The girls varsity cross country team is coming off a great 2022 season and are in the midst of another incredible season. Their efforts in the past two years have been highlighted by junior Claire Palmer, who has had a record-breaking cross-country season.
Palmer has been a member of the girls cross country team since her freshman year. She’s a prolific runner, being a part of both the cross country and track and field teams.
One of Palmer’s defining performances of her running career came at the annual Canterbury Invitational in September. Palmer broke a personal record with a time of 18 minutes, 46 seconds, taking a first-place finish for the Wyverns on that day. Palmer believes this was her best performance of the season, and the numbers prove it. “I think I’ve performed the best at Canterbury,” she said. “There’s a lot of really great competition there. There were probably 100 people on the line, so a lot of girls were running and it’s a challenging course. It’s really a race that motivates you to keep going and never give up.”
Palmer had another excellent performance on Saturday, Oct. 7, against Westminster School and Williston Northampton School. The meet took place at the Wyverns’ home course, the West Hartford Reservoir, where Palmer, once again, dominated. She left her opponents in the dust, winning the entire race. Her first-place finish came with a time of 18:48 – an impressive feat made more impressive by the fact that this time was a full three minutes faster than the second-place runner.
Head Coach Tricia Watson praised Palmer and her work ethic. “She has put in a ton of summer work and summer training,” she said. “Her work ethic has gotten her to the point where she’s taken minutes off of her time this year.” Though she is not a captain, Palmer is still a major role model on the team and is seen as a leader by her teammates and coaches. “She’s being a captain in other ways, by showing what it takes to do the dynamics correctly, to show up with the right attitude, to be ready for a competition on the weekends,” Coach Watson said.
Heading into the championship season, Palmer will be a key contributor for the girls cross country team and their hopes to bring some more hardware back to KO. Palmer remains focused on what she can do to lower her times and help the team. “My goals are to stay competitive and lower my time even more, hopefully into the lower teens,” she said.
Palmer’s future as a runner is bright, and she is looking to continue her running career after her time at KO has concluded. “I’ve started reaching out to some schools,” she said. “I’m hoping that after the cross country season is over and we head into track season, I can establish some good times to get going for the recruitment process.”
Palmer has had an incredible season up to this point, and we hope she continues to dominate the courses and carry her momentum into the track and field season. We wish her the best of luck in this season and beyond!