By HockomockSports.com Staff
2019 Hockomock Cross Country Preview
2018 Boys Record: 0-5
2018 Girls Record: 2-3
Coach: Martin Tighe
There is a lot of excitement surrounding the Attleboro boys and girls cross country squads as they begin the season with a brand new course.
The town converted Highland Country Club into a multi-use facility that includes a 3.1-mile cross country course that will be named after Mark Coogan, an Attleboro native at competed in the 1996 Olympics. Head coach Marty Tighe worked alongside Bishop Feehan coach Bob L’Homme to design the course and the teams will host the first invitational later this month with 22 teams from both Massachusetts and Rhode Island registered. With a new course, the Attleboro boys team looks to compete with the other top teams in the league led by junior Nathan Seybert, who finished in the top 20 (17:12.03) at last year’s league championship. Seybert had a very strong offseason and expects to be among the top runners in the league.
While the depth isn’t the same on the girls’ side, they do have some top runners returning. Kelly Neuendorf had a terrific sophomore campaign, punctuated by a 13th place finish at the league championships, and will be looking to continue that success this season.
2018 Boys Record: 2-4
2018 Girls Record: 1-5
Home Course: Pequitside Farm
Coach: David Hiltz
The Canton boys cross country team is looking to build on the past two seasons while the girls are hoping to avoid the injury bug this season. The boys’ squad has won a pair of dual meets in back-to-back season and return a majority of their top runners from last year. Sophomore Kyle Downing will lead the way after taking first for the Bulldogs in all of the dual meets last season. Senior captain Alex Maddestra will also be a top option, as both him and Downing clocked in under 18 at the league championships a year ago. Junior Jack Hernon had a big offseason and has impressed so far this preseason while junior Elias Jabbour and senior captain Chris Rota look to round out the top five for Canton.
“I think the boys have the potential to be very successful this season,” said head coach David Hiltz. “We have a healthy mix of talent and depth, along with hosting two of the previous three Davenport Champs on our home course, we have a real opportunity for achievement this fall.”
On the girls’ side, the Bulldogs will have a younger squad but with more depth for the 2019 season. They did lose their top runner to graduation in Chloe Pennacchio but have some strong contributors back and even picked up a new runner that figures to be in the top five mix. Junior Jessie Hart had a strong sophomore campaign and will likely lead the pack while senior captain Kayla Wong is back to full health and will be looking to replicate the success she had two seasons ago. Junior Marie Messinger has switched sports over to cross country this fall and will be one of Canton’s top runners. Beyond the top three, the Bulldogs have space for new names to step into the top group A mix of experienced seniors all the way to freshman will all be competing for the final spots.
“There is a top three that is emerging, but for the first time in a few years, the girls have a good mix of depth…some seniors who are experienced and ready as well as some new, younger freshman who are coming in and looking to compete,” Hiltz said. “If they stay healthy, the girls have the talent to be better than they were a year ago. It’s an exciting place to be at as a team.”
2018 Boys Record: 1-4
2018 Girls Record: 5-0 (Davenport Division Champions)
Home Course: Payson Field Road
Coach: Joe Cusack
Foxboro might have two of the top runners in the league this season, with the girls looking to defend their division title and the boys’ team looking to have a bounce-back season.
On the girls’ side, the Warriors graduated last year’s winner at the Hockomock League Championships in Lexi Quinn but bring back Abby Hassman, a three-time league all star and former league MVP that placed second just behind Quinn. Coming into the season, Hassman will likely set the pace for all runners in the Hockomock League, finishing in the top three at the league championships in each of the three years she has participated. Seniors Jenn Yeomans, Emily Steele, and Isabel Hallal all return from last year’s division-winning squad. Freshman Sophie Sougaris will also be in the mix for the Warriors this season.
Foxboro senior Ryan Proulx returns as the top runner for the boys’ team and could be the fastest returner in the Davenport division this season. Proulx won three races last season and took second overall in Foxboro’s other two races, the top Warrior in all five league dual meets. A lot of hard work has made senior Nate Palter another top option for the Warriors. Foxboro will be looking for other names to step up to round out the top five throughout the season.
2018 Boys Record: 5-0 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
2018 Girls Record: 4-1
Home Course: Dacey Field
Coaches: Nick Bailey & Paul Trovato
The Franklin boys squad went a perfect 5-0 in league dual meets last season to win the Kelley-Rex division title and the 2019 squad to poised to replicate that success this year. Not only did the Panthers win the dual title, but top three finishers from senior Tyler Brogan and junior Nicholas Calitri also helped Franklin claim first place at the Hockomock League Championships. Brogan has been a top runner in the Hock for the past three years and is off to a good start this season, winning the Tommy Cochary High School Mile in Falmouth in August. Calitri had a great sophomore campaign, finishing third overall at Hocks and will be a top runner again this year. Senior Cam Harrington will give Franklin a strong third option while the Panthers are looking for Joe Zercie, Declan Walmsley, Clancy Golden, Griffin Sieczkiewicz, Matt Zielinski, and Alec Hanley to all be in the mix throughout the season.
