Manhasset senior captain Matthew Weilep entered the fall cross country season with a number of goals in mind; however none was more important than helping to lead his team to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships in Queensbury, N.Y.
While the team ultimately fell short of this benchmark, finishing just behind Wantagh HS for the top prize, the team’s pursuit of this goal culminated in an undefeated season, Division and Conference Championships, and a team record 8 individual All-Conference selections.
Weilep’s performance was integral to achieving all of these milestones, as he led the Indians across the finish line in every contest.
Weilep’s commitment to his off-season training and Sunday long runs throughout the season was evident as he recorded personal bests on each course he encountered, gradually climbing up the Nassau County rankings to emerge as one of the top 10 runners in Section VIII.
At the prestigious Reebok Manhattan College Invitational on Oct. 12, he recorded his highest finish ever, 22nd, running 13:37 on the challenging Van Cortland Park 4k course.
His outstanding performance placed him #11 on the Manhasset All-Time Best-of list and provided a glimpse of what was to come as the team entered the post-season.
While most of us were preparing for our Thanksgiving break, thinking about turkey and football, Weilep had his sights set on achieving even greater heights; he had registered to participate with several of his teammates at the Nike Cross Country Regional Championships held at Bowdoin Park in Wappinger Falls, N.Y. on Nov. 30. He came out looking sharp and less than a half mile into the race, challenged and took a lead that he would never relinquish. He crossed the finish line as a champion – his first ever win in a championship or invitational race, and he did so on the biggest stage of his career, helping his team to a fourth place showing in the process.