Deep Walpole Boys XC Team Seeks Divisional Meet Redemption


Boys Cross Country Captains pose for a picture before their meet against Milton.

Anna Van der Linden

Boys Cross Country Captains pose for a picture before their meet against Milton (Photo/ Max Simons).


After finishing third in the Herget behind Wellesley and Natick, Walpole Boys Cross Country (7-4) almost pulled off an underdog upset at their Division III Meet last year.  In fact, they came within one second of qualifying as a team for All-States. In order to qualify a team for the All-State Meet, the team must place in the top four out of about twenty-five teams.

They finished fifth.

Although Walpole had no individual runner qualify for All-States (The top 20 runners automatically qualified for All-States), their near-miss as a team showed impressive depth for a group that lacked the top-end talent of someone like graduate Zach Ganshirt.  Similar to last year, this year’s team seems to be defined by that same formula.  It should be no surprise that their number one goal this year is to achieve what eluded them last year: qualifying for the All-State Meet.

“This goal is very reasonable for a talented team like Walpole,” said senior Captain Billy Heiberger.  “We are looking for all underclassmen to push themselves to get a spot in the top seven, and we have strong seniors like Joe Keough, Brendan Wohler, and Mike Orsi who are essential to winning the Class Meet.”

After losses to Needham and Newton North at last week’s meet and a 17-46 win against Milton on September 11, Walpole Boys Cross Country has opened the season with a 1-2 record.

Against a weak Milton team, the Walpole runners swept the top four spots with a strong senior pack up front. Seniors Mike Orsi, Brendan Wohler, Joe Keough and Billy Heiberger took the top four spots with times that ranged from 16:49-16:55.  Sophomore Luke Berardinelli finished 5th with a time of 17:10.

“The team is deep, and we are returning four out of last year’s top seven,” said Head Coach Timothy Giblin.  “There are a few new faces sprinkled in, and there should be some competition for the top seven spots which is always good.”

In addition to the underclassmen like Berardinelli and sophomore Jack Bushway, senior Nick Hayden and juniors such as Andrew Wheeler and Christian Carr-Locke will be competing for varsity spots.  Throughout the season, the team lineup most likely will vary somewhat based on a number of factors.  Injuries, improvements, peaking, internal competition, race-plans — these all will mostly likely affect the meet-to-meet lineups; however, if they are going to make All-States, they need to find the right formula of these factors to make an impact at the Divisional Meet.

“On the day of the class meet, or any meet, there shouldn’t be one expected winner from Walpole, because one of the guys will step up and win,” said Heiberger,  “That’s what we need, a team with every guy to be able to step up when it’s their time.”