Jacqueline Lulaj’s Hard Work & Dedication Come to Fruition as She Breaks School Record, AGAIN


Amanda Lulaj

Senior Jacqueline Lulaj in her record-breaking 5000m run on Saturday, November 2nd.

Shira Shiber and Ohr Gutman

Senior Jacqueline Lulaj made her mark on Cresskill history this past Saturday at the Cross Country Bergen County League meet. Lulaj broke the 5,000m record standing since 2016 at 20:02, surpassing it by an astounding 29 seconds and reestablishing it at 19:35. September 14 marked the start of her remarkable season with a time of 23:11. Cutting her times down consistently every race, Lulaj’s goal became more and more attainable as the season progressed. 

Lulaj started running spring track her freshman year, her love for running immediate and continuously growing through her junior year as she joined the school’s cross country team. At the start of the ‘19-’20 season, Lulaj could only imagine breaking the school’s record. 

Half way through the season that goal became a reality. 

“I was getting stronger each week and better each race” Lulaj said in an interview. She admits that while staying positive isn’t easy, she manages to gather motivation from both her good and bad days, noting that, “[her bad days] definitely do affect me, like last week, I was three seconds off the time, and it bothered me so much I just used it as motivation. I pushed myself even harder the next week.”

Amanda Lulaj
Lulaj poses with Coach Woodford after her record-breaking run.

She considers mental training one of the most important aspects of running cross country. 

“Physically my legs are the ones carrying me… but if my mind is there at the end of a race I know I will get there somehow,” Lulaj says. Coach Woodford helps her stay on track throughout the race.

A week after the record breaking race, Lulaj established another new record at Garret Mountain of 20:18, ranking her 3rd in the entire North 1 Group State Sectional. 

Cresskill’s cross country team continues to support her journey every race as she extends her season. Teammate Keren Binderman said in an interview: “It’s really great, everyone comes out to support… to make sure they could congratulate her, everyone’s super proud of her.” 

The team’s chemistry is integral to Lulaj’s success and indicative of her natural leadership skills. Binderman noted that “she’s super passionate about running, she put that in me, too… she brings so much life and fun into it that it really improved my outlook… this made me look forward to practice.”

Jacqueline Lulaj hopes to pursue her passion for running after high school. This current season shows a lot of promise; make sure to keep up with her amazing journey!