Belmont Hill and Winsor Cross Country Head into Championship Season

The Winsor and Belmont Hill cross country teams finished off their seasons strong, with members of both teams setting several personal records (PRs) throughout the fall, achieving both individual and team success. 

 Led by captains Claire Ackerman ’22, Raina Sohur ’23, and Zoe Lewis ’22, Winsor Cross Country had an outstanding season, going undefeated in the EIL, and proving to be a formidable opponent in larger invitational meets. Winsor record-setter and standout Meg Madison ’24 has won every league meet and nearly every invitational that she has run in, typically by large margins; the rest of the varsity pack has worked in tandem to secure victories. Winsor Cross Country concluded their EIL season on October 20 in the annual all-girls dual meet against Newton Country Day School and Dana Hall, hosted by Winsor at Franklin Park. As usual, the race was led by Madison, who secured a Winsor record at the home course in an outstanding time of 18:46. The rest of Winsor’s varsity runners worked to displace NCDS and Dana Hall runners, earning victories against both teams and a seventh consecutive undefeated EIL season. Impressive performances by Brenna Thomas ’26 and Lewis solidified Winsor’s victory as they passed key scorers from other teams in the final stretch of the race. Additionally, the incredible kick of rookie Iris Shen ’26 allowed her to earn a PR in every race by almost a minute each time. 

On Friday, November 5, Winsor Cross Country co-hosted the EIL championship race with Dana Hall at Franklin Park. Madison paced the race, securing a first-place finish with a time of 18:52. Winsor beat the competition handily, beating runner-up, NCDS, by 19 points. All five of Winsor’s scorers, Madison, Serena Toscani ’25, Sohur, Suzanne Pogorelec ’24, and Thomas finished within the top 15 of the race and were named ‘all-league.’ Winsor’s impressive performance earned a 6th consecutive and 17th total EIL championship title. 

While the team had less success at the Division I New England Championship race at Phillips Andover, finishing in seventh place, strong performances by both the varsity and JV teams allowed for both personal records and competitive races. Notably, Madison led the varsity race for Winsor, finishing in second place with a time of 18:52 and Caitlin Wang ’25 earned a PR of 23:31, finishing first for Winsor and 22nd overall in the JV race. Ackerman, Madison, Pogorelec, Ryan Fantasia ’24, Sohur, Thomas, and Toscani competed for varsity, while Caroline Shin ’26, Nora Furlong ’25, Jacey Jiang ’26, Lewis, Nicole Hwang ’23, Shen, and Wang ran in the JV race. 

Belmont Hill Cross Country, led by captains James Donahue ’22 and Thomas Romney ’22, also had a strong season. James earned course records at nearly every race, winning nearly every meet of the season and helping secure victories for the entire team. The team closed out the ISL season with a record of 12-4, having suffered losses against the strong Milton, Groton, Roxbury Latin, and Middlesex rosters. The Milton-Groton-RL-BH meet was especially devastating, as the team lost two of their top five runners to injury, including the number two runner Miles Sandoski ’24. However, the meet still resulted in some success for the team. Donahue shattered the 16:11 course record, running a spectacular 15:46 to win the race by 24 seconds. Additionally, Will Trautz  ’27, Nate Voss ’24, Aaron Stanger ’24, Arec Keomurjian ’22, Davis Woolbert ’25, and Angus Harrison ’24 all earned PRs.

During the ISL Championships held on November 5, the team ranked 3rd overall, avenging their losses to both Milton and Groton. James won the race by an extensive margin with a PR time of 15:09.76; he was only a few seconds away from setting another course record. Nearly everyone on the team set PRs, with several runners shaving 40-50 seconds from their previous best times. 

The New England Championships were less successful, with the team placing ninth after the loss of two top runners, Miles and Will, to injury. James proved yet again to be a formidable force in the world of cross country, placing second with a time of 15:36; the race served as his only loss of the season. He and Miles will continue training in hopes of qualifying for the Foot Locker National Champion, and The Panel wishes them the best of luck. 

After a difficult season without any in-person meets due to COVID-19 last year, it is very exciting to see both the Winsor and Belmont Hill teams not only being able to race again, but also competing at a high level and succeeding in their respective leagues. 


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