Falmouth cross country teams ready to eye glory

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(Ed. Note: Johnny Lake is a senior at Falmouth High School and will be contributing periodic reports on the Yachtsmen’s cross country team and the sport in general during the upcoming season)

As the temperatures begin to subside and preseason practices begin for high school sports statewide, I find myself confronted with my second and final Falmouth High School cross country season.

Last year, the Falmouth boys ended up in third place in the state, which was good compared to our preseason projections, but we couldn’t help but feel that our endless effort and training went without sufficient results. Since the end of last season, my teammates and I have been telling ourselves that this could be the year all our hard work and dedication to the sport we love could finally be rewarded, but only if we work hard and keep our eyes on the prize.

So far this preseason, we look stronger and more experienced than last year. At this point in the year, co-coaches Danny Paul and Jorma Kurry simply have us run solid mileage to make sure our base we built up over the summer stays strong. Speed workouts and hill training will come in later in the year, once our bodies are ready to reap the benefits of such a workout. At this stage, it would only hurt us.

The top 5 returning boys from last year are junior Timothy Follo (who came in sixth in last year’s Class B state meet), myself (16th), and juniors Conor McGrory (27th), Thomas Edmonds (42nd) and Henry Briggs (44th).

The race for the sixth and seventh spots should be very close this year between juniors Sean Hodgdon and Toby Aicher and sophomores Azad Jalali, Tristan Tucker and Jay Lesser. Friendly competition within the team always makes everyone better and that will be an important aspect of our team’s success.

To be able to wake up every single morning and look forward to practice is a great feeling, one that hasn’t been duplicated by any other sport. To be around people who feel the same way about the sport makes it that much more meaningful. It’s one thing to be a strong cross country team, but to enjoy running at the same time is so much more fulfilling than being running robots. No doubt, the Falmouth boys are a lively, passionate bunch.

On the girls’ side, we also seem to be stronger than last year, returning five of the top seven runners from a team that placed fourth at the state meet last season.

Senior Maggie Parrish is the fastest returning girl, but the key to success for Falmouth will lie in the consistency of three sophomores. Abby Payson, Meg Palombo and Molly Ryan all had great freshman cross country seasons and will only improve this year.

Senior Sarah Abramson and juniors Emily Rand and Jena Mannette, along with sophomore Summer Greenwood can all duck in and out of the top seven at different points in the season, another instance of competition helping the greater good of the team. If the team can stay healthy, look for them at the front of the pack in the big meets.

Both Falmouth cross country teams are filled with strong runners who like to win, but we’re all drawn back to the sport because we love the people we meet and the experiences we have because of it. That’s what kept me coming back to the sport I now can proudly say I’m obsessed with.

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Falmouth’s Johnny Lake and his teammates are primed for a great season in 2010.

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