Cross Country Closes with Historic Season



Akshay Vadul ’23 breaks away from a Cherokee runner at NJSIAA Group Championships.

Edison’s 2022 cross country season came to an end with record-breaking races and performances. From the start of their season, Edison’s team had their eyes set on a notable season. Leading the team were captains Akshay Vadul ‘23, Arav Raval ‘23, and Rohan Arestani ‘23. 

“The team is looking stronger than ever though, with so many new runners and such amazing Captains, sky’s the limit,” said Arestani. “The experience coming from coaches and teammates alike makes this team fun and successful.” 

Starting the early stages of the season strong, the team raced at Cherokee Challenge, the Six Flags Wild Safari Invitational, and the New Balance Shore Coaches Invitational.

Midway through the season, on October 12, the team participated in the conference meets. The boys competed in the GMC Red Division and the girls in the White Division. At Thompson Park, Vadul ran a 15:51, easily taking first place over the 5K distance and becoming the only athlete that day to break sixteen minutes. Victor Osiemo ‘23 finished in sixth place, clocking a 16:50. On the girls side, Rylee McEvoy ‘25 ranked third with a time of 22:43. Aylah Bristow-cabrera ‘26 ran alongside McEvoy, ranking seventh and becoming the only freshman in the top ten of their White Division race, a remarkable performance and achievement. 

Paolo Pittenger ’24, Victor Osiemo ’23, and Akshay Vadul ’23 race at the New Balance Shore Coaches 5K Invitational.

Advancing to GMC Cross Country Championships on October 22, Vadul won once again, achieving a blistering time of 15:44 over the 5K distance and gapping second place by over 25 seconds. He had become Edison’s first Cross Country Champion since Ed Taylor in 1975 and the third overall champion hailing from Edison, the first being Charlie Zipprich in 1968. Osiemo finished close behind in fifth place and Paolo Pittenger ‘24 finished in twentieth, a formidable effort among an incredibly strong field. For the girls, McEvoy placed 49th in the girls varsity championship. Bristow-cabrera finished in second for the girls freshmen championship race with a time of 23:15. 

At the end of the season, the state meets were Edison’s last target. With Vadul running on two conference victories, he entered State Sectionals looking for another win. On October 29, he raced at Oak Ridge, securing first place with a time of 15:11 over the 5K distance. Now the second fastest runner in course history, he advanced to Group Championships. Osiemo also advanced to Group Championships, running a 16:02 and placing fourteenth overall. 

On November 5, Vadul and Osiemo raced at the historical Holmdel Park for Group Championships, a notoriously difficult course with steep hills. In spite of the terrain, they were able to achieve fast times. After an incredible effort, Vadul finished in second and Osiemo in fifteenth. These placements qualified them for state finals, otherwise known as the Meet of Champions. 

The final race of Edison High’s cross country season would be the NJSIAA Cross Country Meet of Champions, held once again at Holmdel. On the chilly morning of November 12, both athletes toed the line with the best runners in New Jersey. At the official’s gun, the boys set off once again over the 5K distance. Rolling through the finish line, Vadul placed eighth and Osiemo in 60th, an admirable finish to the season. 

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Vadul and Osiemo came into their senior season alongside each other, paralleling their freshmen year. Since the beginning of their high school journey, they competed alongside each other in the 1600m and 800m races, shattering freshman class records.

“I didn’t put myself on anyone’s radar for the previous cross country seasons, so this season was definitely important in proving that I’m a versatile runner outside of the 1600 and 3200,” said Vadul.