Boys XC Strenghtens Their Wolf Pack

A Walpole runner competes in the Frank Kelley Invitational

A Walpole runner competes in the Frank Kelley Invitational

Gina Conti

A Walpole runner competes in the Frank Kelley Invitational.

A pack of wolves relies on each other and their endless endurance to wear down their competitors. They do not have raw power at the start, but with excellent fitness and perfect technique, the pack will overcome their opposition and be there in the end.  At the start, they control the pack through organization and cooperation.  As the race becomes ruthless, they are focused on forceful domination and superiority. It is not necessary that the pack is as strong as they impel, but because of their organization and determination, the hunt can be successful. The wolves tend to start and guide most pack activities—leading the pack when traveling, deciding when and where to make their moves.

 The Walpole Boys Cross Country team exemplifies a wolf pack—overpowering in the final mile and determined near the finish line.  In the cross country sphere, only seven runners are allowed to compete in the varsity race.  Thus, the Walpole boys’ team currently has over seven athletes competing for a spot on the lineup.  Senior Sean Herlihy is arguably the fastest runner on the team and has claimed the top spot for himself. However, junior Anthony DiVirgilio is on his heels, holding the second fastest 5,000 meter time behind Herlihy.  Running behind DiVirgilio is senior Captain Kevin Delaney.  Because these three runners have attained the top three, there are four open positions to be taken.  Sophomores Joe Keough, Mike Orsi, and Brendan Wohler have continued to finish collectively—showing why they should be the next three.  Though these sophomore boys show potential to run varsity, junior Jon Kelland is determined to join the squad as well.  Kelland is currently coming off of a knee injury and continues to become stronger every week.  Senior Andrew Single and junior Pat Connell have been constantly switching off for the seventh and eight positions for the team. 

 On Thursday, September 27, the Cross Country team competed against Milton at Houghton’s Pond.  At the start of the 2.9 mile race, Herlihy immediately took the lead along with Milton’s captain. DiVirgilio and Delaney followed to set a quick pace around the pond. Orsi, Wohler, Kelland, and Keough formed a threatening pack to defend Milton.  Although the boys were racing against Milton, they were also racing against each other for the race for a top seven positions.  Connell and senior Alex Fraser ran together, finishing as the eighth and ninth runners on the team.  Herlihy crossed the finish line to take first for the Rebels with a time of 16:22.  DiVirgilio finished second for the team, but third overall behind a determined Milton runner.  Delaney finished fourth (17:06), Orsi taking fifth (17:14), and Wohler sixth (17:27).  Kelland managed to take the last varsity place in the Milton meet crossing at 17:27.  The Rebels beat the Wildcats 17-44.

 Saturday September 29, the Cross Country team traveled to Wrentham to compete in the Frank Kelley Invitational.  Coach Tim Giblin brought a mix of freshman, junior varsity, and varsity runners.  At the start of the meet, freshman Kevin Riley was the only boy to compete in the 1.9 mile freshman race.  Riley finished 77 overall out of 221 boys, with a time of 11:56.7.  In the junior varsity race, five boys competed in the 5,000 meter race.  Single and Connell led the Walpole boys with times of 18:23 and 18:25.  Following Single and Connell was junior Mikey Van Der Linden; he crossed the line at 18:40.  The fourth runner to compete in the junior varsity race was senior Nick Culhane.  Culhane finished with a time of 18:56.  Finishing up the Rebel runners was senior Alex Fraser, finishing with a time of 19:13.

 In the highly competitive varsity race, the Rebels dominated. Herlihy fought for his lead position at the start of the race against the other Walpole competitors.  He finished 52nd overall out of 232 runners with a time of 17:44.  DiVirgilio and Wohler ran together for most of the race with DiVirgilio pushing through the last mile to beat Wohler, running a time of 17:27; Wohler finished at 17:40.  Delaney and Wohler have been racing back and forth between each another for the third and fourth place on the varsity squad.  Wohler beat Delaney at the invitational, but, against Milton, Delaney came out on top.  Delaney ended up finishing with a time of 17:52.  Behind Delaney, Orsi finished fifth for the Rebels, crossing the line at 18:06.  Taking sixth was Kelland with a time of 18:11, and seventh for Walpole was Keough, 18:31.

 Competing in two meets in two days, the entire team was fatigued. But the wolf pack must fight to earn their place no matter how rough the conditions are.  On Tuesday, October 2, the team will be heading to Needham to run at Cutler Park.  Walpole will compete against Needham and Newton North.  In past years, Newton North has always been a very strong team, but with a new varsity team in the hands of Coach Giblin, the boys have a new determination that the Carey foes may not be able to match.