RL’s Varsity Cross Country team ran its way to a second place finish within a field of 16 teams at the ISL Championships at Groton School on Friday, November 4, 2016. Conditions at Groton were ideal for a cross country race with temperatures in the mid-50s, sun, and a slight breeze.
After finishing 11-6 during the dual-meet season, the team headed to the starting line hoping to avenge some earlier losses to ISL opponents and finish among the top four or five teams in the field. Running strong and smooth, each of RL’s seven runners found his place in the pack of 111 runners, just as the team had planned earlier in the week. As the race developed, the team continued to run a smart race with every team member running a gritty final mile and closing the gap on their opponents.
Ben Lawlor (Class II) and Ian Kelly (Class I) earned second and third place overall, helping to lead the team to its best finish at the ISL Championship in the last ten years. While RL's top two runners capped off a spectacular race, all Varsity runners beat their predicted performance to help secure the team's second place finish. Will Connaughton (Class II) ran a personal best on his way to finishing third for RL and 21st overall. Captain Xander Boyd (Class I) and Daniel Gillis (Class IV) rounded out the Varsity's top five by placing 29th and 37th. RL’s sixth and seventh runners, Robert Crawford (Class II) and Danny Penella (Class I), also achieved personal bests and finished in the top half of the field, placing 38th and 51st, respectively.
In the JV race at the ISL Championships, all five of RL's scoring JV runners medaled individually (by finishing among the top-15). Javi Werner (Class V) placed first for RL and eighth overall; Jim McCoy (Class I) placed second for RL and tenth overall; Erik Zou (Class III) placed third for RL and 11th overall; George Madison (Class VI) placed fourth for RL and 12th overall; and Lucas Zheng (Class III) placed fifth for RL and 15th overall.
RL Cross Country’s strong finish in both the Varsity and JV races serves as an affirmation of the teams’ adaptation of a new, program-wide philosophy (designed by Coach Poles, Coach Heaton, Coach Dromgoole and Coach Guerra), which has helped groom an invigorated batch of runners across all levels.
The program looks to carry its success into the New England Championships hosted by Tabor Academy at Washburn Park in Marion, Massachusetts this Saturday, November 12. The Varsity race will start at 1:15 PM, and the JV race will start at 2:45 PM. Roll Foxes!