Girls' Cross Country - Varsity
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The girls’ cross country team hosted Kent for our final regular season match up on a beautiful, 65 degree afternoon that was perfect for running. Though the team was disappointed to lose a close match to Kent, the girls were thrilled to have so many parents in attendance and ran their hearts out on our home course, with each individual runner completing her personal record on our home course, and with the overwhelming majority of our runners earning their season PRs as well. Senior but first-year team member Lexi Cafiero continued to amaze her coaches with a blazing new best time of 21:15, good for second overall and first for Taft. Senior Claudia Vira also broke the 22-minute barrier for the first time this season with a time of 21:42, second for Taft and 5th overall. Just behind Vira were Mids Michelle Lian (22:21) and Katie Bootsma (22:36), who were Taft’s 3rd and 4th and finished 7th and 8th overall, both breaking the 23-minute barrier for the first time this season. If Taft had had its captain, Senior Hanna Murphy, who has traded places with our other seniors for the top Taft positions all season but is currently sidelined, we might have earned the win, but Kent was able to finish five runners in a row after Bootsma, earning key displacement points against Taft’s fifth scorer. That scorer ended up being Senior Haley Barr, who had the race of her life with a time of 23:20. Barr had finished 10th for our team in the most recent meet, but she knew her team was depending on her today and left all her energy out on the course, cheered on both by her parents and by her favorite emeritus Taft faculty member, Don Padgett. Mid Kate Zhang (14th in 23:50) and UM Eleanor Streit (15th in 23:56) were Taft’s 6th and 7th displacement finishers, both breaking 24 minutes for the first time this year. In the JV scoring, Lower Mid Mare Gandarela shocked her coaches with a time of 23:58, 3 minutes and 17 seconds faster than the first time she raced on this course. Similarly, Mid Maggie Robertshaw finished in 24:42, 2 minutes and 36 seconds faster than the first time she raced on this course! Upper Mid Yuka Ishimoto raced at home for the first time and was third for the JV scoring in 25:10, while Senior Court Wandelt had her fastest time of the year in 25:29 for fourth for the JV. Lower Mid Sinead Connolly also set a PR with a time of 25:33 to finish out the JV scoring, with Lower Mid Kate Sharpe (25:55) and Senior Cece Hail (27:35) also smashing their season bests to finish as the 6th and 7th displacement runners for the JV. Just outside of the JV scoring were Mid Bonnie Song (28:10) and Lower Mid Julia Kim (28:19); Song shaved a full minute off of her best time, while Kim cut off three full minutes! This was the first time that all of the Taft runners finished a 5k in less than 30 minutes. With so many of the JV runners being Lower Mids and Mids who are shattering their PRs, the future looks bright for the girls’ cross country team. Though we’ve closed the season with a 1-7 dual meet record, we know that the Taft team has had many close losses, and we are eager to prove ourselves in invitational competition against the Founders League this upcoming Saturday (November 4th) at Hotchkiss and against the New England teams the following week at Choate.