Another cross country season has crossed the finish line at Whitman-Hanson Regional High.
Andrew Newman led the way for the boys’ team, which wound up with a 4-3 record. The senior was unbeatable in his first four meets, as he raced to first-place finishes in every single one. He also set four personal records throughout the fall. Steve George, who serves as the head coach for both the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams, said Newman is self-motivated, extremely hard working and just loves to run.
“You can’t teach that,” George said. “Andrew’s consistent improvement is a result of his effort over and above what we ask for. With high school runners, we’d ordinarily see a drop off in performance given the number of miles a runner like Andrew logs each week. We have not seen that in Andrew. He thrives on high mileage.”
Not only did Newman have a season to remember, many of his teammates did as well. Fellow senior captain Jack Ryan finished the fall boasting seven top-five finishes and sophomore Adam Solari improved on his numbers significantly from a year ago, as did classmate Brandon Hager. Freshman newcomers Liam Cafferty, Theo Kamperides, Chris MacDonald and Aiden O’Brien were all welcome sights as well.
Cafferty and Kamperdies ended the season as two of the Panthers’ top-five runners.
“The only rest they’ve had, if you can call it rest, is when they run a shorter distance in the invitational meets,” George said. “Otherwise, they do every workout, every day and it’s paid off for them.”
George said his club’s biggest strength over the past few months was the leadership it received from its captains Alex Uva and Ryan.
“They provide examples of achieving results through determination and effort,”George said. “Coaches provide instruction and structure, but high school athletes are motivated best by their peers and in cross country we have some very good ones in those seniors.”
Girls race to 3-4 mark
The girls’ team, which finished at 3-4, it was in a lot of close meets, as three of its losses came by 15 or fewer points. One runner who stood out from the rest was Nicole Norve. The senior captain hustled to a first-place finish in five of the Panthers’ seven races. Her second-place finishes came against Plymouth North on Oct. 17 when she crossed the finish line one second out of the top spot, and on Oct. 24 against Plymouth South when she lost to eventual league MVP Jillian Callaghan by 17 ticks. George said Norve is as fierce as a competitor as there gets.
“She wants to improve every time out and loves a challenge,” George said. “Nicole’s success may stem from the fact that she is strong enough to run hard virtually every day, recover, and do it again the next.”
But it takes more than one runner to be competitive, and W-H had no problem with that. Seniors Julia Cosgrave and Camryn Boyce were about were steady presences all season.
“Julia and Camryn were consistent 2/3 for the team this year,” George said. “I’ll miss both of them next year certainly.”
Coming into the season, one of George’s goals was to have his runners achieve their own milestones, and that came to fruition. 16 of the 20 girls established personal records with two of the remaining four out much of the season with injury.
As the Panthers look toward next autumn – when this wave of juniors will be looked upon to carry the load – there is a lot to be excited about.
“Maeve Rooney has steadily improved in each of her three years, while Maeve McDonough has moved into our top 5 with an improvement of three minutes over last year,” George explained. “Dorothy DiMascio-Donahue, an indoor and outdoor sprinter/hurdler who joined cross country this year, scored in nearly every meet this fall.”