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Peekskill Runners Honored for National Success

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- The Common Council took time out of their normal schedule Tuesday night to honor a group of young runners for their continued success.

Members of the Westchester Striders and The New York Starz Track Club qualified for the cross country national championship last month.

The six students are London Claxton of Oakside Elementary School, Nolan Defreitas of St. Columbanus School, Chelsea Ogindo of Peekskill Middle School, and three other young area runners: Nina Acevido, Kunal Shah and Lauren Aviles.

The runners qualified to compete with the best youth runners in the nation in the Junior National Cross Country Championship in South Carolina in December.

Striders Coach Ted Bitter was joined by Starz coach Sharron Bronner, who coaches several of the runners. Bitter, who also owns Peekskill's BeanRunner Cafe, said the runners and their teammates worked hard to get to where they are and also thanked parents for their support:

"They sacrifice their time and they support their kids, and anybody in a performing art needs a support system - a coach and parents," Bitter said.

Each runner received a certificate of recognition from Mayor Mary Foster on behalf of the city.

"It's always a pleasure for the council to give out certificates to our talented young youth," Foster said. "The reason this becomes important is not to make your coaches and parents proud but to recognize the committment you all make to being dedicated and trying your best at whatever it is you are doing."

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