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Wings on Their Heels: The Story of Our Cross Country Dynasty

August 12, 2010

1945 | The school’s 1st cross country team

[Updated July, 2014]

Stony Brook’s boys cross country tradition is unlike any other on Long Island.  Boasting 14 County Championships and 35 League Championships, including 15 in a row from 1955-1969, our running squads, as unending as rows of shark teeth, have yearly been among the best of the best.

 

Marvin Goldberg’s yearbook picture from 1945

Before Marvin W. Goldberg’s arrival on campus, football was the only option during the fall season.  That changed in the autumn of 1945, the year that saw the genesis for one of the greatest running dynasties in New York.  Goldberg arrived at Stony Brook after coaching for Center Moriches High School from 1938-1943 and Westbury High School from 1944-1945 and was eager to launch a program for the Blue and White.  The inaugural team, led by Bruce Dodd and Joe Holland, went through its growing pains but as Res Gestae 1946 pointed out, “although losing all their meets the Stony runners put up a stiff fight.  The team can be commended on their showing in this first year.” The 1946 team was the first to compete at the varsity level and ran to a surprising record against established programs such as Sayville, Westbury, and Port Jefferson.  Led by captain Jerry Ham the team finished undefeated  at 7-0 despite their inexperience.  In 1947 the success continued as the harriers opened the season with wins over Smithtown, Kings Park, Farmingdale and Roslyn. In the following two meets Bruce Dodd and Bud Dorman continued to lead the way as the Blue and White defeated Westbury and Poly Prep by perfect scores of 15-40 (low score wins).  With a second straight unblemished season hanging in the balance the Brook ran against Trinity and despite yielding the first two places to Trinity runners, the Blue and White showed their depth by defeating their opponents 27-28 to finish 7-0 on the season.  1948 saw the Brookers turn in a 3rd consecutive undefeated season.  With victories over Poly Prep, Farmingdale, Roslyn, Hicksville, LaSalle Academy, Trinity and Westbury Stony Brook finished 7-0 to remain unbeaten in their varsity history at 21-0.  As Dorman, Dodd and Ron Hill surged over hills and through woods, the Blue and White were barely tested during the year with their closest victory coming by 13 points.

Coach Goldberg’s cross country squad again showed its heels to its opponents in dual meets this fall.

~ December 1948 Stony Brook Bulletin

The 1949 harriers carried the torch by finishing 5-0 with victories over Poly Prep, Farmingdale, Westbury, Baldwin and Trinity.  The ’49 squad, paced by captain Hill and Charles Cowan, also brought home the school’s first Ivy League Championship by defeating Trinity and Poly Prep.

The 1949 squad won the 1st of 21 Ivy League Championships in just 24 years

1950 | Coach Goldberg prays before a race, a tradition that continues to this day.

For most schools a 5-1 season accompanied by a championship would not be considered a disappointing year, but after 4 straight undefeated seasons anything but perfection was below the standards of the 1950 Blue and White crew.  The Brook began preparing for the season on the last night of the 1949 school year when Coach Goldberg invited the team over to his house for desert and a discussion about the fall.  Goldberg laid out a strict training regimen for the summer months which paid dividends as the harriers reeled off victories over Poly Prep, Farmingdale and Horace Mann to begin the year, despite the absence of the irreplaceable Cowan who underwent surgery over the summer.  In the following meet Stony Brook’s string of 29 consecutive victories was snapped by Riverhead by a score of 23-34.  The Blue Waves, who only a few weeks later would go on to win the Long Island Class A Championship, became the first team to defeat the Brook in their cross country history.  Far from dejected, the Blue and White scored victories over Westbury and Trinity and won the Class C section of the Athletic Association of Private Schools (AAPS) Championship.  Everett Harrison helped raise the banner that had dipped a bit in the wake of Cowan’s injury.  By 1951 the reputation of Stony Brook runners was growing rapidly.  The Blue and White finished with a  5-2 campaign and won their 3rd straight Ivy League Championship with 21 points over Poly Prep (51 points), Horace Mann (75) and Trinity (75) as Jim Osuna became the first in a long line of individual Ivy League Champions.

