Girls XC Grows Despite Loss


The top Walpole runner at the end of the first mile trails Natick’s third runner. (Photo/Luke Witherell)

Amanda McManus

The top Walpole runner at the end of the first mile trails Natick's third runner. (Photo/Luke Witherell)

   The Girls Cross Country team lined across the start mark for their first meet of the 2011 season this past week against one of their most challenging opponents, Natick.  The girls fought for a spot in the front as they charged with a powerful sprint up the hill, out of sight, and into the forest for a majority of the 2.57 mile home course. The Walpole girls approached the first race of the year with much effort, but suffered a loss against Natick with a final score of 23-38.

The runners neared the finish up the notorious Porker Hill with two Natick runners in the lead.  Sophomore Kristen Coyne, one of the top runners for the 2011 season, spurred out from the forest with a few seconds gap behind the two leading opponents. Following some seconds behind, junior Megan Peterson drove up Porker Hill with a Natick runner not too far behind her. The competition was cutting close as sophomore Rachael Barry took the hill – in 6th place.

As the girls approach the last 350 meter sprint towards the finish line, Peterson filled the gap between Coyne, claiming a solid third place with Coyne in fourth and Barry bolting in not too far behind taking sixth place. Senior Captain Joanna Garry, sophomore Gabbi Pettruziello, and senior Captain Paola Yerxa followed after some more Natick runners. Pettruziello finished strong in 12th place, Garry took 13th, and Yerxa came in at 14th.  Sophomore Casey Ganshirt and senior Captain Lindsey Wassel placed 17th and 19th, respectively.      The girls performed to the best of their ability and paved the road for the rest of the season after a meet against a difficult team.

Expectations for the 2011 Cross Country season are high, but the team lost 6 of their top varsity runners because of graduation. With a record last year of 8-3, the Girls Varsity team had the best record in Walpole’s history. The team must truly step up to the challenge to become what they were last year, and perhaps transcend that.

    The program has been happy to welcome two new assistant coaches – Coach Gillian Quann and Coach Adam Scipione.  The new coaches will hopefully aid in the progress of the new varsity team. Overall, Head Coach Jamie Farrell is satisfied with the girls performance against Natick and holds a positive outlook on the rest of the season.  “We’re lucky to compete against tough teams,” says Farrell, “it’s good to see what’s out there.” She claims the program is about giving the girls a good experience and helping the team grow, especially targeting the current sophomore class – who hold high potential. Farrell hopes for the seniors this year to to break the Walpole course records on the home course and for all the girls to break their personal records as well.
     The 2011 captains – Garry, Yerxa, and Wassel – hope to become a strong team athletically, and build great friendships among the team.  “We motivate each other to do well each day in practice,” said Garry.  The Walpole team possesses a fervent will to succeed and an endurance that will be put to the test in the 2011 Cross Country season.