Girls' Cross Country - Varsity
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New Englands
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Choate Rosemary Hall
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Fifteen runners from the Taft girls’ cross country team braved the coldest afternoon of the season to tackle Choate’s tough and hilly course for the New England Championships. The varsity team capped off their season with a 10th place finish, improving their 2016 season placing by 2 spots, while the JV team one-upped the varsity by placing 9th overall! Even more impressive, 12 of the 15 athletes racing beat their times from when they faced Choate in a dual meet back in October, and the parents of the girls’ team put together the best looking and most delicious tailgate table at the meet, including a generator-powered hot chocolate machine. In the varsity race, captain Hanna Murphy ’18 found her stride again after a few tough races and led the way for the team, finishing 41st overall in her season-best time of 21:28. Just behind Hanna were fellow seniors Lexi Cafiero (48th in 21:52) and Claudia Vira (54th in 22:15), who completed their senior seasons in style as the second and third finishers for Taft. Mids Michelle Lian (62nd in 22:44) and Katie Bootsma (77th in 23:53) finished out the Taft scoring, while UM Eleanor Streit (78th in 23:53) had a major season PR and placed 6th for the team, the highest she ever has. Senior Haley Barr (84th in 24:34) joined Streit to be the varsity displacement runners, and their finishes added key points to the score of Milton’s top 5, who finished just behind Taft’s varsity in 11th place overall. In the JV race, Lower Mid Mare Gandarela blew the coaches away with another stellar race, finishing in a time of 24:03, which would have made her our 7th varsity runner! Mid Maggie Robertshaw ran yet another personal best time, completing the course in 24:08 (90 seconds faster than she did in October) -- her time would also have placed her as the 7th varsity runner! Senior Court Wandelt turned in a season PR as well, finishing in 24:30, just ahead of Mid Kate Zhang who ran 24:35 over the 5k distance. The JV’s fifth scorer was Logan Clew-Bachrach (25:15), who was supported by displacement runners LM Sinead Connolly (season PR of 25:23), LM Kate Sharpe (season PR of 25:36), and UM Yuka Ishimoto (27:33). As the majority of this group will be back on the team next year, the future of Taft girls’ cross country looks bright!