Cross-country athletes embrace team mentality

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Thu., Sep. 27, 2012
Glastonbury's Stephanie Pagan crosses the finish line at the cross-country meet vs. Windsor, Weaver and East Catholic at Northwest Park in Windsor on Sept. 24. Photos by Steve Smith.
Glastonbury's Stephanie Pagan crosses the finish line at the cross-country meet vs. Windsor, Weaver and East Catholic at Northwest Park in Windsor on Sept. 24. Photos by Steve Smith.

Glastonbury High School girls' cross-country team is just that – a team, in what is often thought of as an individual sport. “There's no star,” said coach Brian Collins, adding that the top five runners on the team have consistently had a gap of less than a minute in their times.

Collins said he and his staff try to get the athletes to work with each other, and off of each other. “We try to keep that gap close between our top five or seven runners,” he said. “They've worked very hard at that. It doesn't matter if one's ahead of the other one; they just want to make sure they're up there together as a group. If you're being pushed time and time again, each one improves and the team gets better.”

Collins said the team is younger than teams in recent years, and the top five finishers are typically mostly underclassmen. Top runners include Kaitlyn Hebert, Kristen Arborio, Anna Orientale, Sarah Tobias, Mari Larcheveque, Kathleen Carney, Cat Orientale and Cami Santor, but Collins said there is another group of runners right behind them that, with hard work, can also have an impact.

The team went 17-0 in meets last year on its way to a CCC championship, second place in the Class LL state meet and seventh in the state open. To approach similar success, Collins said perennially strong teams in the LL like Ridgefield and Simsbury will be good measuring sticks.

“We've shown we have the opportunity to be very close to them,” he said. “It's a matter of how well we progress for the rest of the season, and how well we stay healthy.”

The team has meets at Simsbury on Oct. 2 and at the Wickham Park Invitational on Oct. 6. For a complete schedule, visit www.casciac.org.


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