By Ryan Massad, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – In his second year coaching the girl's cross country team at Shrewsbury High School (SHS), St. John's graduate Ryan McCaffrey earned the Coach of the Year honor from the Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association.
McCaffrey's passion for running derives from his parents love for it. After the passing of his father Michael in 2007, Ryan began running in the Boston Marathon, raising money for the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge in his father's memory.
After being a substitute teacher, and assistant track coach at SHS, McCaffrey was hired as the head coach of the cross country team two years ago, and didn's waste any time making a name for himself.
“I was so honored to receive the Coach of the Year award,” McCaffrey said. “I was shocked, and could not believe it, but it wouldn's have been possible without the leadership and support of the runners on the team.”
The runners he's referring to include last year's captains Rebecca Tiernan, Steph Kalinowski and Nora Gutekanst. “The captains were incredible; they cultivated a family-like bond amongst the entire team.”
Other key members of the team mentioned by McCaffrey include seniors Pauline Gerard, Lili Urso and Kailey Filiere, as well as younger runners like Annie Krumpoch, Mariah Boisvert and Brittany Laramee. Laramee is a particularly special talent. She blossomed into a dominant runner during her junior year, earning league all-star honors, and finishing first on the team in every single race.
In 17 years of Shrewsbury competing in cross country, this past season was the first time the team went undefeated, and won the league championship.
“This team was extremely special. They overcame adversity, stood together, and had the most successful season in Shrewsbury cross country history,”? McCaffrey said. “The girls trained hard, raced hard, and came together as a family. This award wasn’t just a recognition of me, but more a recognition of the entire team.”
Although the future of the team looks just as bright as the present, McCaffrey will not be a part of that future. He'sl be leaving the program to attend law school at St. Louis University. The soon to be ex-coach noted, “There's a great group of girls returning to the team next year, and I's sure they won's miss a beat.”