Running into a new chapter


Ben Schneider

Six seniors were recognized following the final cross country district meet.

Following a season that saw them make states, Clover Hill will say goodbye to five boys cross country runners. Additionally, Clover Hill also recognized the solo senior girls runner, Ishita Patel. These six seniors have taken the time to look back and reminisce on their running careers as well as look to the future.

To start, for captain Andrew Bennett, cross country shapes almost everything he does in his daily life. Whether it be deciding what he eats or how much sleep he gets, running always enters his mind as a way to help make decisions.

“[Cross country] is definitely something that’s my main focus in life, everything that I do is centered around it,” Bennett said. “It’s pretty much just the focal point of everything, so it means a lot to me.”

Bennett plans to study business after high school. While he says college decisions are ‘up in the air’ as far as cross country is concerned, he looks to attend Virginia Tech and run for their cross country and track teams.

Captain Clinton Clancy has spent the last three years running cross country for Clover Hill. Clancy attributes his success during that time to the fact that cross country has taught him a lot about dedication and discipline.

“[Cross country] has meant a lot to me over the years and taught me a lot, like having to actually do something to be good at it,” Clancy said. “The fact that I’m going to be able to do it in college is a big thing for me. Cross country has just meant a lot to me. I love the team.” 

Clancy committed his talents to the next level. He will run at Longwood University and study accounting for the next four years. Clancy’s signing day was on Nov. 17. 

Ben Schneider, also a captain, ran cross country for The Hill for four years. Over those years, he juggled many different tasks. For example, he is an editor-in-chief for the Cavalier Chronicle, and he also puts time into many other clubs and activities. Those opportunities of involvement are something that Schneider will miss most about Clover Hill.

“In general, I think I’m going to miss all the things that I’m involved in most,” Schneider said. “Obviously, one of those is cross country. The things that I care about and the things that I put a lot of time into are things that I’m going to miss the most.” 

After high school, Schneider hopes to attend Virginia Tech, a university that he applied early decision to. He plans to major in meteorology, and minor in environmental science. 

Andrew Orndorff remarks that long distance running is indisputably the greatest sport. To him, cross country means the highest development of human athleticism. He says that cross country is able to help him with the team building aspect of the sport.

“I’m very good friends with my teammates,” Orndorff said. “Most of the seniors on the team have been there since freshman year, so we’ve gotten to know each other for a long time. You depend on your teammates for emotional support.”

Orndorff hopes to attend the University of Michigan while planning to become a physicist. 

Finally, there is Matthew Stefanelli, who joined the cross country team this year. Being a senior, younger players look up to Stefanelli. He attributes that leadership role to the team building aspect of the sport itself. 

“[It] makes the practices way more fun and makes us encourage each other [more] during competitive meets,” Stefanelli said. “It makes the experience more fun all around.”

While Stefanelli is not completely set on his future plans, he has applied to Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University and James Madison University. As of now, Stefanelli is unaware of his major. 

As the lone senior on the girls’ cross country team, Ishita Patel feels that she has made the most of her high school career. Patel started running back in middle school and has loved every moment since. 

“Cross country is less of a competitive sport for me, but more of a constant in my life,” Patel said. “I’ve been doing cross country and track since middle school, so going into high school is just a continuum for me. It was a great way for me to just handle high school.” 

In wrapping up the cross country season, the boys’ team finished runner up by four points in the state meet, while Patel and the girls’ team placed eighth in their regional meet. The seniors will walk across the stage and collect their diplomas at the Siegel Center on May 24, 2023 at 7 p.m.