 

1952 | Coach Goldberg advises captain Jim Osuna

1952 began inauspiciously as the harriers dropped their first 3 meets, a number equal to their total losses over the past 6 seasons, to rival Poly Prep, Riverhead and South Hampton.  As the team frantically sought to replace the graduated #2 and #3 runners from the previous year’s squad, seniors Andy Carlson and Sam Wang rose to the occasion to help right the ship.  Three consecutive victories followed over Westbury, Horace Mann and LaSalle Military Academy to even the team’s record going into the Ivy League Championship.  With revenge over Poly Prep on their minds the Blue and White ran their best race of the year and as Res Gestae 1953 aptly noted: “The team brought home the bacon!”  For the second straight year “Slim Jim” Osuna distinguished himself as the individual Ivy League Champion in leading his team to a 4th straight crown.  The following week Osuna ended his Stony Brook career by obliterating the home course record by 17 seconds in the team’s 18-37 victory over Trinity as the squad finished the season 4-3.  In 1953 “coach Goldberg worked with what he said was the best cross-country team he has ever coached at Stony Brook.  Every runner from the first day of practice till the last had great spirit which helped produce a winning team” (Res Gestae 1954).  The ’53 harriers had quite a burden on their shoulders.  Their predecessors had an overall meet record of 40-6 and had won the last four Ivy League Championships.  It was up to captains Bart Cleveland and Gordon Scott to lead the men over hill and dale.  After dropping the first two meets to Poly Prep and Riverhead, the team responded with impressive triumphs over Horace Mann and Trinity.  Then came the Ivy League Championship at famed Van Cortlandt Park.  On a cold Saturday afternoon, whipped by rain and snow, the Brookers lost the Ivy League for the first time in their history to a strong Poly Prep squad, tying for 2nd with Horace Mann.  The boys rounded out the season with a victory over Southampton to finish 3-2, continuing the unbroken streak of winning seasons.  Though the season did not produce any hardware for the increasingly crowded trophy case, it was far from a disappointment.  “Although all of the races were not Stony Brook victories physically, every race was a victory spiritually” (Res Gestae 1954).  The 1954 team faced a great deal of opposition, returning only one letterman.  “Both the squad and the coach face a season in which a great deal of work will have to be done” (October 1954 Stony Brook Bulletin).  Despite the dismal outlook the team outperformed everyone’s expectations.  After dropping the first meet 29-26 to Poly Prep, the Brook reeled off five wins over Horace Mann, thought to be the strongest team in the league, Center Moriches, Shelter Island, LaSalle and Trinity.  Sadly these were the last victories of the season for the boys, finishing 3rd in the Ivy League Championship and dropping the finale to Riverhead.  Coach Goldberg could not have known it at the time, but the disappointment of ’54 would be tempered by the fact that Stony Brook would not end another season without a championship for the next 15 years.

1955 | Dick Sprague

The 1955 Blue and White team ushered in an unprecedented era in cross country.  Under the charge of captain Larry Goodman and Dick Sprague the team began the season against Poly Prep, whom the Brookers had not vanquished in the past two seasons.  The streak was broken as the harriers christened their new home course with a resounding 18-45 triumph.  Four more victories followed over Horace Mann, Bayport (the eventual Class B County Champions), Hackley and Riverhead (the eventual Class A County Champions) as the team ended the regular season with a 5th undefeated season in the first 10 years of Stony Brook cross country.  In the Ivy League Championship the starting seven restored the luster to Stony Brook’s reputation as they ran the soggy course victoriously.  Sprague, Goodman and Carl Krupp earned individual medals by finishing 2nd, 3rd and 5th respectively.  The dominance continued in 1956 as the Blue and White ran roughshod over their competition with sweeps over Ivy League foes Poly Prep, St. Paul’s and Hackley.  They finished the dual meet season 6-1 with their lone blemish coming at the hands of the West Point Plebes.  On November 3rd the boys charged to a 2nd straight Ivy Title in dominant fashion: Stony Brook 24 1/2; Horace Mann 43 1/2; Hackley 66; Poly Prep 108; St. Paul’s 150.  Sprague’s reprisal over Horace Mann’s John Ronveaux, who had defeated him last season, was the highlight of the day.  The Brooker champion covered the 2.5 miles in 14:02.5 which earned him and the Blue and White a nod in the next day’s New York Times:

STONY BROOK SETS PACE; Takes Cross-Country Title in Ivy Prep League

Richard Sprague paced Stony Brook to the team title yesterday in the seventh annual Ivy Prep School League cross-country championships at Van Cortlandt.

After one of the finest seasons in Stony Brook’s cross country history, it seemed unlikely that the 1957 crew, led by a lone senior in captain Freeman Barnes, could match those exploits.  In the end the young harriers did not match them. They surmounted them.  The season began with a sweep of the rivals from Brooklyn on “Beat Poly!” Day and in the following weeks resounding victories over the NYU and Adelphi College freshman teams gave the team a 3-0 record heading into the Ivy League Championship.  The script remained unchanged for Stony Brook’s foes as the Brookers ran away with a 3rd straight Ivy Title.  In the most dominant performance ever seen in the race, Stony Brook swept the championship as Tonnie Coane took first followed in quick succession by Barnes, Robin Lingle, Ray Searby and Lee Reineke.  Two more victories followed as Horace Mann and Columbia University’s freshmen were felled.  The lone blemish on the year was again dealt by the West Point Plebes, one of the strongest teams in the east.  Hackley was vanquished in the final meet of the year to give the team a gratifying 6-1 record.

