New kids on the track 

Part two

Posted 1/18/23

HURLEYVILLE, NY — Last year, the student athletes from the Homestead School Collaborative College High School (CCHS) got their feet wet when they joined Section IX of the New York State Public High School Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHAA).

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New kids on the track 

Part two


HURLEYVILLE, NY — Last year, the student athletes from the Homestead School Collaborative College High School (CCHS) got their feet wet when they joined Section IX of the New York State Public High School Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHAA).

The school fielded a lone runner in the guise of Bryce Shannon, who at the time was a 15-year-old freshman who focused on long-distance events such as the grueling—at least in the view of this sports scribbler—1,600-meter and 3,200-meter events.

In 2022, Shannon made it to the state qualifiers, and this season, according to his mom—the head coach of the school’s running team—as of press time, the fleet-of-foot sophomore is within a minute of a repeat trip back to the state qualifiers.

“Running for me is a bit like a game,” he said. “My favorite parts of running are finding my flow state during practice and the competitive rush during a race. For a sport that many people use as punishment, I like the challenge.”

Asked to elaborate on what it’s like to be part of a new program, he replied, “Having a team to run with this year, rather than last year, helps to motivate me more. Some days are harder to get out and train than others, but when I know that I am not doing it alone, I find more joy in running.”

In a sense, Bryce Shannon is keeping a family tradition alive. His mother, Carla Shannon, ran track while in high school in the Old Dominion State, and later played field hockey in college.

Carla, who teaches the fourth through sixth grades at the Homestead School’s Glen Spey campus, created a track team at the Hurleyville campus after running the idea past the folks at the USA Track & Field and the New York Road Runners.

Before the school’s team was officially a reality, she took Bryce to the city to compete in USA Track & Field events, and shortly thereafter, once the team was established, the then-freshman qualified for the states.

Recalling those early days, Shannon said of her son running for the school as a team of one, “A lot of the other teams would cheer for him.”

This year, the Homestead School’s young athletic program started a cross-country team in addition to the running program.

“The kids did really well with their times, and are getting used to the competition,” said Carla Shannon. At present the XC team is made up of four boys and five girls, seventh through eighth grade.

What’s her thumbnail sketch of what makes sports an integral part of educating the whole student, and what scholar athletes stand to gain from participating on teams? “So much of what we do in life is hard, and in sports you have this opportunity to really test yourself playing a sport… it’s hard, but it’s fun at the same time. [You learn to say] ’I can work through this with perseverance,’ [you] test your limits, exceed what you think your limits are.”

Of course, there are the social aspects, she added. Sports introduce you to “other people with a shared experience… We have the smallest team out there, but we are one of the loudest, cheering each other on with such enthusiasm.”

At a glance—the Homestead School

The Homestead School is a Montessori school focused on humanitarian and sustainable education. It has campuses located in Glen Spey, NY and Hurleyville, NY.

In 1978, the Homestead School was founded in Glen Spey by Peter and Marsha Comstock on a 200-year-old, 85-acre homestead once owned by the McKenzie family.

The first structure was built around 1870 by Peter Comstock’s great-grandfather, and the present-day Comstocks settled there permanently in 1975 to fulfill their dream of founding the school.

The Glen Spey campus focuses on early childhood through upper elementary education, while the Hurleyville secondary school campus is designed to provide students in junior high and senior high with “a stellar nature-based, humanitarian Montessori education,” according to the school’s website.

In December 2020, the Homestead School partnered with SUNY Sullivan to establish a secondary education program in Hurleyville, NY allowing students to attend Homestead from two years of age through high school. Students can now graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree from SUNY Sullivan.

For information about the Homestead Primary School, call 845/856-6359, and for information regarding the Homestead Collaborative College High School, call 845/640-1206.

Meet the team

Here is the varsity Homestead School Collaborative College High School track and field team, as of early January: Bryce Shannon (sophomore, 1,600- and 3,200-meters), Ayana Banks (sophomore, 55-meter, 300-meter and long jump/triple jump), Jason Gebhardt (sophomore, 55-meter and 300-meter), Natalie Westergreen (sophomore, 55-meter and 300-meter), Gabriele Almonte (freshman, 55-meter and 300-meter), Thomas Caputo (freshman, shot put).

Along the sidelines and behind the scenes is Michelle Ahart-Bosland, part of the school’s administrative team and one of the driving forces behind the running team.

Her involvement in the new program is also carrying on a proud family tradition, as her father, Fred Ahart, served for decades as a beloved coach and athletic director at Roscoe Central School; and although he passed a couple of years ago, her mother, Becky, still helps keep the basketball scorebook at the “Home of the Blue Devils.”

“It’s really exciting to see our students participating in track this season, and to witness their pride when they share that they beat their personal records or placed in a race,” Ahart-Bosland said. “The dedication and hard work of our coaches, Carla Shannon and Tim Larson, has made this program a reality.”

Her take on the role of sports in education?

“Participation in athletics is a component of helping our students at the Homestead School to cultivate the best version of themselves and we plan to keep working to make these opportunities available to them.”

She closed by thinking back on her parents’ deep commitment to local sports. “It has been personally rewarding to me, having grown up with both my parents being very active in regional high school sports.

“My dad passed away two years ago, but I can feel his influence and know he is cheering us on.”

homestead, track, field, nysphaa


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