Cross-country runners Aaron Somoroff and Elizabeth Shanahan understand that all successful athletes have to push themselves. As the two Riverdale teens can attest, this holds especially true when the sport involves training and competing in Van Cortlandt Park, which perhaps has one of the most esthetically sublime but physically challenging courses in the country.
Fortunately for their teammates at the Bronx High School of Science, self-motivation has never been a problem for either Aaron or Elizabeth.
The talents and fortitude of these two young runners helped Bronx Science win the Bronx Championship in all of the PSAL categories this fall, in contests of the highest-ranked categories to the lowest.
“This is a very significant accomplishment and it reflects the hard work the team members put it,” said Ken Miller, who has been the school’s cross-track country coach for about 35 years.
But the path has not been easy for either of these young athletes, and not just because of Van Cortlandt Park’s steep hills.
A structural anomaly in Elizabeth’s leg has worn away much of the cartilage and often makes running unusually painful and challenging.
Aaron’s challenge has been competing against runners whom, he believes, often have more innate talent than him. That is where his discipline and sheer will have come in.
“I had to work to get where I am,” said Aaron.” I know what its like to not be the best guy out there.”
Last Saturday, Aaron finished fifth place in the Public School Athletic League’s Varsity Division championship run in Van Cortlandt Park. He was ranked third in the City going into the race. Three weeks ago, on Oct. 26, he finished first in the PSAL’s Bronx Championship race held in Van Cortlandt Park.
Elizabeth, co-captain of the girls’ team, along with fellow Riverdalian Zoey Katz, finished 11th in the Bronx Championship meet and also competed in the City’s top meet. Self-described as “one of the fastest on the team, but not the fastest,” her teammates and coach say Elizabeth is the inspirational leader of her team.