STONY BROOK WINS IVY HARRIER TITLE; L.I. School Sweeps First 5

Sweeping the first five places, Stony Brook gained its third straight Ivy League cross-country championship yesterday at Van Cortland Park in the Bronx.

~ New York Times article from November 10, 1957

1957 | A familiar sight for Stony Brook’s foes. Lingle (left) and Coane lead the way.

In 1958 the visionary Coach Goldberg spilt his squad into two teams which he called the “Challengers” and the “Defenders.”  The Challengers raced against college teams and participated in large invitationals while the Defenders safeguarded our position in the Ivy League.  The Challengers finished 5-1 with victories over Huntington, Long Island Agricultural College, Columbia, Huntington (again), and Seton Hall.  The only loss was perpetrated by the West Point Plebes.  They also fared well in several distinguished invitationals finishing 10th in the NYU Open, 5th in the St. John’s Open and 5th in the Eastern States Championship where Lingle took 2nd overall.  In the final race of the year the boys retained the Ivy League Championship, their 4th consecutive and 9th overall.  Meanwhile, the Defenders did not allow the reputation of the Blue and White to tarnish despite losing the services of the best runners to the Challenger team.  The Defenders finished 4-1 allowing only LaSalle out of their grasp.

1958 | The Challengers: William Weller, Thomas Hunter, Hugh McCallum, captain Tonnie Coane, Robin Lingle, Ray Searby, Peter Barmonde

 

1959 | Coach Goldberg congratulates Lingle after winning the Eastern States Championship

In 1959 the team finished 2-2 and retained their 5th straight Ivy League Title, but it was the running of captain Robin Lingle that garnered the most attention.  In Lingle’s senior year he ended his Hall of Fame career by finishing undefeated on the season and winning the prestigious Eastern States Championship and the Ivy League Championship on the same day. He would later outpace everyone in a dual meet loss to the West Point Plebes.  Res Gestae 1960 quantified Lingle’s peerless career: “While the team was excellent, its captain Robin Lingle, was outstanding, and is at present considered the best high school cross country runner in the East.”

STONY BROOK ACE WINS IN FAST TIME

Robin Lingle, 17-year-old Stony Brook School senior, chopped off almost nineteen seconds from his winning time of last week when he triumphed in 13:07.7 yesterday in the ninth annual St. John’s University interscholastic cross-country meet at Van Cortlandt Park.

~ New York Times article on Robin Lingle after he won the St. John’s Open Invitational on October 17, 1959.

1960 brought more mementos for the trophy case.  The team finished the dual meet season 2-2, with their only two losses leveled by the freshman teams from Syracuse University and West Point.  Yet another Ivy League Championship was claimed by the Blue and White as Bill Kennedy outpaced all other runners.  The 1961 team “was considered one of the strongest squads Stony Brook has ever produced” (Res Gestae 1962).  Led by captain Kennedy, Tom Ott and the latest of the Brook’s Ivy League Champions, John Kirchmeier, the team hustled to a 3-2 record, falling only to college freshman teams from Long Island Agricultural and West Point while securing a 7th straight Ivy League Title.  Additionally, they finished 9th out of 50 teams, including colleges, in the NYU Open.

1962 | The boys finish hand-in-hand as they sweep the Long Island Aggies at home

While the ’61 harriers enjoyed a memorable season, they may have been outdone by their 1962 counterparts who began the season with three consecutive sweeps over Seton Hall, Long Island Agricultural and St. Anthony’s.  In the St. John’s Invitational they finished 5th out of 45 teams before dominating their next three dual meets against LaSalle, Poly Prep and Horace Mann.  They ended their meet season with their only two losses of the year, against the West Point and Cornell University freshmen, to conclude at 6-2.  In the Ivy League Championship the Blue and White, paced by winning sophomore Pete Randall, who set a new course record, grabbed an 8th consecutive title.  The reputation of Stony Brook runners had been firmly established, but remarkably, the 1963 team would raise it even higher.  They began the season with four straight victories over collegiate opponents New York Military Academy, Seton Hall, NY Agricultural and Suffolk Community, the narrowest victory coming by 25 points.  Two impressive showings followed as the harriers took 2nd in the NYU Invite and 1st in the St. John’s Open.  A victory over LaSalle, a 3rd place finish at the Eastern States Championship and a win over Poly Prep brought the team to West Point.  In the previous eight seasons the Brook had never defeated the Academy in cross country, but this time would be different. Stony Brook’s Bob Sieber led the way as Army fell on its home course 23-34.  The exceptional season culminated with Randall’s 2nd and the team’s 9th Ivy Title, a win over the Columbia freshmen and a 3rd place finish at the Ossining Invitational, which pitted the six best teams in New York against each other, with Randall ending a stellar campaign as the victor.

