Young Runners Step Up for Girls’ XC

The Mt. Greylock girls cross-country team has begun to reload. Stacked with a new set of young runners, the team has already started to bounce back and compete against tough competition. Key additions to the top five are dynamic duo, Grace and Margo Smith, who have improved tremendously this year. “Margo and I work together throughout our training and help each other become stronger, and faster athletes,” Grace said. “It’s easy to get through a workout by yourself, but it’s nice to have a little ‘healthy competition’ to bring it to the next level.” Margo is typically followed close behind by Emma Polumbo, a first year, and senior Laura Galib. A perennial member of the top five, Galib said, “ it’s great that now a lot more girls are stepping up to fill the gap.” Specifically, she mentioned homeschooler Ariel Dupras as “a force to be reckoned with” with a lot of potential.

On uneasy ground after the loss of top runner Emily Kaegi, the team was unsure of their standing in the county coming into the season. However, the team clearly has stepped up to the plate, and has their sight set on the famed Western Mass course in Northfield. Starting with almost three quarters of a mile of grueling uphill, the course immediately sends heart rates pumping, forcing athletes to ignore their burning lungs. To train for the course the team has been doing repeats up apple tree hill in the front of the school, laps around the track, and classic distance runs like five mile loop. Coach Larry Bell has been working on grooming a strong pack, which slowly but surely is executing Greylock Cross Country’s signature “Red Tide” strategy, which involves each member of the pack staying close enough to each other to be mentally pulled by the teammate ahead of them. The team also used a slow advance strategy in both their races at Hoosac and Monument, reeling in runners one by one until they came out in the lead.

With a solid season under their belts, the Echo predicts that the girls cross country team could surprise us this season with unexpected wins both in the county and Western Mass. If the team keeps improving at the rate they have been, they have great things ahead of them.

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