“As a team, the 2019 Franklin High Cross Country team is looking to continue to be competitive in a very talented Hockomock League,” said head coach Nick Bailey. “With a number of very talented runners as well as some younger runners looking to make a name for themselves, the Franklin boys have prepared themselves for a very challenging Hockomock league dual meet season.”
The girls’ squad graduated a staggering 22 seniors from last year’s Kelley-Rex division-winning team, so there will be a lot of new faces. Junior Sydney Hawkins is one of the top returning runners for the Panthers, finishing in the top 20 at the Hockomock League championships last year. Senior Sarah Giuliano took 22nd overall last year at the league meet and will give the Panthers a strong top duo alongside Hawkins. Franklin will also rely on junior Sidney Brady, sophomore Caitlin Casey, and sophomore Liliana Duffy
“The team has good leadership and is very supportive and will be competitive in the Hockomock League,” said head coach Paul Trovato.
2018 Boys Record: 3-2
2018 Girls Record: 2-3
Home Course: Rice Field
Coaches: Chris Elgar & Lauren Farkash
Senior Mike Griffin returns to defend his Hockomock League Championship win and will have a strong core of runners alongside them as the Warriors look to challenge for the Kelley-Rex title and a top spot at Hocks. Griffin clocked in at 15:54.57 to win Hocks while classmate Michael Norberg took eighth overall, so King Philip has a strong 1-2 punch to lead the way this season. Senior Eric DeLorenzo finished 14th overall and the Warriors are also expecting strong seasons out of seniors Dan Botte, Nate Farkash, and Shea Duffy. Junior Javon Joseph will likely be in the top five mix for KP this season while classmates Andrew Noke and Liam Noke are battling for a spot as well. Sophomores Ryan Andrews, Matt DiFiore, and Brendan Weddleton, along with freshmen Brendon Berdos and Nate Sylven have all had strong showings so far this preseason and will be in the mix as KP pushes for a league title.
“I am very excited with the depth that the squad has this year,” said KP head coach Chris Elgar. “In a league that is so competitive, it will come in handy. As a team we are looking to build on the first squad qualifying for the All State meet from last fall.”
On the girls’ side, the Warriors are looking to replicate the success from a year ago. The Warriors lost three dual meets last season by three, nine, and 11 points so the record of 2-3 was a bit deceiving. KP showed their depth with a terrific performance at the league championships taking second place overall. In that race, sophomore Maya Evans put an exclamation point on a great first year by finishing fourth overall at 19:51. Ava Pisani and Abby Simmons have had strong preseasons and will be apart of the top five for the Warriors throughout the year. Meg Sherwood is looking to continue the success following a strong rookie year and Dayna Aubin will be another strong option for KP this season.
“Our top five looks really strong, so I’m hoping we can have a winning dual meet record with a little bit more experience,” said KP coach Lauren Farkash. “It’s going to be a lot of work but the girls are excited, they are fired up, so we’ll see what we can do. I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about the season.”
2018 Boys Record: 5-1
2018 Girls Record: 5-1 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
Home Course: Plymouth Street Soccer Complex
Coaches: Ian Flanagan & Derek Ellis
The Mansfield girls team has a lot of talent back to try and defend its Kelley-Rex division championship, but head coach Derek Ellis knows it’s going to take a lot of hard work throughout the season to fend off the tough competition in the Hockomock League. The Hornets have five of their top seven runners back from the team that won the Hockomock League Championship race last season. Junior Tessa Lancaster, who took third overall at Hocks, will lead the pack this season and will challenge for the top spot in the league this year. She will be joined by senior Jess Alestock, who finished in the top 20 last year alongside captain Brinly Meelia, both who should big pieces of the puzzle for Mansfield this year. Junior Emma Lamson and senior Julia Miller are looking to take the next step after strong seasons a year ago. Ellis also expects junior Annie Riley and sophomore Meghan Johnston to be important contributors this year.
“Cross country championships are not easy to win, you need your top five runners to perform at their highest level in that championship race, you can’t afford to have one person to have an off day,” Ellis said. “I believe the freshman group on this team is going to give this team some much-needed depth. The freshman did their summer training and have looked great in the early workouts. I would not be surprised if they factor into the scoring at the championship meet.”