1964 | Randall (left) and Ogden tie for 1st in the St. John’s Invite

Hopes were high for the 1964 squad with seniors and future Stony Brook Hall of Famers Glenn Ogden and Randall helping to lead a veteran bunch.  What ensued was the finest cross country season to that point in the school’s distinguished history.  The boys began the season with a 1st place finish at the Schenectady Invite.  The next weekend in the NYU Interscholastic Championship the Blue and White took 1st as Randall “took to the hills at Van Cortlandt as no other schoolboy ever has” (December 1964 Stony Brook Bulletin), breaking the 2 1/2 mile course record by 7 seconds in 12:52.  Ogden was right on his heels in 13:00, narrowly missing the previous course record himself.  A team victory in the St. John’s Invite followed as Randall and Ogden smashed the competition, finishing in an intentional tie for 1st due to the inclement weather.  The victory placed the Brook among the top 5 teams in America, a first for the program.  Randall again showed his might in the Eastern States Championship, besting the Van Cortlandt course record for the 2nd time on the season in 12:42.2 while joining Robin Lingle ’60 as the 2nd Brooker to win the esteemed race.  A week later the harriers prevailed by a single point in a triangular meet against West Point and Cornell.  In taking down the troops for the 2nd straight year the Brook ruined an otherwise unblemished record for the Academy.  One of the most powerful teams in the nation made it 10 Ivy League Championships in a row as Randall again demolished Van Cortlandt’s record in 12:36.5 to become Stony Brook’s only 3-time champion in the meet.  The team crowned the season with a 2nd place finish in the Ossining Invite as Randall closed a marvelous career with yet another victory.

RANDALL SETS MARK IN PREP SCHOOL RUN

Peter Randall of Stony Brook School set a new course record while winning the Ivy Prep School League cross-country championships yesterday at Van Courtlandt.

~ New York Times article from November 13, 1964

 

1965 | Dan Stevens outclasses the competition at the Ossining Invite

1965 brought more victories despite the fact that only two contributing members of the ’64 squad had returned.  “After last year’s streak of successes it seemed unlikely that this year’s Stony Brook cross country team would approach that degree of accomplishment” (December 1965 Stony Brook Bulletin).  However, the ’65 harriers lived up to the Stony Brook name.  The lone loss of the season came in the first meet against Princeton’s freshman team.  Meet victories over Seton Hall’s freshmen, previously unbeaten Patchogue, a 3rd straight victory over West Point, the Hill School, and St. Anthony’s gave the team a 5-1 record, but it was in the invitationals that the Brook showed its exemplary caliber.  They finished 2nd out of 27 teams in the NYU Invite, 2nd out of 24 in the St. John’s Invite, 4th out of 80 in the Eastern States Championship, 1st out of 7 in the Eastern Military Academy Invite, 3rd out of 8 in the acclaimed Ossining Invite and won their 11th straight Ivy League Title.  Individual performances abounded as well.  Chris Spencer won the Ivy Title in 13:13 and the Eastern Military Invite in record-fashion, smashing the previous time by 40 seconds as he took down the previous record holder, Eamon Downey of Seton Hall High School.  In perhaps the finest performance of the year, Dan Stevens became Stony Brook’s 3rd straight winner of the Ossining Invite, covering the 2 1/2 mile course in 12:50 just in front of Spencer.

The cross country machine, like Old Man River, just keep rollin’ along.  By this time the statistics for Ivy League competition begin to look like typographical errors.

~ December 1966 Stony Brook Bulletin

After nearly two decades of dominance it seemed as though there was nothing left for the 1966 squad to conquer, but the boys had the Ossining Invitational in their sights, one of the few meets they had never won.  Great potential shone in the Brookers’ dual meet season as they took down Syosset, Red Bank Catholic, the Hill School and the West Point Plebes for the 4th straight year.  An undefeated season was spoiled by Princeton’s freshmen, but the team still secured a respectable 4-1 record.  Once again the team saved its most magnificent performances for the most meaningful races.  Victories were had at the Eastern Military Academy Invite and the St. John’s Invite with Stevens taking home top honors in both.  The boys then won a 12th consecutive Ivy Title as Stevens bested Horace Mann’s Mike Dwyer for top prize, but the Blue and White were still not satisfied, not out of avarice but a keen awareness of their abilities.

STEVENS IS FIRST IN CROSS-COUNTRY; Leads Stony Brook to 11th Ivy Title

Dan Stevens of Stony Brook won the individual title as his school continued its domination of the Ivy Prep cross-country championships yesterday at Van Cortlandt Park.

