For Peddie Cross Country, the stars all came into alignment in the Fall of 1973...star talent, the star coaching and recruiting of “Bullet Bob” Lawson, and a reach-for-the-stars attitude about training to win. Quoth the 1974 Old Gold and Blue: “a promising team developed into an awesome power...a running machine which left little doubt who was the top prep team in the state.”
Cross country victories are notoriously long stories, and the events and inspiration of the ‘71 and ‘72 seasons clearly contributed to the almost endless happy endings of 1973. Back in 1971, Peddie’s home cross country course, for decades one of the state’s shortest, had been lengthened from 2.3 to 2.7 miles...Peddie harriers began putting in 10-14 miles of road running per day...and Steve Ross and Ray Fitzgibbon respectively finished first and third in the state meet. In 1972, Peddie’s top eight runners were so well-tuned, they finished within a minute of one another...took ten of their last 11 dual meets...and beat Hill for the first time in 20 years.
And then came 1973. Top runners J.P. Flynn, Mike Price and Steve Ranson rarely finished behind any of the competition, taking turns rotating first, second, and third place honors amongst themselves. The shoes of Captain Art Ammermuller, Mike McCrabb, Kevin Norcross and Bill Stuart brought such depth of talent to the starting line, the team swept the top five or more places for perfect scores in six of their 15 dual-meet victories, and crushed Lawrenceville with times Coach Lawson calculated would have beaten the Larries’ all-time greatest team.
Peddie then completely dominated the state meet, capturing the first NJ prep cross country title in school history...outclassing the rest of the varsity field with a record-breaking victory margin of more than 45 points...and still having enough talent left over for the junior varsity team to win its own state championship the very same day. A fitting end to an altogether unforgettable season!