Bronx Science gunning for PSAL's best

(File photo taken by Tim Fulton)


The Bronx, N.Y.- Adam Yohanan burned.

The Bronx Science senior had just pulled sophomore teammate Pier Berkmans through a commanding 1-2 finish at the PSAL Group Run at Van Cortlandt Park Saturday. Now, he had something to say.

“The PSAL (team) cross country poll that ranked us number five in the city, that’s a slap in the face,” said Yohanan. “A straight slap in the face.”

As the lone returning senior from a team that finished second at the PSAL City Championships last fall, Yohanan feels a special responsibility toward his younger teammates. As he was guided by runners like Aaron Somoroff before him, Yohanan’s impulse- no, mission- is to lead.

“I remember so vividly laying on the grass here after we’d lost,” said Yohanan, standing 30 yards from the finish line. “I promised myself, I promised my team, that it wouldn’t happen again. Second place is not an option.”

Science’s rise up the city’s distance-running ranks has been swift. Two years ago, when Yohanan was a sophomore, the team punched through with a third-place finish at Cities. Last season brought a second-place finish and its first appearance at the State Federation Cross Country championships.

According to Science coach Cesar Gracia, the formula hasn’t changed; the runners have.

“We’ve always had hard-working kids,” said Gracia, in his 16th season. “The difference between then and now is these kids are faster than I’ve ever had before.”

It started with runners like Somoroff, now a freshman at Boston University. Yohanan believes that continuity is crucial to a team’s success.

“You have to have someone to look up to,” said Yohanan.

Science has runners like Berkmans, the PSAL’s top freshman in cross country a year ago, to carry on the tradition. And though it’s only September- preseason by New York’s cross country calendar- Yohanan’s fire suggests that of a team that will be around late.

“We think we’re number one,” said Yohanan. “It’s as simple as that.”