Injury-Riddled Cross Country Team Falls Shorts of ISL Title

The cross country team enjoyed a successful season, finishing the season 9-6 before placing seventh at the ISL championship. Each day of the week, the team would train hard during practice, with speed focus on Mondays, long distance practice on Tuesdays, hill work on Wednesdays, and course loops on Thursdays, before doing a shake-out run and yoga on Fridays. Early in the season, the team had the look of a title-contender, barely losing to Middlesex and Groton; however, the team suffered many injuries, decimating their title hopes. Indeed, with Quin McGaugh running on an injured foot, Rohan Dhir struggling through a pulled hamstring, and Matt Armstrong, Harrison Rohrer, Sean Rayment, and Cam Hall just not feeling their best, it is amazing that the team was still able to compete with the top of the league, showing the depth of the group. At the top of the ladder, John Pappo was the team’s rock throughout the season; he had a great year, setting a few course records and ultimately finishing fourth at the ISL championship, earning all-league honors. Quin McGaugh, Rohan Dhir, Cam Hall, Will Weiter, and Juan Carlos Fernandez-del Castillo formed the next tier and placed in the top twenty of nearly every race. After that, Matt Smith, Sean Rayment, Matt Armstrong, Harrison Rohrer, Ethan McIlhenny, Jake DeCaprio, and Henry Swain ran in both varsity races and JV races. With that many strong runners, it is no surprise that the team did not crumble when faced with the adversity of so many injuries. Whereas other schools really had no outstanding runners after their top seven, Swain, who was the top JV runner at the ISL championship, would have been on the varsity team for eleven out of fifteen other teams and would have been the #1 runner at Lawrence Academy, based off the times for that race. If the team had not been afflicted by so many injuries, there is little doubt that Belmont Hill would have won the ISL championship. Moreover, with so many experienced runners returning next year and the addition of middle schooler Charlie Donahue to the fold, the Hill will be the favorite to win the league next year. The seniors on this year’s team supplied outstanding leadership for the team through their example and their talent, and they will be sorely missed; the team will win the championship next year in your honor!

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