~ New York Times article from November 13, 1966

The season finale at the Dudley Hare Memorial pitted our harriers against eight of the finest teams in New York State including the Public School Champion Ossining High School.  With defending champion Stevens leading the way the Brook knew they had a chance to finally lay claim to this elusive race.  What ensued was perhaps the most exciting and meaningful race in the history of Stony Brook cross country.  The other sixteams were seemingly in another meet as the powerful duo of Stony Brook and Ossining battled over the hills.  Stevens repeated as the champion in 12:48.4, but Ossining placed men in 3rd and 5th.  The surge continued as Stony Brook’s Mike Wildeman and Roy Redmond finished 7th and 8th respectively, Ossining took 9th and 10th, SB’s John Crozier 11th and John Stondell 12th, and Ossining 13th.  After the  final numbers had been totaled it was Stony Brook who finally emerged the victors, 39-40, in a remarkable afternoon.

Nobody likes to lose.  Especially when winning has become a habit.  And winning in cross country has been more than a habit at Stony Brook.  It’s been a way of life.

That’s why, whenever the 1967 varsity took to the starting line, they wore the look of burdened men because they knew they carried a torch passed down to them from Osuna to Goodman to Sprague to Coane to Lingle to Kennedy to Kirchmeier to Randall to Ogden to Spencer to Stevens.  In their hands the torch wobbled a bit, but it did not fall.

~ December 1967 Stony Brook Bulletin

12 consecutive Ivy League titles would be a heavy yoke for any team, but the 1967 squad prevailed against the burdensome expectations.  They finished 6-6 in their dual meet season including victories over Hackley, St. Paul’s, Choate Academy, Cheshire Academy, Horace Mann by a point, and a sweep of the SUNY Stony Brook freshmen.  In their biggest races of the year the team emerged victorious again in the Ivy Championship and finished 4th in the Ossining Invitational.

DWYER, STONY BROOK WIN HARRIER HONORS

Mike Dwyer of Horace Mann and Stony Brook School captured the individual and team laurels in the 18th annual Ivy prep cross-country championships yesterday.

~ New York Times article from November 12, 1967

1968 | Richie Shay

During the 1967 spring season the Blue and White track team had failed to win its 13th consecutive Ivy League Title, something the 1968 harriers were not eager to emulate.  Richie Shay and captain King Hollis were a stout duo up front, but after injuries to co-captain John Dahl and Nels Magnuson, the need for quality boys to fill the remaining five spots was desperately apparent.  As the season began to unfold Nick Mook, freshman S.T. Hsaio and Jim Andrews proved they could be consistently counted on to score. An additional five runners sharpened and challenged each other in practices and meets to round out a very solid team.  The dual meet season commenced with victories over Syosset, Hackley (in near perfect fashion), and Riverhead.  In mid-October the Brook invited two prestigious New England prep schools to run in a triangular meet on the home course.  Choate and Cheshire Academies came to the North Shore of Long Island and did not escape unscathed.  Choate was defeated 27-29 and Cheshire 18-47 as the Brook finished the head-to-head season 5-0, with its most important races still to come.

1968 | Co-captain King Hollis

In the St. John’s Invite Shay handed Denis Fikes of Rice High School his first defeat in two years, running away with the title, while Hollis came across the line in 9th.  The following week Shay was again victorious, this time in the Eastern States Championship, becoming the 3rd Brooker to win the race. Hollis finished in 6th giving both him and Shay national recognition.  These two races proved adequate training grounds for accomplishing the perennial goal: taking home the Ivy League Championship.  On November 9th the Brookers did just that in front of the largest contingent of Stony Brook fans to ever witness a race at Van Cortlandt Park.  The Blue and White made it look effortless as Shay took home the title, Hollis finished in 2nd, Mook 4th, Hsaio 7th and Magnuson 10th for a 24-54-62 victory over Horace Mann and Poly Prep.  In the final contest of the year Shay again showed his mettle by taking individual honors in the Ossining Invitational while Hollis came across in 3rd for a 4th place team showing.

SHAY OF STONY BROOK WINS IVY PREP HARRIER TITLE

Richie Shay of Stony Brook won the Ivy Prep School cross-country title yesterday and led his squad to its 14th consecutive team championship.

