Girls' cross-country team looks to rebuild

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Wed., Sep. 26, 2012
Captains Hannah Partney, Vanessa Corrao and Sarah Robbins stretch before a run. Photos by Christian Mysliwiec.
Captains Hannah Partney, Vanessa Corrao and Sarah Robbins stretch before a run. Photos by Christian Mysliwiec.

This is Dani Kennedy's first year as head coach for the Manchester High School girls' cross-country team. She had been assistant coach for two years, and now takes the helm of a team that is rebuilding after losing some prominent athletes last year.

However, the team is bolstered by a strong group of incoming underclassmen. “We have some really good freshmen,” said Kennedy. As of now, Kennedy plans to run three freshmen in varsity races.

Kennedy has strong support from the top three varsity runners, who are also the team captains. “Hannah Partney is our number-one runner,” said Kennedy. The senior had an early season injury, but bounced back.

“My second-fastest is a junior, Sarah Robins,” Kennedy said. “She's very strong, and getting stronger every day. My third-fastest runner is also a senior, Vanessa Carrao,” she said.

Kennedy can rely on Partney, Robins and Carrao for fast times, as well as solid leadership. “They are my best runners and my best leaders,” she said.

The captains themselves are optimistic about the team. “I think the team has really come together and really bonded,” said Partney.

“We’re a young team, but there’s a lot of talent. We’re all working towards personal bests,” said Robins.

“I think we’re going to do well. We’re young, but we have lots of potential,” said Carrao. “By the end of the year, we’ll be an improved team.”

This is assistant coach Ashley Bell’s first year, as well. “I love these girls, and it’s tons of fun,” she said.

Kennedy has enjoyed her transition to head coach, and enjoys working with the team. “This is the nicest group of girls in the school,” she said. “They're terrific. And they have a long history of being a terrific group of girls – it's something that they pass along, regardless of whether they're winning or losing. I'm happy to be part of this group.”

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