Parish Hill cross-country sets sights on growth
By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Chaplin - posted Thu., Sep. 20, 2012
The Pirates cross country team has not a single senior of either gender this year, but Parish Hill coach Richard Gogan is looking on the bright side. “That means I’ll have them all next year and pick up some more,” he said.
Three senior girls left the squad last June at commencement, leaving behind a young team that will offer plenty of opportunity for growth in the next few seasons. Ten of Gogan’s 14 runners are girls, and their captain, Samantha Card, is just a sophomore. But the coach said he doesn’t judge leadership ability by age. “I don’t really care about the grade [they’re in],” he said. “What I care about is hard work. I want to make sure [team captains] can lead the workouts.”
Junior Cassidy Allen is one of Gogan’s veteran runners. She’s joined on the squad by fellow juniors Angellina Martinez and Emily Burr.
Junior Daniel Caron, the oldest runner for the boys’ squad, captains a team made up of three sophomores: Nick Harrington, Justin Lanham and Dylan Clark, the only new runner.
As the coach of two separate squads with a wide disparity of ability levels, Gogan will draw from his decade-plus of coaching experience. “We have an 18-minute 5K runner and a 22-minute 5K runner. You have to break it down for them when you’re coaching two teams,” he said.
“The biggest challenge is getting them to believe they can do it,” Gogan said of his runners. “Most of them have never run before. You have to build them right from the ground up and take your time.”
Gogan, who is in his 11th season coaching cross country at Parish Hill, also coaches track at the school. He said he expects the team to face challenges from Classical Magnet High School as well as Windham Tech in their league.
He brought his squad to the Haddad Windham Invitational last weekend, and they were on tap to run this week’s Going to the Sun Invite as well as the Oct. 6 Wickham Invite, widely regarded as a dry run for post-season state competition. The Pirates’ sole remaining home meet is Nov. 11 against Windham Tech.