~ New York Times article from November 10, 1968

1969 | King Hollis wins the Ivy Title

The 1969 harriers, led by ripened seniors Shay and Hollis, roared to an 8-2 record with triumphs perpetrated against Riverhead, Longwood, Choate Academy, Cheshire Academy, Eastern Military Academy, Horace Mann, NY Military Academy and the Storm King School.  The only two losses came by way of the West Point and Princeton freshmen.  While the team succumbed to defeat against the West Pointers, the performances of two Stony Brook boys won the day.  Shay and Hollis finished 1st and 2nd as they each bested the previous Army course record of 15:46 in 15:35 and 15:39, respectively.  As the last warm days of October gave way to the chilly November winds, Stony Brook took home a 15th consecutive Ivy League Title with Hollis becoming the latest Brooker to win the meet.

STONY BROOK HARRIERS WIN IVY Title 15TH TIME IN ROW

King Hollis paced Stony Brook High School to its 15th consecutive Ivy prep school cross-country title at Van Cortlandt Park yesterday.

~ New York Times article from November 9, 1969

 

1970 | S.T. Hsaio won the ’70 and ’71 Ivy League Titles

1970 witnessed the end of the incredible streak of 15 straight Ivy League Titles.  The team finished their dual meets 6-3 and Hsaio won individual Ivy League honors, but that success was tempered by their loss to Horace Mann in the Championship, a team they had defeated earlier in the season.  The 1971 team had the task of regaining Stony Brook’s place atop the Ivy League and, led by Hsaio, the team realized that dream.  They went 8-2 on the year and narrowly won a reprisal over Horace Mann with Hsaio repeating as the gold medalist.  The December 1971 Stony Brook Bulletin articulated the significance of the ’71 campaign: “Stony Brook is on the verge of reclaiming its position as a power in schoolboy cross country running.  When it happens, those in the know will remember the 1971 season as the turning point.”  These words seemed prophetic as the 1972 season unfolded.  The boys finished 8-0 against the likes of Poly Prep and Choate, where George Worthington ran the 8th fastest time ever on the Academy’s course.  In the Ivy Championship the boys secured the 17th title in the last 18 years as Worthington took 1st and Don Lockerbie 2nd while freshmen Mark Soderstrom and Sean Meagher turned in impressive showings, keeping the Blue and White’s future bright.  This win signaled the end of an era as the Blue and White would leave the Ivy League in the summer of ’73 to compete in the public school league.  The ’72 Ivy League Championship was the 21st and last for the Brook in 24 years of dominance.

The 1972 squad won the 21st and last Ivy League Championship

Stony Brook’s move to Section XI to compete against public schools did not elicit a change in the team’s success.  The 1973 squad showed this time and again, going 8-1 against their unfamiliar opponents on their way to the League VII Title, their 18th league title in 19 years.  The 1974 squad bested the efforts of the ’73 harriers by going 8-0 and winning the League VII Title.  In 1975 the boys went 8-1, captured a 3rd straight League VII Title, the 20th league title in 21 years, and won the team’s 1st County Championship where Mark Whitney, Mark Soderstrom and Brad Bright snatched the first three places.

The 1975 team won the 1st County Championship

 

1976 | County Champ and State Runner-up Mark Whitney

1976 saw the team go 4-1, repeat as League VII Champions and lay claim to the B/C County Championship.  The Whitney brothers enjoyed a meteoric rise as Mark won the County meet and finished 2nd in the New York State Championship while Andy was 3rd at Counties and 18th at States.  As a result, the Whitneys, along with Henry Ho, earned places on the All-Conference team while Bill Hobbs and Jim Hansen garnered All-League recognition.  In 1977 the Blue and White won a 5th straight League VIII Championship with a 3-0 record.  The successful season was punctuated by Mark Whitney’s Class C victory at the New York State Championship, as he covered the 3 mile course in 15:07.  The Whitneys dominated the November day as Andy finished 4th in 15:40.7 and younger sister Laura, only an 8th grader, won the girls Class B title in 18:13.4, her first of four State Titles.  1978 failed to produce a team champion for the 1st time in public school competition (they finished 2nd in the league at 4-1), but there were plenty of individual accolades on which the Stony Brook community could fixate.  Andy Whitney continued the legacy of his brother, winning the Class C State Championship meet by 26 seconds in 15:38, while Laura repeated as the girls Class B Champion in 18:35.  They each fared well in the New York State Federation Championship, finishing in 2nd and 4th respectively.  Andy ended his career as the school’s first All-American in cross country.

Stony Brook sent four runners to the New York State cross country championships at Malone, NY on November 5.  Three of them all live in the same house in Stony Brook.

~ 1977 article from The Village Times

Mark and Laura Whitney, 1977 State Champions, share the cover of the Bulletin

The fate of the 1979 squad seemed tenuous without the presence of a Whitney, but those that remained showed their mettle by going 5-0 and claiming the League VIII Championship.  The success continued in 1980 as the Shrikes once again went 5-0, won another League VIII Title and a 3rd County Title.  1981 marked the end of an era for Stony Brook boys cross country.  For the first time in 36 years the boys would not begin the season with Marvin Goldberg at the helm. The legendary coach moved over to lead the girls team while Robin Lingle began his own coaching legacy.  The team responded well to its new coach, finishing 7-0 for a 3rd straight undefeated season and League VIII Championship.  Additionally, Dan Kercsmar won the individual County Championship.

