By Erica Ladler (Editor in Chief).
It may have been little more than half the length of their usual race, but it was enough to show the league who to watch out for this season.
The Sharon High School cross-country teams’ performances in five 1.55-mile co-ed varsity races, two junior varsity opens, and one freshman heat at the Hockomock Jamboree in Borderland last Tuesday unveiled a speed and endurance sure to serve them well in the season ahead.
The five top Sharon girls clocked in with an summative time nearly a minute faster than the sum time for any of the other eleven schools in the Hock, earning them first place, while the boys’ team raced into fourth.
“For the girls, we won a…decisive victory,” said Coach Phil Gingras. “We had multiple girls in the top five of their races, which is a pretty big accomplishment.”
Gingras adds that he was surprised the meet was not more of a battle. “I had expected that North Attleboro, OA, and Franklin would put up more of a fight. But I knew we could win,” he said.
The girls’ team won even without varsity runner and junior Ana Morrison; their top five runners were Junior Ari Tolay (9:36), Junior Maria Gieg (9:59), Senior Captain Erica Laidler (10:10), Freshman Eliana Hershman (10:30), and Sophomore Dana Jaffe (10:32). Several other runners showed impressive promise, including Senior Captain Sydney Mayo (10:32), Sophomore Catherine Griffin (10:41), and Freshman Juliana Dudziak (11:10).
Sophomore Dana Jaffe says she was fairly satisfied with her race, though she wishes she had sped up sooner and beaten the girl slightly ahead of her.
But she says that a cheerful team spirit contributed to the positive outcome of the day. “Everyone was cheering on all the races and supporting each other,” she said. “When we were doing [our] workout after the race, we ran by the speakers and this woman was just casually announcing that [we had won], but I felt relieved and accomplished and so happy.”
Freshman Kavya Anbarasu, who ran the freshman race in 11:32, says she was surprised by how challenging meets are, but has also been impressed by the girls’ team’s inclusive and tight-knit dynamic. “Everyone there world listen if you had a bad day or if you wanted to share a funny story,” said Anbarasu.
Several members of the boys’ team also demonstrated improvement and promise. The top five runners crossed the finish in 8:04 (Senior Captain Terry Sun), 8:29 (Junior Grant Fawcett), 8:40 (Sophomore Kanishka Sethi), 9:01 (Junior Vishal Kalakonnavar), and 9:02 (Senior Captain Sam Hershman).
“The team did what they were supposed to do, which is their job and run their own race. That’s all we have to focus on right now,” said Junior Grant Fawcett. “If you do your job, the team will succeed.”
Junior Rayan Rashid says he is happy both with his own performance (a personal record) and the team’s. “Everyone ran their best,” said Rashid. “Going in we were all hyped and excited with it being our first meet against the other teams in the Hock.”
Jingras says he was pleased by the drastically faster times achieved across the board on the boys’ team. “[Several kids ran] 45 or more seconds faster than the year before, which is a huge improvement,” said Jingras.
Junior Maria Gieg says she wasn’t expecting this victory, unlike Jingras, “even though I know our team is capable of great things.”
“It just seemed too ambitious, especially without our number two runner, but I’m so proud of what we have accomplished and I know we can continue this winning streak through the season to league championships,” said Gieg.