Never before have two teams entered the Peddie Sports Hall of Fame together. But, together, the 1939 and 1940 Cross Country Teams — each fully worthy of induction on their own remarkable merits — left a unique combined legacy of sustained excellence, teamwork and pride.Their back-to-back seasons created an unbroken winning streak against the toughest competitive schedules Peddie hill-and-dalers had ever faced. Starting with the leadership of its single returning letterman, Captain Ralph “Ace” Farrell ’40, and the singular coaching of veteran mentor George Weed ’18, the Fall ’39 squad transformed a building season into one for the books. The senior triumvirate of Farrell, Tom Judge ’40 and Don Arnsdorf ’40 swept the top three places in nearly every meet, with “Ace” finishing first in every race but one. The consistent scoring of Dudley Clayton ’41, Art DiMartini ’41, Jack Lawrence ’40 and Christian “Bud” Solfisburg ’41 rounded out the steamroller that flattened all seven opponents — starting with a sweet win over archrival
Trenton High and culminating with a 21-34 rout of Kearney High which had just finished second in the New Jersey public school state championships.
Then, in the Fall of ’40, Coach Weed’s dynamo became a dynasty. The 1940 team boasted a virtually untouchable trio of its own — Bud Solfisburg, who placed first in every meet, closely followed by Dave Bulk ’41 and Russell Hitch ’41, who rarely failed to take second and third, respectively. Art DiMartini and Charles “Whitey” Walther ’41 traded off as Peddie’s fourth and fifth finishers, with Lou Morrison ’41 and Bruce Rankin ’41 adding depth to the roster. The team thrashed Trenton High even more vigorously than their predecessors had done, and scored lopsided victories in each of their five contests.
Compiling a composite record of 12 straight wins over two unblemished seasons — including three perfect 15-40 scores between them — the 1939 and 1940 teams could each lay credible claim to being the greatest in Peddie Cross Country history. Though we’ll never enjoy the thrill of watching them race head-to-head, we have the pleasure of seeing them cross the line in unison on their way into the Peddie Sports Hall of Fame.