Girls and Boys Cross Country Lose to Natick in Season Opener By Rachel Stanton

Walpole Cross Country opened their seasons with a loss to Natick on the 5k course at Elm Bank Reservation on Sept. 12.

The girls lost by 12 points, with a score of 22-34, and the boys lost by five points with a score of 25-30.

“I was initially fairly disappointed and discouraged by the loss. I had higher expectations for the outcome of the race going into it due to the hard training everyone has done this summer,” sophomore Mia Costa said. “However, later I realized that the loss would be a motive for us to improve as the season progresses.”

The varsity girls go off for their first race of the season at Elm Bank Reservation. (Photo/ David Forester)

Despite Grace Connolly, the 2017 Division 1 All State Champion, sidelined, Connolly’s younger sister Katherine stepped up to clinch first place for Natick with a personal record of 18:50 for the 5k. Her teammates Genna Girard and Mary Dougherty followed behind her to sweep the meet.

Costa was the first finisher for Walpole, coming in at 20:32 with senior captain Caroline McGrath, sophomore Danielle Dentremont, junior Colleen Barry and freshman Cate Stanton behind her to score Walpole’s 34 points.

“Although some were disappointed [from the loss], the team didn’t let it phase our positive attitude and saw it as a way to motivate us going into the rest of the season,” Costa said. “I think we will learn from this loss and work on our weaknesses as a team.”

Costa, McGrath and senior Camille LoGiudice fight Natick to get ahead of the pack. (Photo/ David Forester)

In order to have a successful season, Costa believes the team needs to conquer more mindful obstacles than physical.

“I think our team should work on our fear of failure. Most of us are afraid to have a bad race, or underestimate our abilities as runners as well as an entire team,” Costa said.

Overall, this season, the girls look to win as many meets as they can and place in the top four at divisionals to make it back to the All State meet for the third year in a row.

The boys stride across the field to begin their meet against Natick. (Photo/ David Forester)

On the boys side, Natick senior Connor Giersch was the top runner of the day, completing the 5k course in 16:25. Walpole junior Tyler Sullivan came in shortly after scoring two points for the Rebels with a time of 16:46, followed by Shane Grant, Nathan Schnaider, Anthony Borelli and Ryan Stockwell, all of which ran at Divisonals last fall.

“Coming into the meet, we knew it would be close. It really could’ve gone either way,” Borelli said.

Junior Dan Forester rounds a corner in the boys 5k. (Photo/ David Forester)

Despite the boys' loss, they were able to see benefits from this meet and look forward to racing against Natick in the future.

“We will end up seeing Natick again in the post-season and next time around we will be seeking redemption,” Borelli said.

In the future, the boys look to improve their pack running to decrease the time between their first runner and their seventh runner and focus on small changes they can make to better the team.

“Little things, like working on beating the man in front of you in each race, can go a long way for our team,” Borelli said. “I’m certain we will get our redemption soon.”

Freshman Cara Morris runs her first high school 5k in 22:35.

Both teams will run their next race back at Elm Bank Reservation against Wellesley, Newton North and Framingham on Sept. 26, looking for their first wins of the season.

“I know every single person on this team is full of potential,” Costa said. “I’m excited to see who fulfills their potential in this next meet and throughout our season.”


Photos/ David Forester

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