Silver is the new gold

Men’s cross country sets individual records, but falls short of first place.


Christina Giovanazi

Sophomore Alexander Kirkland keeps pace with the top runners during the MIAA Cross Country Championships on Nov. 1. The men’s cross country team placed second in the varsity B Conference with a score of 60 points.

Sophomore Alexander Kirkland sprints down the straightaway as the crowd blurs on either side of him. It’s the final stretch of the season’s final meet. The pressure is high as he tries to pass as many runners as he can. He crosses the finish line and looks to the official timer.

The red numbers read 17:09. Kirkland has passed his previous personal best by nearly 20 seconds and breathes a sigh of relief. He has just finished fifth in the varsity B Conference Championship.

The varsity men’s cross country team placed second out of eight teams in the MIAA B Conference in their championship race at Stevenson University on Nov. 1. Kirkland placed fifth and junior Ben Sullivan placed eighth out of 56 runners in the whole conference. The JV team placed second out of eight teams with freshman Cam Mezzatesta placing first in the JV B Conference.

Although second place is considered an achievement for some, the team was a bit disappointed. They finished the regular season with a three-way tie for first place in their conference between Boys’ Latin and the Park School.

For the runners, there was great anticipation at the start of the season for the team to win championships. “At the beginning of the year, [our runners] thought they had the championship sort of locked down when we beat BL, because BL were the champions last year,” men’s cross country coach Michael Monaghan said.
However, the team lost to Park School in the championships. “We beat them so bad last year that they weren’t on our radar this year, so we weren’t really keying on them,” Monaghan said. Park was the only team in their conference that beat JC in the regular season.

I definitely think we can win next year. There’s no doubt in my mind.”

— Ben Sullivan

Last year’s team also placed second in their championship race. Monaghan knew this year’s team had a shot at winning, but before the season began, the team was more skeptical. “The kids didn’t think [they could win] because Evan Moore, who was the individual number one runner in the B Conference last year, graduated. However, Alexander Kirkland and Ben Sullivan both scored up in the top ten this year, so they replaced his depth,” Monaghan said.

Most of the team was able to finish the season by breaking their own personal record times. Sophomore Bryan Stancliff’s first meet back after spraining his ankle was at championships, but he still beat his time by 50 seconds.“That was the bittersweet part of it: a lot of our kids PR’d, but we still managed to lose,” Monaghan said.

The team had previously run the same course at Stevenson for the Spiked Shoe Invitational on Sept. 24. Most of the team ran better times at championships than they did at Spiked Shoe, and one runner improved by over five minutes.

Although they may not have ended with a win this year, team members feel they have a good chance to win championships next year. “We’re not losing many of our main guys, and a lot of the other teams are losing some of their big key people,” Sullivan said.

“The biggest challenge is getting our athletes to train over the summer,” Monaghan said. If the team gets miles in during the summer, they’ll be able to hit the ground running in August with more endurance and minimal injuries.

Kirkland, the team’s top runner, is still optimistic after varsity got second place. “It’s a disappointment because we were doing so well this season, but we’re gonna get ‘em next season,” he said.

“I definitely think we can win next year. There’s no doubt in my mind,” Sullivan said.

Christina Giovanazi is a Community Editor for The Patriot and