By S. Quinn DeJoy and J. Murrer
Oct. 31, 2018: Runners from forty-two schools across Westchester County competed in the cross country championships last Saturday at Croton Point Park. On the relatively flat course, which at times runs along the Hudson River, Bronxville's Alex and Matt Rizzo found their stride. Alex won his first Westchester County title, and Matt was close behind in second place.
The course at Croton Point Park is much flatter than a lot of the local courses, so fast times are expected. Alex finished in 15:27.8, and Matt finished seconds later with a time of 15:32.6.
"It was a great race," said Alex. "I PRed by 50 seconds."
Alex and Matt Rizzo finish 1 and 2 at counties. Photo by Charlotte Rizzo.
The twin brothers have been challenging each other all season. For most of the big invitational races this fall, they have finished in first or second place, sometimes with Alex winning, and other times Matt would cross the finish line first.
"We are definitely super competitive with each other and have been since we were little. It hasn't really changed much," noted Matt. "We know that no matter what, the other one will be there at the end of the race. "
The Rizzo brothers started running together when they were young and have competed against each other all through high school. When asked who is the more competitive runner, Alex gave a thoughtful response.
"Competitive is a funny word," said Alex. "To me, it is more than that. I really want to win, but it's also that I love to run. It bothers me if I am running slower since I want to get better with each race."
Matt listened to his brother's response and his next comment was short and sweet. "I just like to win," he said.
When pressed for more information, Matt replied, "I would say one thing. I am competitive with Alex but also competitive with everyone. But it is not like football where you have heated rivalries. We all have mutual respect. When we are done, we are all high fiving."
Alex will be continuing his running career at the United States Naval Academy next fall. Matt will also be running in college but is not yet certain where he is going to be. After spending years together in a small school in a small village, there is good news about the boys going their separate ways.
"It will be nice to go anywhere where my name won't get mixed up," quipped Matt.
The Bronxville brothers will be competing at the Section 1 Championships on Saturday at Bowdoin Park, and the results of that meet will determine who qualifies for states. Both boys qualified last year and had strong finishes, with Alex placing second and Matt placing fifth. The New York State Championships will be held on Long Island at Sunken Meadow State Park on November 10.
Bronxville runners warm up along the Hudson River at the county championships. Photo by Charlotte Rizzo.
Girls' Cross Country
Teams from 25 different schools competed in the Westchester County Championships, and the Bronxville girls' varsity team placed second behind a strong John Jay-Cross River team. Five Broncos set a personal record: Natalie Weiner (5th, 18:59), Emma Mandanas (16th, 19:32), Patty Haggerty (19th, 19:40), Molly Palma (22nd, 19:54), and Avery Widen (33rd, 20:12).
The girls’ varsity team finished second at counties. Photo contributed by Jim Mitchell.
The junior varsity team won the county championship, and eighth-grader Anna Outcalt crossed the finish line in 20:44, becoming the JV county champion. Also scoring in the JV race were Betsy Marshall (4th, 21:17), Sophia Sulimirski (5th, 21:28), Ruby Howell (6th, 21:46), and Rory Denning (10th, 22:21).
Playoff season continues for the girls with the Section 1 Championship on November 3. The Class C Broncos have won the Class C sectional title for over 20 consecutive years. The state meet will be held on November 10 at Sunken Meadow State Park. Last year at states the Bronco girls' varsity team placed third.
Pictured at top: The Rizzo brothers front and center at Westchester County Championships.
Photo by Charlotte Rizzo