BY JEFF FALK
CORNWALL – Two brothers running together is a work out. But three, well now you’ve got the makings of a team, a special team, a very unique team.
Introducing the Cedar Crest boys’ track and field squad’s running Cruise brothers – older brother Jarrod, middle brother Jordan and younger brother Jesse. Around area track and field circles the Cruise boys are affectionately becoming known as ‘The Flying Js’.
The Cruise brothers – along with lead-off leg Jared Glosser – comprise three-fourths of the Falcons’ 3200-meter relay team that is seeded first for this weekend’s District Three Class AAA Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University. So how rare is it for three brothers to compete together on the same relay team? About as rare as their talent.
“It is neat,” said Jarrod, a senior. “We kind of suspected last year, that if Jesse lived up to his potential, that he could be part of the four-by-eight. Being a senior, and having my brothers with me on the four-by-eight is special.”
“This is something we’re never going to forget,” said Jordan, a junior. “This postseason we want to make memories that last a lifetime. There’s been two siblings running together, but three is special.
“We’re definitely where we want to be,” added Jordan. “Our team is showing up at the right time. Coach (Rob Bare) said we’re ready for a heck of a race.”
Should the Cruises taste success this Saturday at the District Three meet, it won’t be their first this spring. Last weekend, the Falcons captured top honors in the 3200-meter relay at the Lancaster-Lebanon League.
It was all part of a bigger picture which featured Cedar Crest bringing home the boys’ team crown. The Falcons had also claimed the L-L Section One championship during the regular season.
“It is a unique situation,” said Bare, Cedar Crest’s head boys’ coach. “I’ve never had three brothers on a relay team, not at the same time. The unique and special thing about it is that not only are they three very good young men, but they all can run very, very fast. All three of them are tough and talented.”
“I think it’s cool,” said Jesse, a freshman. “I don’t have much experience, but I’m running with them and I’m training with them. When you’re with older guys, you train harder.”
Jarrod, Jordan and Jesse are three of the seven-member Cruise family, all named in honor of father Jay (youngest brother Justin is currently an aspiring seventh-grade runner). In one way it was Jarrod, and to a lesser degree Jesse, who got Jordan interested in the family discipline.
“In middle school, I was a chubby kid, and I didn’t do much,” said Jordan. “Then I thinned out in my freshmen year. They (Jarrod and Jesse) were really the ones who influenced me, probably more than anything. During my freshmen year I went to a lot of Jarrod’s meets. I liked to watch them and he was doing well. I just decided to try it.”
“I can see myself as an example for them,” said Jarrod, who will also compete in the 800-meter run and the 1600-meter relay at the district meet. “But they’ve also been an example for me. They motivate me. When they run well, it pumps me up. It’s like, ‘My younger brothers are doing well, I need to do well too’.
“The season has lived up to my expectations,” continued Jarrod. “We had major goals at the beginning. Having my brothers on the four-by-eight was one of the goals. Since our tenth grade year, we seniors knew we had a chance to win leagues, and it was awesome to do so.”
Because the Cruises are so competitive together, it would be impossible for them not to be competitive with one another.
“I don’t want Jesse to beat me because he’s younger,” said Jordan, who will also run the 800 at districts. “With Jarrod, I’m just trying to keep up. I try to stay with him.”
“Me and Jarrod have been running since elementary school,” said Jesse. “I started running the youngest. Jarrod’s the fastest, but yeah, we’re competitive. I want to beat his times when I’m a senior.”
So who is the most talented Cruise? Right now, experience says Jarrod. But that doesn’t mean his brothers won’t surpass him when their times come.
“The only reason I’m faster is because I’m older,” said Jarrod. “Next year, Jordan will plass my times, and eventually Jesse will be the best of all of us. I’d say that Jesse is the most talented.”
In addition to similar talents and builds, the Cruises share many of the same physical characteristics. But they are more different than they are alike.
“Jarrod is the more serious one,” said Jordan. “He’s a good leader. He’s calm. He doesn’t get mad. Jesse is his own person. He’s got a lot of personality. He even does his own dance before every race.”
“I’d say Jarrod is more serious, but not super serious,” said Jesse. “Jordan is probably the goofiest of us all. He likes making us laugh. I’d say I’m in between them somewhere.”
For the most part, the Cruises get along off the track as well as they do on it. But they are teenagers, and boys will be boys.
“I’d say for the most part, we get along,” said Jarrod. “We run everyday together. We love talking together, talking about track and field and talking about other sports. They’re some of my greatest friends.”
“While I’m sure they fight at times, they really pull for each other,” said Bare. “Jarrod and Jordan have a lot of confidence in Jesse. When it comes to brotherly love, they definitely encourage and support each other.
“Looking at our team at the beginning of the season,” concluded Bare, “I thought it would be great if those three Cruise boys could all be on the same relay team. I didn’t know what I’d get out of Jesse, but it worked out that they were on the same relay team together.”