Girls Cross Country Goes Undefeated

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Girls Cross Country Goes Undefeated

Girls placed top 5 in Six-School Meet.

Girls placed top 5 in Six-School Meet.

Girls placed top 5 in Six-School Meet.

Girls placed top 5 in Six-School Meet.

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“WE DID IT!!” wrote Greg Tuleja in an email to all the girls on the Cross Country team. His excitement was about the team finishing its season undefeated with a win in the six-school meet.

The meet, held at Berkshire, consisted of teams from Berkshire, Millbrook, Miss Hall’s, Suffield, Westover, and Canterbury. Due to the last minute forfeit from Suffield, the girls were 8-0 going into their last race of the season.

The race day temperature was around 50 degrees with some puddles on the course due to the rain from the day before. Despite this, the girls pulled through and won by a huge margin against all their opponents.

Abigail Touhey ’22, Anna Richardson ’21, and Jordyn Meunier ’21 placed top five in the race against 56 runners, each receiving a pumpkin for their accomplishment. Abigail came in first, Anna came in second, and Jordyn finished fifth overall.

The team consists of 26 runners coached by Martha McCullagh, Math teacher, and Greg Tuleja, Academic Dean of Students. The season kicked off with the girls sweeping a win over Kent with the first eight runners finishing the race being from Williston.

Team member Lily Harris ’20 was so proud of the girls.

“We had a great season, we got some new strong runners, and everyone from last year improved a lot. I am happy that my senior year our team went undefeated,” Lily said.

The girls placed first at the Shaler invitational for the first time since 2008. They also placed second in the Westminster Invitational, with the girls making history for being the first cross country team to beat 13 teams in one season. The girls have not gone undefeated since 2008, and in Tuleja’s coaching experience of 37 years at Williston, this is only the third time his team has gone undefeated.

In an email after the race, Coach McCullagh expressed her pride in the team.

“Very impressive! Mr. T and I are both so excited tonight,” she wrote. “What a day for Williston Cross Country – first time ever at 13-0.  You all did it in impressive fashion today.  There were even two personal bests!”

Madison Hamilton, a new junior, expressed the importance of mental strength in cross country running.

“I think that when people think of running, they think that it is a really tough physical challenge,” she said, “but in reality it’s a mental challenge because you have to get yourself through the race and practices even though you want to stop.”

Madison added that the girls were ready to work hard all season when it was asked of them.

“When we knew we needed to, we stepped up so we could pull through in the end and win the race week after week,” she said.

Rachel Goodman ’20, one of the captains, said the addition of new members really helped shape the team.

“We got a lot of new runners that added a lot of speed to the team,” she said, “but also the new members helped create a unified team, and we all support each other.”

Abigail Touhey ’21, the fastest runner on the team, believed the higher intensity workouts accounted in part for the team’s success.

“I know Mrs. McCullagh bumped up the training this year, and we had good running groups and good team chemistry,” she said.

Abigail chopped off a minute from her home course personal record this year 20:18, and is looking forward to chasing the home course record of 19:22 next year.

“Well, I was surprised because I didn’t do as well last year,” she said. “I just got better because I trained over the summer really hard going into the season.”

The girls placed fourth overall in the New England Championships with four girls on varsity running a personal best, including Abigail, who broke 20 minutes with a time of 19:45.

Anna Richardson, a junior captain, loves the team for its drive and spirit.

“It’s a group of individuals that want to do well both for the team and for themselves, individually,” she stated. “So they kind of have like a double force, because you are racing both against the other team and also against the clock.”

By placing in the top 20, Anna (7th place) and Abigail (4th place) qualified to run in the All Star Meet hosted by St. Marks.

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