Submitted to Easton Patch:
The Oliver Ames High School Girls Cross Country Team finished 9th at the All-State Championships this past Saturday. The meet was held at Northfield Mountain, located in Western Massachusetts.
The race featured the top teams from across the state. Those teams qualified in last week’s State Divisional Championships. In that meet, the lady Tigers finished 4th
Coming into Saturday’s race, the experts had Oliver Ames ranked 19th out of 19 teams. Competing as one of the smallest schools in division one, the Tigers blew away those experts.
“I figured we could go as high as 15th” said Oliver Ames Head Coach Neil Levine. “I knew we ran well. When I saw the results I jumped out of my sneakers."
Leading the charge for the ladies was Senior Captain Megan Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald, a Hockomock League All Star, has been running strong all season. She attacked the 3.1 mile course with conviction. The race starts with a 1000 meter mountain climb. As she reached the crest of that mountain, Fitzgerald was in a pack of 100 harriers. Accelerating over the top, Fitzgerald went to work on the rolling hills. Passing bodies with drive and desire, she finished in 30th place with a time of 20:09.
“Megan has been amazing all year. She ran tough” said OA Assistant Coach Judy Copley.
The next tough runner across the line for the Tigers was Emily Newman.
Newman, also a Hockomock League All Star, is a junior competing in her first season of cross country. There were no signs of her inexperience as she drove up the mountain. Newman finished in 55th place with a time of 20:29. She used a quick leg turnover to accelerate on the down hills. Newman was able to carry that momentum forward, unleashing a devastating kick in the finishing chute. “It’s amazing how well Emily has done this year for a rookie” said Oliver Ames Assistant Coach Kyle Sousa.
Finishing in 78th place with a time of 20:55 was OA junior Jillian McAuliffe. McAuliffe competing in her third State Championship Meet, used that experience to her tactical advantage. When the competitors around her would falter, McAuliffe would surge, passing bodies and picking up points.
The Tigers' fourth scorer was Senior Maggie Harding. Harding a Hockomock League All Star, finished in 100th place with a time of 21:10. Harding’s running style suits the difficult terrain of Northfield Mountain.
“Maggie was made for Northfield” said Levine. “She is an animal on the race course. When she laces up her spikes, watch out."
OA’s 5th and final scorer was Junior Lindsey Foster. Foster finished in 116th place with a time of 21:31. When foster crossed the finish line she sealed up the Tiger’s score of 245 points. In spite of the challenging terrain and 700 foot elevation gain, Foster was pleased with her performance. “I love this course” said Foster.
Sitting with 245 points, it was up to the Tigers 6th and 7th runners to displace the other 18 teams’ scorers. That task went to Sophomore Katie Holmberg and Senior Olivia Wakefield. Holmberg finished in 147th place with a time of 22:07. After giving everything she had on the final hills, Holmberg approached the last 200 meters. She dug deep inside herself, found another gear and surged to the finish line. Collapsing in the finish chute, Holmberg had to be carried off the course by her coaches, mother and teammates. Holmberg has been nursing an injury in her lower legs this season. That injury was aggravated with her kick in the final 200 meters.
“Katie runs so tough. Watching her run you would never know she was in pain.” said Copley.
Wakefield, a senior competing in her final race for the Tigers, closed out the championship effort for the team.
“Olivia is the Ultimate OAXC athlete. She exemplifies what we are all about. She embraces the values we preach, integrity, commitment, hard work, sacrifice and perseverance in the pursuit of excellence” said Levine.
Competing as individuals for the boys’ team were Junior Daniel Moverman and Sophomore Connor Donovan. Moverman, a Hockomock League all-star and the undefeated Hockomock League Davenport Division Champion, finished in 37th place with a time of 16:59. Donovan, a Hockomock League all-star as well, finished in 46th place with a time of 17:06.
Moverman and Donovan charged out hard from the start. Moverman was able to use his quick leg turnover. Donovan with a contrasting style, used his strength to drive up the inclines and fire down the straightaways. The pair along with McAuliffe will continue their season as individuals, when they compete in this weekend’s Footlocker Northeast Championships at Van Cortland Park located in the Bronx, New York.
The Lady Tigers closed out their 2012 season as the undefeated Davenport Division Champions. They were 2nd at the George King 2012 Hockomock League Championships. They were 4th at the Eastern Massachusetts State Divisional Championships and 9th at the All State Championships. They had three Hockomock League All Stars and three Brockton Enterprise All Scholastics, Megan Fitzgerald, Emily Newman and Maggie Harding.
The boys’ team closed out their 2012 season as the undefeated Davenport Division Champions. They were 2nd at the George King 2012 Hockomock League Championships and they were 5th at the Eastern Massachusetts State Divisional Championships. They had three Hockomock League All Stars and three Brockton Enterprise All Scholastics, Daniel Moverman, Connor Donovan and Cameron Gardner.
The program finished the season with 94 athletes on the roster, 39 of them achieving varsity letter status. Coach Copley summed it up best when she addressed the team.
“We started the season in the heat of August, at sea level, on the shores of Nantucket. We finished it on the mountains of Western Massachusetts with frost on the ground and a chill in the air. We covered many miles and learned many lessons. It has been an honor and a privilege to share them with you”.