1983 | Andy Hoffman (left) led the boys to a County Title

In 1982 the boys turned in a 5-1 record as the team won a League VIII Championship and a Class C County Title.  In the County race the Brook finished 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th, 19th and 20th with senior Ray Camano taking the win.  An off-year saw the 1983 Shrikes finish 3-2 but the 1984 team came back with gusto.  They cruised to a 9-0 dual meet record to win the League VIII Championship.  The team championships continued as they won the Conference IV Title and then the Class C County Championship as Andy Hoffman won the race in 16:54.4, one of five Brookers that finished in the top 10.  In the State Championship Hoffman turned in an impressive 7th place finish, running a blazing 15:52.  On the merit of his many accomplishments Hoffman earned a place on the All-County team while teammates Richard Wittman and Paul Roberts earned spots on the All-Conference team.  The winning tradition continued in 1985 as the boys went undefeated for the 4th time in the 80s, giving them the League VII Title.  In the County meet the team ran an impressive 2nd while Marc Conti and Andrew Rowson raced well enough to earn spots in the State Championship, garnering them All-County honors.

1986 | Marc Conti finishes in a familiar position

In 1986 the boys finished 6-1 en route to yet another League VII Championship.  Then, on consecutive weekends in October, the harriers claimed the Conference and County Championships.  Success continued in 1987 as seniors Conti and Justin Dupree led the team to an undefeated League VIII Championship, the Conference crown and a 2nd straight Class C County Title with Conti grabbing 1st place.  The duo led the Brook to a 4th place finish in the State Championship, the boys’ highest finish in 10 years.  All-Conference nods went to Conti, Dupree, Anders Brownworth, and Peter Hurtado while David Setran joined them on the All-League team.  More plaques crowded the trophy case in 1988 as the team went 7-1 with a League VII Championship and a 3rd consecutive County Championship.  1989 was a speed bump in the Stony Brook dynasty as the squad went 5-3; however; seniors Roland Crighton and Chris Gumbrecht each qualified for the state meet.  Injuries plagued the beginning of the 1990 season as three boys were sidelined with various ailments.

1990 | Ryan Pinder (middle) and Christian Pidoux (right) helped win the League Title

Coach Lingle was unsure how his inexperienced team would respond, but the results had to leave him grinning.  Led by Christian Pidoux, running cross country for the 1st time in his life, and brothers Chris and Nathan Shaw, the team thundered to an 8-1 record as they reclaimed the League Championship.  Pidoux earned All-County recognition and finished 25th in the State meet.  Joining him on the All-League team were the Shaws, Benson Eu and Ryan Pinder.  The brothers Shaw and Pinder steered the way in 1991 to an undefeated League Championship at 10-0, aided by sophomores Ben Sholl and David Crighton.  In 1992 a 4-1 record was not enough to snare the League Title, but the Conference and County Titles were had due to the outstanding racing of All-Conference runners Sholl, Chris Shaw, Jamie Hanley and Michael Tesfaye.

2001 | Will Lingle (center)

In 1993 the harriers retained the County Title while the League Championship was regained by the 1994 squad as they tore through their opponents by an average margin of 20 points.  All-League honors went to Luke Conti, Seth Steed, Jonathan Higgs, Andrew Slutsky, Mike Sangirardi and Toby Carlson.  Then, in the Independent School Association Championships the boys turned back the clock and finished 3rd over former Ivy League rivals Hackley, Poly Prep and Trinity.  The ’94 team would be the last to bring home a trophy until the 2006 harriers reclaimed the County Championship after a 13 year drought.  While the team goals faltered during this interim, individual accolades continued to roll in.  In 1998 freshman Will Lingle bested a field of 80 runners in the Van Cortlandt Park Invitational.  Later that season the team placed 2nd in the New York State Private School Championship. In 2001, Lingle’s senior season, he finished runner-up in the county while sophomore Dan Hickey, six weeks removed from an appendectomy, finished 7th for the Bears.

