It has been sixty years since Dave Cunningham completed his running career at Peddie, but this exceptional athlete is quite familiar with being the first to break the tape. Cunningham has been selected as the first Peddie Cross Country runner inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame.
As a junior, Cunningham earned varsity letters in both Cross Country and Track. A mainstay on the 1945 unbeaten Harrier squad, “Captain Cunningham” immediately set the pace in his senior season. The Falcons won their opening dual meet with Trenton Catholic, as Cunningham traversed the Peddie home course in 10 minutes and 40 seconds to take the race’s top spot.
Head coach George Weed described his senior captain as “the shining light of the team,” as teammates Donald Brown and Dave Whitson joined Cunningham to lead the team to four victories in their seven prep dual meets. The ’46 Peddie Cross Country Team defeated Admiral Farragut, Blair and Irvington High School, while bowing to St. Benedict’s, Lawrenceville and Choate. Cunningham captured seven straight first place finishes, and completed the Fall schedule undefeated in prep school competition.
Long-standing course records fell beneath Cunningham’s feet. In Peddie’s victory over Blair, the senior knocked 2 ¾ seconds off of the previous course record, setting a record of 9:57 ¼ seconds and running the fastest race ever on the Peddie home course. Cunningham then erased the Lawrenceville course time and went on to shatter the Choate record, finishing with the incredible time of 9:52.3 seconds.
For his leadership ability, Cunningham was voted as team captain for both Cross Country and Track, while also serving as a dorm monitor in Wilson Hall. This accomplished student athlete blazed a remarkable trail for future Peddie runners.
As the Hall honors its first individual cross country distance star, Dave Cunningham is once again out in front and leading the pack!