As the Whalers Cross Country teams finish up their second season as a varsity sport, the young program is looking forward to competing in the Cape and Islands League Championship, an event they won last year. This year the team is made up of 18 boys and 6 girls; captains are Beck Barsanti and Matthew Nesselrodt for the boys and Phaedra Plank on the girls side. The Vineyard, having only just entered the league this year, are dominating, with the Whalers hot on their heels in second place.
Head Coach for the boys, Phil Allen (who works together with fellow coach Gary Allen), said that, “We have a very young group who will continue to develop and do well for us.” Allen also claimed, “We can give the Vineyard a run for their money next year.”
Allen believes the reason for the group’s impressive success is because, “Our players have been embracing their need to be dedicated to the sport and anything that has been achieved is attributed to hard work.”
Looking ahead, returning runners for the Whalers next year will include junior Aidan McCormack, the top runner on the team, junior Matthew Holdgate, and junior Skyler Kardell. On the girls side, top runner junior Phaedra Plank will be coming back for her senior year. Plank said that the Lady Whalers have, “Done really well. We have more girl runners than last year which is great, but have been dragged down by injuries. I think the team has had a great spirit and we have a great dynamic and everyone supports each other.”
The coaching staff is completed by new girls varsity coach Lisa Wisentainer, and they know that next season promises to be just as strong, if not stronger.
Allen’s confidence in the team has been accurate, as shown through the results the team has gotten for the past two years. This year, the Lady Whalers’ record is 4-1-4 overall and 4-1-3 in the Cape and Islands League. The boys are 6-3 overall and 6-2 in the Cape and Islands League.
They have achieved many successes in this years season. On Tuesday, October 16, both the boys and girls teams competed against Rising Tide Charter School. The boys side won their meet by a score of 15-55, with Aidan McCormack in 1st place, Matthew Holdgate in 2nd, and Skyler Kardell finishing 3rd. The Lady Whalers also won, earning a score of 23-32. Leading the team was Phaedra Plank taking 2nd place, Marina Caspe in 3rd, and Catherine Buccino at 4th.
Allen remarked that, “16 runners made new personal records in the meet against Rising Tide. It was really great to see that everyone is constantly improving.”
Top runner Aidan McCormack, who has had a remarkable season said, “I think the team this year has gotten off to a slower start than last year but we are pulling together and I think we will do great in championships and sectionals.”
Senior captain Beck Barsanti, another experienced runner, also has high hopes for postseason play saying, “We hope to go onto regionals and then from there we could go to States, but everything is uncertain.”
Even though both the Whalers and Lady Whalers will be losing valuable seniors, many core runners will be back for senior year and hopefully yet another playoff run. The 2018 season ended on Saturday, October 27 for both teams with the Cape and Islands League Championship. The meet is made up of about seven or eight teams (150 girls and 150 boys) that vary in competitiveness. With both teams’ season coming to a close, the Whalers hope to finish strong.
By Luke Mackay