Submitted to Easton Patch:
At the recent Hockomock League Cross Country Championships the Oliver Ames Girls and Boys Teams finished second. That was a follow-up to the regular season where both teams went undefeated and captured the Davenport Division for the third year in a row. On Saturday they will compete in the Eastern Massachusetts Divisional Championships. The meet is the qualifier for the All State Championships the following week. The Boys team is the two time defending Eastern Massachusetts Division 3 Champion. The Oliver Ames Cross Country Program has qualified for the State Championships every year since 1995.
The following is an article about the program prepared for the Oliver Ames High School Newspaper by OA Harrier Jenna Eckstrom:
A few weeks ago, our cross country team sat in Borderland State Park after a workout with nothing audible but the evening wind ruffling the leaves. The other 96 harriers and I waited in silence, ready to hear the inspiring words from our coach, Neil Levine. The Hockomock League Championship Meet was a mere few days away, and all of us were nervous. From the top runner to the last placed runner on the team, every one of us was eager to run the best race we have run all season, and we all strived to achieve a personal record. But success doesn’t get handed to our competing varsity athletes, or anyone; it takes the willingness in each runner to be the best they can be. It’s all based on the five core values we all agreed to embrace at the start of the season: commitment, hard work, integrity, perseverance, and sacrifice (otherwise abbreviated as CHIPS.) Throughout the season, each and every runner has committed to those values, and has worked hard to get to where they are as the season comes to an end.
Assistant coach Kyle Sousa told us that the race can be won or lost at any moment. He said it could be on “the night before the night before” (the most important night leading up to the race), it could be not hydrating properly the week before your race, not getting a good night’s sleep one night, not efficiently getting school work done; all of these factors contribute to the final outcome and what we want it to be. OAXC’s varsity runners listened to the wise words from our coaches and gave it everything they had in their races. Although “It was the most closely contested league championships in over twenty years” according to Coach Levine, our top boys runner Dan Moverman came in second place with a time of 16:25. Coach Levine also said “The boys’ team is young at the top, with a mix of sophomores and juniors leading the way.” We actually had two sophomores finish in the top 16 after Dan; Connor Donovan and Cameron Gardner. Connor finished 11th with a time of 16:50, and Cameron finished 15th with a time of 17:07. With all the efforts of the top boys, we ended up in second place with 79 points.
Not only the boys’ team had a successful turn out, but the girls’ team as well. "The girls team is very balanced with deep talent at the top level", said Coach Levine, and they left with a second place overall finish with 68 points. The top girls’ runners were Megan Fitzgerald, Emily Newman, Maggie Harding, and Olivia Wakefield; all finishing in the top 20. Megan, Emily, and Maggie finished in the top 16; Megan who broke 20 minutes for the first time with 19:52 in 7th place, Emily coming in 9th place with a time of 20:03, and Maggie in 11th place with 20:09. Both teams were undefeated in the Davenport Division, and finished second in Hocks, leaving this a season they’ll never forget.
One time, Coach Levine told us that running is “the great equalizer”. He said every runner is on the same course, in the same conditions, at the same time, under the same pressure. And as coach Judy Copley added, “You should all cross the finish line with nothing left. Leave it all on the race course”. All runners are experiencing the adrenaline before they race, feeling tired during it, the aches and pains and injuries, everything that comes with being a part of a cross country team. We’re all experiencing the same success and loss as well, or bringing back things like banners and medals. But once again in the words of Neil Levine, “While medals and trophies are nice, they are not the true goal. True success is achieved by adhering to the values we cherish, commitment, hard work, integrity, perseverance, and sacrifice [CHIPS]. The medals, trophies, and banners are a byproduct of that. They are not the end result.”
Congratulations to all of OAXC for a successful race, good luck to the seniors next year, and thank you so much to all three coaches for a great season!