On the other side, there is a big change for the boys’ squad. For the first time in a long time, it won’t be Julie Collins with a stopwatch in hand leading the Hornets. Ian Flanagan takes over as head coach but expectations are still high for one of the most dominant programs in the Hockomock League. Mansfield had its streak of 14 straight league titles snapped last season when Franklin won the dual meet title so the Hornets are looking to get back on top in 2019. The strength of the team this year will be depth. Senior Mike Mullahy is back after a top-five finish at Hocks a year ago but the Hornets graduated all of their top five runners. Flanagan will be looking to senior Ben Giffen and junior Trevor Flint to step up and be top options this season while juniors Tim Corkery and James Schlenker, along with sophomore Collin Stevens, will be in the mix.
“With it being my first year, I was anxious to see what kind of shape everyone was in coming into the year,” Flanagan said. “So far I have been pleasantly surprised by the improvements made over the summer. Everyone is on the same page, with expectations and goals. Having run in the league not too long ago I know the prestige of Mansfield cross country, and it is great to see these guys want to put Mansfield cross country back on the map.”
2018 Boys Record: 4-1
2018 Girls Record: 2-3
Home Course: Milford High
Coach: John Vanderkeyl & Glenn O’Connor
Milford had one of its best seasons since joining the Hockomock League on the boys’ side, but the 2019 squad will have a completely different look. The Scarlet Hawks graduated 10 of its top 12 runners so there is plenty opportunity for new runners to step up for head coach John Vanderkeyl. Captain Max Manor, who is coming off a solid spring track season and has been a top option for Milford since his freshman year, will lead the pack this season and will be in contention for a top spot in the league this year. The Hawks are also looking for senior Liam Bennett to have a big year after a strong offseason. Sophomore James Comisky could have a chance to have a big season while seniors Sam Vilt and Gabe Pardo Cota, junior Andres Alvarez (an XC newcomer), and freshman Mark Butters are likely to factor into the Hawks’ top seven this season.
“We are a young team but we have a group of guys that ran all summer to get in shape and are ready to step into the big shoes that we have left to fill,” Vanderkeyl said. “I am hoping that they are all ready to make the jump to help compete for the Davenport Division and stay in the top half of the league. There are so many fresh faces and guys that are really starting to figure it all out and I am excited for the season.”
The Milford girls cross country also graduated a good amount of runners from last year but expectations are still high as the Hawks bring back their top two runners from last year. Senior captains Lexi Marcolini and Sara Comisky, who both finished in the top 25 at Hocks last year, will be leading the pack for Milford this year. Another reason for high expectations is the addition of three runners from Milford’s spring 4×400 team that qualified for the New Balance Nationals. Bella Gonzalez (400M hurdles), Emma Lawrence (400M), and Kerry O’Connor (D3 State Champ at the 300M indoors and D2 State Champ at 200M outdoors) are now members of the cross country team and are looking to give Milford a big boost. Sophomore Stephanie Goulet and freshman Sydney Kalil will also be in the mix this year.
“We’re looking to surprise the Hockomock League in 2019,” said head coach Glenn O’Connor.
2018 Boys Record: 3-2
2018 Girls Record: 4-1
Home Course: North Attleboro High
Coach: Anne Marie McGrail
North Attleboro will be looking to continue their dual meet season success after both squads had strong campaigns in 2018.
On the boys’ side, the Rocketeers will have to place their top runners in Julian Dixon and Liam Monahan, who were their top runners at the Hockomock League championships last year. Senior Daniel Nobrega and sophomore Christopher Galligan had the best finishes at that meet for returning runners.
Senior Olivia Forbes had a top 20 finish at the league meet last year while Catherine Hanewich clocked in at 21:34 to finish 29th overall, which bodes well for the Rocketeers during the 2019 season.
2018 Boys Record: 3-3
2018 Girls Record: 0-6
Home Course: Borderland State Park
Coach: Kyle Sousa
The Oliver Ames girls team has five of its top seven runners back from a year ago, including one of the duos in the Hockomock League. Juniors Catherine O’Donnell and Meghan Reardon will lead the way for the Tigers in 2019, both coming off top 10 finishes at the league championship meet last season. Oliver Ames also has a lot of the depth in the program with senior captain Julia Sarro and juniors Abbey Querzoli and Rachel Davis coming off strong training sessions over the summer.
“There is no question in my mind that this is one of the most committed groups of athletes you will ever find,” said head coach Kyle Sousa on the girls’ team. “These girls have been training all summer long, pushing each other to the limit. This is not just a group of talented runners. It is a team that has already begun making sacrifices for each other. I trust every one of them to come through on race day. They are so strong–physically and mentally. Don’t ever count them out.”
There is a lot of optimism on the boys’ side as well. Despite graduating their top runner in Zane Reservitz, the Tigers bring back the other six of their top seven from last year’s squad that placed 4th in Division 3 and 15th at the All State Meet. Seniors Rory McLaughlin, Owen Nipoti, and David Fiedorczyk will bring a tremendous amount of varsity experience, juniors Kyle Sarney and Nate Reservitz will be a major threat to watch, and sophomore Owen McMorrow is looking to continue the success he had his rookie year.
