Hanson resident Abbie Newman is a junior co-captain on Bentley University’s cross country team.
Abbie Newman remembers her freshman year at Whitman-Hanson Regional High well. But the first few weeks, predominantly, come to mind.
“I got into cross country because my mom ran,” said Newman, who hails from Hanson. “I was just like, ‘Whatever, I’ll try it.’ But I got through the first couple of weeks of practices and was like, ‘This is horrible.’”
After that, she was ready to quit.
“It was so much work and I didn’t think I could do it,” Newman said. “It was a lot.”
But those feelings were altered over time because of her supporting cast.
“Coach Keith Erwin (former Whitman-Hanson cross country coach) and my teammates kept me going,” Newman said. “They just kept pushing me.”
And Newman said she’s thankful they did keep her running. If they didn’t, she wouldn’t have been elected as a junior captain this fall for Bentley University women’s cross country team.
“Being voted as a captain is probably my greatest accomplishment,” Newman said. “It gives me a lot of confidence.”
Newman admits her results weren’t what she wanted them to be last season, as she battled through some dietary issues, but her work ethic and upbeat attitude at practice never wavered, according to her coach.
“She leads by example,” said Bentley women’s cross country head coach Kevin Curtin. “Just week in and week out she does the work, and takes care of things academically. She shows up to practice and does what she’s supposed to do and she just consistently goes out and does it.”
Being a captain has many different responsibilities.
“We lead the practices, all the stretches and running with them and making them feel comfortable with our training,” Newman said. “They also come to us with a lot of questions based on academics.”
Curtin said Newman raises the bar for the newcomers.
“The freshmen look to her and see her and know what they should be striving for,” said the coach.
Newman is still a key contributor on the course. In the Bentley’s latest race, the Capital Cross Challenge out in Sacramento, California, held on Sept. 28, Newman was the third Falcon to cross the finish line with a time of 24:28.3.
“I’m really looking to stay healthy and be a contributing member of the team and be at least top four or top five,” she said.
Now, six years later, when Newman reflects on those first few weeks of her freshman year of high school, she does it with a chuckle.
“I just think it’s funny now and looking back realizing that thank God I didn’t quit,” Newman said.