During the cross country season, improvement on pace and finish time for the individual results in a better outcome for the team.
Over the weekend, the class championships were held at Wickham Park in Manchester and a pair of runners for Berlin stood out individually as both the girls and boys teams placed in the top five in their respective class. The girls finished as the runner-ups in Class M, while the boys placed fifth in MM.
In the end, the young talent of the Redcoats cross country teams was on Saturday. Specifically, two runners in the sophomore class, Michael Parzych and Juliana Cancellieri.
The performance of the two has earned them the recognition of being named the New Britain Herald Athletes of the Week.
Parzych led the way for the boys team. He finished 11th place individually in Class MM with a time of 17:46.
“It feels good for me for how hard I’ve worked,” Parzych said. “As a team, finishing fifth was awesome for how hard we’ve all worked.”
For the girls, Cancellieri finished in sixth place individually in Class MM with a time of 20:21.
As a team, the second place finish overall was the all-time best for the girls program and they were one of the 20 teams to qualify for the State Open that is held this coming weekend.
“After finishing sixth last year it was awesome finishing second,” Cancellieri said. “And for the boys finishing fifth just shows how hard we’ve worked to get to where we are.”
With her time, Cancellieri will be seeded 27th in the State Open and if she places in the top 25, she will qualify for the New England championships.
“It would be really cool to break two spots and get to New England’s,” Cancellieri said. “I just want to keep getting better each race.”
For Parzych, he started participating in cross country in the 7th grade and devotes much of his time to running by training throughout the summer while also being a member of the track and field team at the school.
For Redcoats cross country coach Steve Soucy, the success of this year’s boys group is just the start as they have improved vastly with a 10 minute improvement as a team over the course of the season.
“They’re all returning next year,” Soucy said. “The boys team is really young and that may be the one thing that held them back from finishing even higher as they’re not yet used to running at that competitive level.”
For the two runners, the effort off the field has played a crucial role on the results they’ve seen this season.
“They’ve both put their effort into not just showing up and running during practice but rather the whole lifestyle with eating right, hydrating, sleeping and their strategy of what they do before the race has a lot to do with what position they find themselves in,” Soucy said.
While both have already seen great success individually, the relationship with their teammates played a big part in that individual success.
“Most of all they’re good teammates,” Soucy said. “They work with the rest of the team to make sure everybody improves and has a good finish.
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @OrencoleDan