Cynthia Boryeskne specializes in girls’ track and field races that are 600 meters or longer.
The Edison High School junior is great at “kicking,” or increasing her speed and passing other runners over the final 200 meters or so.
Since she usually makes her move in the back stretch, Boryeskne likes to pace herself during the early part of the race. But on May 15 in Old Bridge, in the 800-meter run at the Greater Middlesex Conference championships, the junior sprinted off the starting line and took an early lead.
Her coaches didn’t even want her to do this.
“She went out a little faster than we wanted her to,” said Edison coach Joe Pitarese.
But it worked.
Boryeskne won the GMC’s 800-meter championship with a time of 2:11.57, setting a school and meet record. The second-place runner crossed the finish line nearly a full four seconds behind Boryeskne.
The Edison standout has now broken school records in seven events between the winter indoor season and the spring outdoor season. She holds the Eagles’ all-time marks in the indoor 600-meter run, the 800-meter run, the 1,000-meter run and the 1,600-meter run. The junior also has the outdoor records in the 800-meter run, the 1,600-meter run and even the mile run.
At this point, she is one of the best runners in Edison history.
“She’s been doing great things since her freshman year,” Pitarese said. “We knew we had something special in her. We could see the talent right away.”
At her first practices in the winter of 2016, her freshman year, Boryeskne just didn’t get tired, even when other runners did.
There is no empirical explanation for this. Boryeskne just has that extra gear that certain athletes have.
Pitarese calls it “the heart of a champion.”
“She has that hunger and drive,” he added.
That’s why the coach wasn’t worried when, on the first day of the GMC championships, May 14, Boryeskne had to pull out of the mile run with a bad leg cramp. Pitarese was standing along the back stretch of the race, and he saw the anguish on Boryeskne’s face as she ran toward him.
He also saw that she was jogging because that was all she could do.
“I said, ‘It’s not worth it. Stop,'” the coach said.
“I wanted to prevent an injury that could threaten the rest of her season,” he added.
The junior spent the rest of the day and night icing and resting her leg. By the next morning, she felt healthy enough to race again. Even if she was in a little bit of pain, she was too motivated to sit out her best event.
Then she bolted off the finish line way faster than she normally does.
Boryeskne was back, and she is far from finished. In future big meets this spring, like the NJSIAA Group 4 championships on May 31 at Franklin High School, the junior may be able to break 2:10.00.
Pitarese thinks that as the competition gets better, so will Boryeskne.
“When she ran the meet record, she didn’t have too many people to pace off of,” he said. “If she had somebody to run with, it would push her to possibly go sub 2:10.”