Boys and girls cross country take off right out of the starting gates

Sports

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The boys and girls cross country teams have had strong starts to their seasons. Although the teams have only competed in a couple of meets, both teams are ready to leap into the busy season.

In the beginning of the season, when both teams had to deal with the summer heat, they were also trying to build the team’s atmosphere. “We are trying to build a sense of comradery and inclusion for the newer members of the team,” Head Coach Tricia Watson said.

Coach Watson added that both the boys and girls teams are welcoming and come together to form one strong group that meets and practices together. Coach Watson also wanted to highlight both the girls and boys captains, seniors Taline Norsigian and Thomas Betts. “They have used high school to transition into strong experienced runners and are able to keep the team calm and welcoming,” she said.

The teams competed in their first meet at Choate Rosemary Hall Cross Country Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 15. For the girls, returner sophomore Jaden Paldino posted a strong result with a time of 27:09 followed by seniors Amanda Bucknam and Norsigian with respectable times of 30:10 and 30:30.

The invitational also had a novice race where new runners were able to show their speed. Freshman Olivia Reynolds posted a quick time of 25:04 followed by  freshman Stella Risinger with a time of 29:34.

The boys team also had a strong showing at the meet with freshman Kevin Graziosi coming in second in the novice race. Betts said he was impressed with Graziosi’s race. “I would like to highlight Kevin because it is his first year of high school cross country and he is having a great season and showing a lot of potential.”

Although the meet was non-scoring it allowed the newer runners to gain some experience before the Canterbury Cross Country Invitational on Saturday Sept. 22.

At the race, the girls team came in 11th with Reynolds leading the Wyverns with a time of 24:02 followed by Paldino 25:38, and freshman Stella Risinger 26:56.

In the boys race, the Wyverns were led by Graziosi who continued to run fast with a time of 20:00 quickly followed by Betts 20:14, and Pinkes 20:41.

Betts said that he was proud of the team’s progress so far this year and would to highlight junior Ethan Pinkes. “Ethan has come back to cross country after being injured last year and is doing really well,” Betts said.

The boys team credited a lot of their success to a strong preseason. “This year we had good attendance, particularly from new members of the team which is not always the case,” Betts said. He continued that it allowed the team to get further along in training than would be otherwise possible.

Not only does Betts want to train hard, but he also wants to keep the sport enjoyable. “I try to bring the team together by making practices fun.”

He added that lightening the mood while simultaenously working hard and encouraging one another makes the team closer.

Although the boys team is going through a rebuilding year with only six returning runners, Head Coach Fritz Goodman hopes that they will encourage the new runners on the trails and lead by example.

Coach Goodman said that he expects the team to work as hard as they can no matter what.