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Boys’ Cross Country History

August 26, 2015
1945 | The team that started it all

1945 | The team that started it all

During the fall season, we will be profiling the history of each of our athletic programs and there is no better place to begin than with the most successful team in the history of Stony Brook Athletics: the boys’ cross country program. Over the decades, the Blue and White has built one of the greatest traditions in the history of Long Island running.

Over the years the Brook has been blessed with a legion of incredible runners, but the remarkable consistency of its coaches is perhaps the primary reason why the team has enjoyed such immense success. In 70 years of Stony Brook cross country, only three men have been at the helm. The legendary Marvin W. Goldberg, the patriarch of the program, used rigid training and meticulous planning to win an unprecedented 28 Ivy League Championships, including 15 consecutively from 1955-1969. In 1981, he passed the torch on to Robin Lingle, his former star runner, who maintained the winning standard. In his first five years, Lingle’s teams turned in a record of 32-3 with four League Championships and two County Championships. When Lingle passed away in the spring of 2007, the program was left to Jake Morley, who safeguarded the flame first ignited by Goldberg in 1945. Morley’s first three teams earned County Championships alongside a cumulative record of 14-3. Morley continues to lead the team and has become a legend in his own right.

Though Stony Brook’s runners have filled the cases with trophies and the walls with banners and plaques, the program has always been about more than the sum of its victories. A.E. Housman, in his poem “To an Athlete Dying Young,” writes about a great runner’s untimely death. In the third stanza he writes,

And early though the laurel grows,

It withers quicker than the rose.

Housman partially echoes the Apostle Paul when he wrote to the church at Corinth, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (9:24-25). The three men that have led hundreds of boys through thousands of workouts knew that the wreath they were guiding their runners to attain was ultimately a perishable prize. Wreaths wither, medals tarnish, banners fade, but while coaching their boys, Goldberg, Lingle, and Morley have always pointed them to the prize that does not wither, tarnish, or fade in their godly examples and the deep love they have had for their runners. Therein lies the true success and most important legacy of Stony Brook Cross Country.

For a PDF with a detailed look at season-by-season records, lists of team championships, and individual honors click here.


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