of the biggest changes has been the change to our summer schedule. We were very limited in our availability to hold practices this summer, even missing three weeks due to no-contact periods. That was a big change,” said Coach Andriulli. Team captain Kevin Bramley also noted changes in terms of the courses on which the team runs, “Some of the biggest changes this year are the new course changes at Darlington, which removes the sand. I think that’s a good change because no one likes the sand parts.” This change to the course at Darlington County Park in Mahwah proved to be quite a big factor in the race, as times decreased drastically. Every WM runner in attendance achieved a new personal record (PR).

Despite these changes that some might perceive to be hindrances, Coach Andrulli believes that the team is still going strong. “We have always been a close team,” he said, “so I would not say the restrictions have made us closer. We have developed a deeper appreciation for everyday we are able to run together, though, in light of the current state.” Kevin also considered the better aspects the pandemic had provided: “There have been some positive things from the pandemic. We have been able to get more training in as the season is a month shorter.” The team’s competition has been stiff, but they are taking it in full stride: “All of our competitors are big and excellent. As good as we get, they always match us,” said Coach Andrulli. According to the team captains, West Milford’s biggest competitors are their usual ones: Lakeland, PV, Fair Lawn, PCTI, and Wayne Hills.

While only taking third place in Division Championships this year and fifth place in a varsity meet yesterday, the team has done well individually, and considering that they have been battling many injuries, their performances were still satisfactory. The team still has a lot to look forward to, as the season is far from over. On Wednesday, November 4, the JV and freshman teams ran the Doc Braver invitational at Garret Mountain.  The JV girls took first place while the JV boys fourth. The Varsity team has State Sectionals coming up at Garret Mountain on November 14th at 9:00 A.M. Family is allowed to attend, but must sign a travel waiver to do so. Masks and social distancing are required.