2002 | Hickey running to an 11th place finish in the State Meet

In 2002 Hickey, the captain, came back with vigor after his bought with appendicitis in ’01.  In the Division Championship he ran to a 2nd place finish in 17:40, the fastest time for a Brooker at famed Sunken Meadow State Park since Christian Pidoux’s 17:00 in 1990 and the 7th fastest time for Stony Brook since 1981.  One week later he ran to a 2nd place finish in the County Championship, but he saved his best for the State Meet.  With Sunken Meadow hosting the event a distinct advantage was enjoyed by Hickey and fellow Bear qualifiers Tripp Strawbridge and Joseph Chang as runners from all over the state had to experience “Cardiac Hill” for the first time.  Hickey was in 18th place with half a mile remaining but kicked past seven runners to finish in 11th place, the best performance at States for a Brooker since Andy Hoffman’s 7th place finish in 1984.  In 2003 Hickey was once again runner-up in the County meet, garnered All-County honors for the 2nd year in a row and finished 29th in the State Meet to finish his career.

2007 | County Champion Billy Collins

In recent years the Stony Brook name has once again been associated with winning as the blue and white won the County Championship three years in a row from 2006-2008 under the direction of coach Jake Morley, only the 3rd boys cross country leader in Stony Brook history.  In 2007 the Bears ran away from the competition, besting Shelter Island and Southold 22-42-66 with Billy Collins and Luke Reimer claiming the top two spots in 17:52 and 18:39 respectively. The 2010 squad was plagued by injuries early in the season, yielding had a less than stellar league campaign, resulting in a 1-4 record and a loss to class rival Southold. But as the County Championship rolled around the boys, at their healthiest, attacked the hills of Sunken Meadow with renewed vigor and their sights set squarely on Southold. After the 3.1 mile course had been traversed the Bears and Settlers were deadlocked with a 28-28 score.  In order to determine a champion the officials went to the tiebreak and it was Darryl Baker, Stony Brook’s 6th runner, who placed in front of Southold’s 5th and 6th runners to earn the 13th Suffolk County Title in program history. In 2012 Jacob Brummeler added his name to a distinguished list of County Champions and in 2013 the boys again claimed Coach Morley’s 5th County Title, led by Brummeler and Ayan Mandal.

The 2013 season saw Stony Brook produce its best boys’ cross country team in several years. With a strong core of underclassmen, the team peaked at exactly the right time and achieved an exciting one-point victory at the County Championships. We finished in the top ten at the New York State Championships and anticipate climbing higher next year!

~ Coach Morley on the ’13 season

Since 1945 when Marvin W. Goldberg oversaw the dawn of one of the finest running traditions in New York, the boys in blue and white have consistently been in the upper echelon, the names of whom still conjure up greatness.  Lingle.  Whitney.  Stevens.  Ogden.  Spencer.  Osuna.  Hollis.  Sprague.  Coane.  Kennedy. Randall.  Shay.  Hsaio.  Hoffman.  Conti.

Whose name will be next?

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Michael Hickey permalink
    August 20, 2010 10:44 PM

    Awesome stuff, Dan. Not only well-written, but tremendously gratifying I’m sure, to be a part of a great tradition, especially with Robin’s legacy and heritage having touched you directly.

    Like

  2. September 2, 2010 4:21 PM

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story of all the great Stony Brook cross-country teams. Running and racing is still an important part of my day and life 30+years later.

    Like

  3. Wain Barnes ,SBS 1958, Duke 62, permalink
    April 21, 2011 1:58 AM

    I just came on this article today 4/21/2011.I was captain of xc and track teams at SBS and ran the 440 for Duke where my mile relay was ACC champ beating favored MD.I also lettered in track in law school at Wash- Lee .The 1957 IVY was my last xc race and I lost to Coane by 1 step , and beat a skinny soph named Lingle. I am now 70 and running Masters track hoping for the gold in the sprints in my age group this summer but I will never forget our great teams at SBS and coach Goldberg. Wain Barnes

    Like

    • Anonymous permalink
      January 25, 2013 2:56 PM

      I Imissed the entire 2012 Masters outdoor track season due to skin cancer but training hard in O13 and have run several sprint races winter this and hope to move up to the 400 this spring. I Live in Bowie MD, AGE 72 and run for the Potomac Valley TC, see our web at PVTC.COM–Wain Barnes 58

      Like

    • win barnes permalink
      January 25, 2013 3:01 PM

      NOW 72 and running for Potomac Valley track club- Wain

      Like

  4. James Hanley permalink
    October 26, 2016 12:21 AM

    Thanks for putting this article together! Many great memories have come back to me as my son is starting his running career at 11 yrs old. Having run for Coach Lingle in 92′, I learned so much from him about running and life. A truly great man! Also, having Coach Goldberg come and watch us run was always an honor. So proud to be a part of a great tradition! Jamie Hanley 94′

    Like

    • October 26, 2016 1:35 PM

      Jamie, thanks so much for reading the article! I’m so glad it brought back some great memories. That’s why I put it together. Having also run for Coach Lingle I can attest to the impact he had on me as an athlete and a person. Glad we’re part of the same tradition. Best, Dan Hickey ’04

      Like

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