“It’s relatively rare to see this much experience on your varsity squad,” Sousa said of the boys’ team. “All of these guys have been battle-tested at the highest level of Massachusetts Cross Country. When the gun goes off I know they will never quit on each other. They will fight for every body, every point, every second, every inch of the 5000-meter race. That is all we ask. And that is all we need.”
2018 Boys Record: 5-0 (Davenport Division Champions)
2018 Girls Record: 3-2
Home Course: Deb Sampson Park
Coach: Phil Gingras & Alan Conway
Sharon might not have a star runner on its boys’ team this year, but the Eagles are a very deep team and any one of a half dozen runners could take first in a given race. Mark Starovoytov, Bradley Weiss, Sid Reddy, Jordan Saks, Jimmy Kong, and Jacob Dubin have all had good showings this preseason and all six are vying for the Eagles’ top spot. Sophomore Balint Mihajlovits had a strong rookie season and should be in the mix this season. Freshmen Nathaniel Traut and Michael Williams could factor in as well after strong preseason showings.
“If this team continues to push each other as they have over the last couple weeks, they stand to have a shot at a birth at All-States,” said coach Phil Gingras.
On the girls’ side, the Eagles have three top runners returning ready to push for the league title. Sophomore Daphne Theiler had a tremendous freshman year (6th place at Hocks) and will lead the pack again for Sharon this season. Senior captains Eliana Boxerman and Juliana Dudziak will be alongside Theiler leading the Eagles. Gingras noted all three had strong summers and will be critical during the dual meet season. Senior captain Kavya Anbarasu, junior Margaret Li, and senior transfer Dani Williams provide solid depth for Sharon, which could be in store for a memorable season.
“If these girls [Anbarasu, Li, Williams] are able to close the gap on the lead pack they’ll stand a shot to do something special in the postseason,” Gingras said.
2018 Boys Record: 0-5
2018 Girls Record: 0-5
Home Course: Houghton’s Pond
Coach: Dave Barbato & Katrina Daly
First-year head coach Dave Barbato is aiming for improvement throughout the season as the Black Knights look to bounce back from last year. Stoughton has to replace top runner Colin Rahaman but senior Sebastian Malek and sophomore Bobby Currier will be two solid options for Barbato. Malek improved throughout the course of last season and finished at 20:26.91 at the league meet. Currier was one of the top newcomers for Stoughton a year ago, clocking in at 21:23.00 at Hocks.
The Black Knights don’t have as many runners on the girls’ side as some of the other programs in the league but will be looking to give just as much effort. Captain Julia Franey and senior Rebecca Lally will be the leaders of the pack for this group. Lally had the top finish of all returners at least year’s championship meet at 22:19. Sophomore Jess Maddalena will be building off a strong rookie season and freshman Elaine McCarty will certainly be in the mix for the Black Knights this season.
“With some time to train and some trust in the new things they are seeing there should be some improvement by late season,” Barbato said.
2018 Boys Record: 1-4
2018 Girls Record: 2-3
Home Course: Taunton High
Coach: Jessica Ouellette & Mike Kelley
The Taunton girls team is hoping the experience gained last season will pay off this year, with nine of their top 10 runners back for 2019. The Tigers finished fifth at the Hockomock League Championships a year ago and are hoping to be in contention to move up the leaderboard this year. Sophomore Nia Mainer-Smith is back the lead the pack for Taunton coming off a 10th place finish at Hocks. Junior Olivia Dias looks to be another top runner for the Tigers; both Dias and Mainer-Smith were apart of the Tigers’ 4×400 team that ran at Nike Outdoor Nationals this past spring. Kailey Melito-Santos, Olivia Weber, Tatyana Mainer-Smith, Lily Valcovic, and Kaicey Melito-Santos all had strong seasons last year as well.
“We’re looking to build off the momentum from 2018, which was the first time we ever beat Oliver Ames or King Philip,” said head coach Mike Kelley. “Nine of our top ten runners from last year return and the league seems fairly wide open. Our big team goals are finishing with a winning record in the dual meet season, finishing in the top three at Hocks, and the top eight at the Eastern Mass Division 1 meet.”
On the boys’ side, the Tigers bring back six of the top seven after graduating just one senior in that group last season. Junior Nolan Tavares had a stellar sophomore campaign and was the top runner for the Tigers at the league championship meet last year, just missing out on a top 10 placement. Tavares will be at the front of the pack alongside classmate Ty Cali and senior captain Colin Quinlan. Sophomore Ryan Strawbridge has looked strong as he makes his return from an injury during track season.
“The team’s resiliency and energy in supporting one another continues to be some of our biggest strengths,” said head coach Jessica Ouellette.