Parish Hill building cross-country team
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Chaplin - posted Tue., Aug. 30, 2011
Richard Grogan has coached the men's and women's cross-country teams at Parish Hill High School for 10 years. “I’m the longest-tenured coach at the school,” he said.
On Saturday, Aug. 27, Grogan met at the school with his incoming team for 2011-2012, for their first official practice of the new season. Among the group of runners was Daniel Caron.
Caron has been involved in distance running since elementary school. When attending Chaplin Elementary, “we would have scrimmages against Hampton and Scotland,” said Caron. Caron was involved in the cross-country program throughout middle school. Last year, his freshman year at Parish Hill High School, Caron was All-Conference, and participated in the All-State tourney.
Concentrating on the 5K, Caron’s goal is to continue to work on his times and improve his performance at this year’s state conference. Toward that end, Caron has been running throughout the summer. “I had to work,” he said, “so I ran about three days a week.” In mid-August, Caron attended Granite State Running Camp in New Hampshire. There, he upped his schedule in preparation for the new season, running twice a day for an average of between 5 and 9 miles per day.
Last year, Caron was the only boy on the Parish Hill cross-country team. This year, he was joined by two new freshman runners on opening day. “The program has really grown,” said Grogan. “We’ve grown from having no program at all 10 years ago to having our own course. Our average number of members is right around 15.” The number of students in the top three grades at Parish Hill is around 70. “The percentage that come out for sports is impressive,” said Grogan.
Last year, the team graduated Kelly Labanara, a team captain and an All-Star runner averaging a 22-minute 5K, according to Grogan. “We have people who can step up and fill her spot,” said Grogan. “I think we’ll be a more balanced team this year.”
Aug. 27 brought three new runners to the practice. “A lot of these kids are returners,” said Grogan. “I don’t know what we’ll have this year. That’s the best part about cross-country - finding out what you have at the beginning of the year and building from there.”