Girls' Cross Country - Varsity
Suffield Academy
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Loss 30-25
Taft hosted Suffield and Miss Porter’s on an unseasonably warm afternoon for our first race of the year. Girls from all three teams battled over our tough 3-mile course and shared celebratory post-race brownies! In the varsity scoring, last season’s returning Founders League All-Stars Hanna Murphy ’18 and Claudia Vira ’18 led the way for Taft, finishing 3rd and 5th overall respectively with times of 21:39 and 22:24. Both girls made significant improvements in time over their previous season’s opening races and looked strong out on the course. Murphy ran in a tight trio with a runner each from Suffield and Porter’s throughout all three miles, and all three girls turned in impressive times on our challenging course. Vira hung back from the front pack in order to help along teammate Lexi Cafiero ’18, new to the cross country team but not new to Vira, as the two are also teammates on the rink in the winter season. Vira and Cafiero worked together over the final half mile of the course to each pass one additional runner, moving them from 6th and 7th to 5th and 6th. Cafiero ended up 3rd for the team and 6th overall in her cross country debut, with a speedy time of 22:29. Finishing out the varsity scoring were returners Michelle Lian ’20 (10th overall, 23:05) and Katie Bootsma ’20 (13th overall, 24:03). Lian had a particularly strong race today, finishing the highest she ever has for the Taft team and tying her 2016 season best time in the first race of this season! Bootsma felt the effects of the heat but gutted out a finish for her team, knowing that her fellow runners were depending on her score. Newcomer Kate Zhang ’20 surprised the coaching staff with a 6th place team finish (15th overall, 24:11), and veteran Haley Barr ’18 conquered the hills as the team’s 7th varsity runner (16th overall, 24:20). Though the varsity team was not able to pull out a win against perennially strong Suffield, we lost in a close score of 30-25 and look forward to taking them on again in the 2018 season. In the scoring against Miss Porter’s, Taft’s top 5 and 2 displacement runners were able to combine for a decisive 22-37 win, and so the varsity opens the season 1-1. Only seven runners comprise a varsity score, but Taft had 25 girls compete this afternoon. Runners 8 through 14 made up a very strong JV team who earned a 25-34 victory over Suffield and a 15-50 victory over Miss Porter’s. Veteran Eleanor Streit ’19 nearly tied last year’s season personal record in this season’s debut with her time of 25:02; she placed 18th overall, which made her the top JV runner on all teams and also put her ahead of four varsity runners from other teams! The remainder of the JV scorers were all new team members this year: Logan Clew-Bachrach ’20 was second for Taft’s JV (22nd overall, 26:29), Stallard Babcock ’20 was third (24th overall, 26:35), Mare Gandarela ’21 was fourth (27th overall, 27:15), and Courtney Wandelt ’18 rounded out the scoring in fifth (28th overall, 27:17). Congratulations to these girls for finishing their first race in the JV scoring! They were supported by displacement runners Maggie Robertshaw ’20 (29th overall, 27:18) and Kate Sharpe ’21 (30th overall, 27:25). Robertshaw knocked nearly 90 seconds off of her 2016 season debut, while Sharpe finished her first race for Taft today, returning to action after recently being sidelined for shin splints. These seven runners were a formidable JV pack today and are poised to challenge the varsity runners for position next week. Though our competitors Suffield and Porter’s could not field a thirds or fourths team, Taft had an additional eleven runners complete the course today. Amanda Stuart ’18 (32nd overall, 28:01), Tania Tsunik ’20 (37th overall, 28:57), Bojana Drca ’20 (42nd overall, 31:24), Marley Thompson ’18 (43rd overall, 32:44), Bonnie Song ’20 (44th overall, 32:56), Julia Kim ’21 (45th overall, 34:06), Laurinda Yang ’21 (46th overall, 34:39), and Nicole Sze ’21 (47th overall, 34:41) all ran their first races in a Taft uniform today! Returners Isabelle Posmantur ’18 (33rd overall, 28:02), Franny Hough ’18 (38th overall, 28:58), and Cece Hail ’18 (39th overall, 28:59) led the way for this pack both literally and metaphorically.