North girls’ cross country dominates during dual meet
Improving a team dual meet record to an undefeated 6-0 is impressive for the North Kingstown High School girls cross country team, but getting to that mark by taking the top eight spots in their latest meet is more like domination.
The Skippers improved their undefeated streak by topping Portsmouth and West Warwick in sweeping fashion at Glen Park in Portsmouth on Tuesday.
Head Coach Kaitlin Wilson said she is impressed by what her team has accomplished this year.
“I am very excited about the season so far. To be undefeated in the dual meet season and to have won Injury Fund are positive ways to start out the season, so we’re definitely feeling very positive at this point,” she said.
Although the Skippers are one of the top teams in the southern division, Wilson is not content to sit back and coast through the season.
“The southern division has some very good teams in it, but our goal is to win the southern division. I also think that we are a top team in the state given our performance at Injury Fund and other invitationals,” she said. “However, it is a long season so the goal right now is to stay positive about the training we have done, as well as stay healthy and injury free. We would like to finish as one of the top teams in the state and get back to qualifying for New Englands.”
According to Wilson, the work the team put in during the summer has played a big part in its success and is one of the team’s biggest strengths.
“They know that to accomplish their goals they need to train very hard in the summer and that strength is showing right now,” she said. “The team also has a great positive attitude and the girls are very supportive of each other. Cross country is a long season and can be very mentally draining, so having such a close and supportive team is very important.”
One unique aspect of the cross country program that Wilson sees as key to its strength is that the team is run as a combined program, with the boys and girls training together. “It allows for all coaches to work with the runners and also helps our girls out because they train with boys who are faster than them,” the coach said.
The top seniors on the team, Katie Lynch, Kelsey Evans and islander Caitlin Downing, are not unfamiliar with the team training concept, as all three cross train with the boys during indoor and outdoor track season as well.
“Katie and Kelsey are two seniors who work extremely hard and lead by example. Caitlin has great track speed that she makes use of in cross country as well. She is very conscientious about her running and looks for ways to improve her performances as well as prepare for the hurdles in indoor and outdoor track,” the coach said.
Jamestown also has one representative from each of the other classes as well.
“Junior Katie Matley has been working through some injuries right now, but is doing what she needs to do to get better and keep herself in racing shape,” Wilson said.
Alicia Ruscito, a sophomore, is in her second year with the team. “She is working to improve her times and performances from her freshman season,” she said.
Not only is freshman Kaitlin Tierney new to the team as a freshman, but she is also new to the area as well. She relocated to Jamestown with her military family this summer. Wilson said she sees a lot of potential in Tierney and that she has steadily improved in her races so far this season.
Other top runners include Becca Sherwood, Allison Lomas, Sabreena Croteau, Shayla Murray and Emily Lipsitz.
“They have been in and out of the top seven in the races so far, so it’s nice to have a lot of flexibility,” Wilson said. “It’s hard to say who would necessarily be JV right now because the race results fluctuate so much. We have about eight to 10 runners who are running very close right now. Some of them could end up being varsity and the others would be JV, but it’s hard to say at this point.”