Irwin, Byrne lead Lawn cross-country team
"As long as I am not running with them," the head coach jokes.
The team competed in their second dual-meet of the season on Sept. 27 against Portsmouth and Tiverton at Ft. Getty.
"Their first meet was Sept. 18 against Middletown and their times today were a little slower, but that is because this course is longer and has more hills," Alfred said.
Alfred, when speaking to the runners before the race, touted the day as "perfect running weather," and encouraged them to be good sports and give their best effort.
"A lot of people are new to the sport so they are still learning. We are working together and practicing quite a bit," the coach said. "Overall they are doing very well. We are a small team, and the larger teams have a little bit more of an advantage. We will be able to take some of the smaller teams at those meets."
Portsmouth, whose team has twice as many runners as Jamestown, swept the first seven spots of the boys' race. Dan Irwin was the first scorer for the Jamestown team, finishing with a time of 13:14. The boys were edged by Portsmouth, but pulled off an 81- 103 victory over Tiverton.
Ben Stewart, a sixth-grader, has moved into a scoring spot for the team and finished with a time of 14:08.
"Ben was a little bit of a latecomer to the team, but he is defi- nitely a player," Alfred said.
Rounding out the scoring for the Jamestown boys were Tyler Woodward, Sean Stanford, and Alex Burke.
The sixth-graders are making a name for themselves on the girls' team as well.
Sofia Greco-Byrne has finished first for the Jamestown girls in both of the meets. She finished with a time of 15:24 in the Sept. 27 meet.
Maia White, the only returning eighth-grader to the young team, finished in second for the Jamestown girls with a time of 15:51.
"Maia is a great student athlete that has really tried to make the new kids feel welcome," the coach said. "She is my team captain and works hard in school."
Alfred also said White brings a lot of spirit to the team.
"The other kids look up to her. She made all of the kids cupcakes for after the race and she gets them to do the team cheer before the race," he said.
Brooke Doherty, Kristen Zavislak and Katherine Normand finished the race as a group to complete the scoring for the girls.
The team has gelled quickly, Alfred said. "They have become like a family. They stick together and watch out for each other," he said, adding "They are together all the time, so it carries over to school as well."
The coach recognizes what a difference he can make by setting the kids up with skills that will last them a lifetime.
"A lot of the seventh graders I have in class and then out here. It gives me the opportunity to teach them about being active, leading a healthy lifestyle and being part of a team," he said. "It was actually my health teacher who got me involved in running when I was in middle school, and I feel the same obligation to them. I want them to feel good about themselves."
Currently the team practices Tuesday through Thursday, but they will add Mondays and Fridays to their practice schedule as they get closer to the state meet.
"We do different workouts to keep it interesting for them and to increase their speed and endurance," Alfred said. "One day we will do a hill workout, speed one day and hills on another."
All of these workouts combine to accomplish one thing. "My goal is to get them to go out there and run as fast as they can and have fun doing it," the coach concluded.