Shrewsbury High girls’ cross country hopeful for strong season

By John Orrell, Contributing Writer

Shrewsbury High girls cross country  Photo/John Orrell

Shrewsbury High girls cross country
Photo/John Orrell

Shrewsbury – With nearly 20 years of coaching runners at the high school level, Shrewsbury High (SHS) girls’ varsity cross-country coach Lisa Danielson has learned first and foremost that success is going to rest on two critical factors — preparation and peaking.

Danielson, who is in her fourth year at SHS following 15 years as track coach at Algonquin Regional High School, can point to many instances where her coaching philosophy has paid off, most recently just one year ago. It was then that the team, despite a host of injuries, finished 2014 strong, placing fourth out of 20 teams at the Central Mass Division 1 District meet narrowly missing a berth in state completion.

This season, Danielson and her team have worked hard, prepared diligently and look for good things when all is said and done.

“There’s been a lot of hard work done by the kids over the summer,” said Danielson, an SHS alum. “I know that the majority of my returning veterans did a lot of training over the summer. Some went to camp. Our captains were amazing and held practices three times a week on their own. The team looks strong right now. The most impressive thing has been our leadership and our commitment to our summer training.

“The early season is important but we tend to place more emphasis on the end of the season. What I like to look for is a starting point and see where we’re at and then work from there focusing on improvement, progress and learning how to run. Hopefully, the girls will peak at the district meet and qualify for the States. Our goal this year is to qualify for the state meet and we have to finish in the top three.”

So far so good for this Colonial crew. The team opened the season with a 27-30 victory over Algonquin, Danielson’s first against her former school. The team is ranked fifth in Central Mass. polling, but does face a tough Midland A schedule that includes trips to powerhouse Wachusett Regional and others. Not to fear as early indications are that this group will be a force that no opponent should treat lightly.

This 2015 squad will be led by captains Olivia Murray, Bri Moss and Laura Hebert. All are skilled competitors and look to lead and set examples for team members. Support and positive encouragement are critical, said Moss.

“As captains, we’re always encouraging everyone because you don’t know full potential early in the season. We always encourage the younger kids and make sure everyone feels included.

We have a lot of good underclassmen runners as well as senior and junior runners. I’m really excited for the season. I think we’re going to go far.”

Other runners that will be counted on include Maura McNamara, who finished third overall versus Algonquin, Julianne Fay, Jess Wade, Reagan Gilooly, Erica Hanlon, Kelly Danielson, Carmen Dancy, and Christy Minnich. Danielson’s roster consists of more than 30 runners so others may emerge as significant contributors as the season progresses.

“I have very high expectations as do the captains,” Danielson said. “We want to be in the top three in our district and be competitive and represent Shrewsbury well. I think this is going to be a very strong year. This is the biggest team I’ve coached and we have a lot of experienced runners.”




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Posted by on Sep 30 2015. Filed under Byline Stories, Shrewsbury, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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