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Cross Country

Orlins, Minutemen craft another title

Mendham's Madison Orlins nears the finish line during the NJAC Large Schools Girls Race on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Photos By Sandy Seegers Mendham's Madison Orlins nears the finish line during the NJAC Large Schools Girls Race on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020.
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PARSIPPANY _ As a youngster, Madison Orlins was often asked what sports she liked or participated in.

Orlins had the same response every time: Arts and crafts.

It took awhile for Orlins, a Mendham High School junior, to find a physical activity that suited her. She dabbled in club soccer and swimming before settling on track in sixth grade.

Running then became a passion for Orlins, who finished first in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference Girls Large School Cross Country Meet on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at Central Park. Not only did Orlins (18:45.86) take the top spot but teammate Grace Vives garnered second place. Three more runners were in the first 11, helping the Minutemen capture a third consecutive team title.

"It's great," Orlins said of her achievement and the team's success. "I'm glad to have this after all of the training I've put in. We've all worked so hard. We pushed for this. We're all so supportive and kind to one another. We're all close friends. There are no walls. We can talk about anything."

Orlins chose not to go out fast because she feared "burning out." She ran the opening part of the race with Chatham's Lindsey Bresnahan, who took third, pulling away after 1.5 miles. Orlins typically struggles at 2.5 miles, a long stretch of woods, but that wasn't the case this time.

"I felt good at that point," Orlins said. "It's dark, cold and uphill there. I sometimes feel it. Today, I didn't."

Of course, to lead the pack was gratifying. Orlins recalled her early days of running and noted that she'd "always be so winded and come back last from the easiest runs."

Those days are behind the 17-year-old Orlins, who also continues to excel at arts and crafts, engaging in painting, especially acrylics, ceramics, sewing and embroidery. Her maternal grandmother, Joan, taught her how to sew. She made all of her dresses for school dances and, while under quarantine, she stitched three skirts.

Mendham coach Rob Kertesz believes that Orlins' other interests and talents keep her on an even keel.

"Madison put in a great effort," Kertesz said. "She takes running very seriously and loves it. Doing other things, like Madison does, is important. Some runners are so consumed with it that they do it all the time. That's usually not the best approach."

She credited her father, Jordan, a runner during his high school days in Florida, for encouraging her all season and stepping it up as the NJAC Large Schools Meet drew nearer.

"My dad was so annoying," the younger Orlins said in a light-hearted way. "He'd barge into my room and say 'Don't you want to be conference champ?' then tell me 'You'll be it this time.' He said it like it would happen and it made me want it more."

Vives was motivated by the prospect that this could be the last meet this fall due to COVID-19. She was fatigued and wanted to slow her pace at the third mile yet perservered.

"There's no county meet and there may not be sectionals," Vives said. "This could be the last one. That's why I had to keep going. My legs hurt. I would've been mad at myself if I didn't push through the pain. The third mile is all uphill. The anxiety spikes there."

She gutted it out, spurred on by the cheering crowd. Earlier in the race, Vives was buoyed by the presence of boys coach Roy Hamblen.

"I saw the Chatham girl (Bresnahan) at the 2.5-mile mark," Vives said. "Mr. Hamblen told me to use my 800 speed. You can be drained but then you see him. You're not running for yourself anymore. You just want him to be happy."

Kertesz was thrilled as well and commended Vives for attaining a PR.

"Grace is having a monster year," he said. "She's returned to her freshman form and it's nice to see the work and the effort. She began June 20 and is seeing the rewards for what she's put into it."

Megan Smith and Apolline Gaspers were ninth and 10th, respectively, for Mendham, whose team score was 33. Lucie Antonius was 11th for the Minutemen. Ava Curry and Ava Augustine were 14th and 15th.

Here is a link to the results:



Last modified onTuesday, 02 November 2021 06:44
Sandy Seegers

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