Varsity girls cross country ends season with delight


After eight very successful meets, the varsity girls cross country team is looking ahead to their final championship meets of this season.

Head Coach Tricia Watson, thinks the season has been a success. “The girls are working hard, building their endurance, and always show up to win,” she said. “They practice together and support one another.”

The team was thrilled to race in the Marianapolis Invitational at Marianapolis Preparatory School on Sept. 28. With a bit of sun and shade and a light wind, the day was perfect for racing. Having hydrated thoroughly during team-building exercises the day before, the runners were ready to go and to support one another (and other runners) throughout the race. 

As usual, the athletes got to the starting line early and kept themselves limber until the race began, with each runner setting an individual goal that they wanted to achieve by the race’s end. Once the race started, the KO runners set out at a competitive pace. The course includes a beautiful trail across grassy fields and a narrow, winding one through the woods, with hills at both the starting line and finish line. 

With all seven members of the team having built up a fantastic camaraderie through their team-building exercises and their strength and stamina through daily practices, the Wyverns came in third overall. While the coaches were proud of every runner on the team who made this victory possible, of particular note are the achievements of sophomore Claire Palmer who placed seventh with a time of 23:11, sophomore Sasha Dausey who placed 16th with a time of 24:51, and sophomore Sophie Chen who rounded out the top 20 with a time of 26:20. 

The team then came away with a tie against Williston and Westminster on Oct. 8. The team arrived on campus early (even before the home coaches) so that the team could get set up and get an early start on their course walk—familiarizing themselves with the feel of the terrain, the angles of the turns, and the direction of the race as a whole. With much of the race taking place either on grassy sports fields or on winding well-marked trails through Williston’s scenic green forest, the athletes were excited to run. 

And that passion for running and the endurance, strength, and speed these athletes have built up through practices and meets this season paid off in full during this double dual meet, with many of the runners placing higher overall than they have so far this season. Sophomore Claire Palmer came in with incredible speed to earn second place with a time of 23:12; she was closely followed by sophomore Sasha Dausey and sophomore Sophie Chen, who earned the fifth and sixth spots, respectively, with times of 24:27 and 24:57. Freshman Olivia Pilecki, came in at 11th place with a fast time of 25:45, while fellow freshman Meagan Rose rounded out our top scorers with a time of 32:28, in 32nd place. While KO lost to Williston in the first match-up, they won over Westminster handily. 

Coach Watson thinks that the highlights of the season are the long runs at the Reservoir. “The team is running over eight miles one afternoon and then ready to run mile repeats the next day,” she said. “We all get along and they push each other to achieve their goals.”

Coach Watson is extremely proud of the girls. “They truly are dedicated to the sport of running,” she said. “Junior Captain Kami Tarantino, creates an amazingly supportive team and sophomore Claire Palmer, sophomore Sasha Dausey and our newest members, sophomore Sophie Chen, freshman Ava Bonsignore, freshman Olivia Pilecki and freshman Meagan Rose have demonstrated tremendous mental toughness, physical strength and team spirit – it really is a joy to coach them,” she said. “I also want to thank all of the cross country coaches who dedicate themselves to the sport and share a huge chunk of their time coaching this team. I could not do it without Coach Goodman, Coach Hegeman, and Coach Heffner-Burns.”

We wish the girls luck as they take on both the Founder League championship and the New England championships!