The boys and girls cross country team runs into a new year filled with possibility and eagerness for a great season. The girls team is led by sophomore Co-captains Stella Risinger and Olivia Reynolds. The boys team has a strong front led by senior Co-captains William Burstein and Ethan Pinkes.
The cross country team is small in number with only 16 boys and eight girls, yet they have big hopes for the season ahead, including running in ten meets. The boys team has many returners this year, but the girls team is mostly made up of newcomers, only having one upperclassman.
Both teams are looking forward to the Founders League Championships and the New England Championships, which happen late in their season. Both teams started with preseason during the last week of August. It was a very hot week, but the team pushed through to accomplish their long to-do list. “Preseason went relatively well; I think the turnout was much greater than past years, and everyone appeared to be pretty dedicated to getting into shape after a long and leisurely summer,” Burstein said.
The week started with everyone getting to know each other and forging bonds that will last more than just the season. The first three days, both teams worked on getting back into shape with long, slower paced jogs and working on having the correct technique. “Preseason is a great way for everyone to bond and rally together,” Reynolds said.
Both teams focused on easing back into running over the course of the full preseason week. “We want them to be ready for the tougher workouts and preparing them for the races,” Head Coach Natalie Lynd said, “ It is a way for the team to have a look ahead of what they need to work on to win their meets.” The girls cross country team has many goals they will be focusing on for this season. A big theme on the team is always trying to improve their running form and raise their overall times on certain courses. “Hopefully the girls work together and improve on everything, not only as a team but also individually,” Coach Lynd said.
The boys cross country team, with many returners, have more precise goals. Their number one goal is to try and win more meets than the previous year. “Our team has many returners, so I hope to see improvement throughout the whole team,” Coach Goodman said. The boys are also working to motivate everyone on the team and to work hard every practice. Looking into the near future, Burstein shared some personal goals.“Perhaps some wins against schools like Pomfret,” he said.
The boys and girls team competed in their first meet at Choate Rosemary Hall Cross Country Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 14. For the girls, the team did incredible in the meet with amazing times, but their overall performance was stunning. “Our positivity, determination, and the way everyone supported each other was really awesome,” Risinger said. A standout runner was sophomore Lily Stanyu because she ran her first 5k and finished with an incredible time of 31:00. “ She had been working hard in practice and it showed in the meet,” Risinger said, “She was determined to do her best.”
The boys team had an overall good meet; everyone came together and showed great team camaraderie. The team cheered each other on, and it was a strong start to the season. “Standouts included freshman Sam Bromberg who had a great first ever cross country race,” Burstein said, “Sophomore Sam Merkatz had a very strong start to the season. Co-captain Ethan Pinkes also had a strong performance with a top 20 finish.”
Both teams travel to the West Hartford Reservoir for practice. “We run,” Burstsein said. “Cross country is not the most technical of sports, so only on rare occasions we practice our tackling skills and brute force abilities.” Their practices consist of either speed, distance, or recovery workouts and later in the week split into groups for their long runs, each group picking a specific trail.
Both teams’ next home meet is on Oct. 5 at 4:00 pm at the West Hartford Reservoir against the Westminster cross country team.