By HockomockSports.com Staff
Hockomock League Cross Country
2020 Hockomock League Cross Country Preview
Hockomock League Cross Country
2019 Boys Record: 1-5
2019 Girls Record: 0-6
Coach: Martin Tighe
The Attleboro boys cross country team has one of its best group of returners, perhaps one of the strongest teams in quite some time. And on the girls side, head coach Martin Tighe has one of the best runners in the league in senior Kelly Neuendorf, a top finisher at last year’s Hockomock League Championship meet. The Bombardiers host opponents at the Highland Park Cross Country Course, which was designed by Tighe and Bishop Feehan coach Bob L’Homme.
Senior Nathan Seybert will be in the mix for one of the fastest runners in the Hockomock League this season. In six dual meets last season, Seybert finished in the top three each time, taking first against both Feehan and Taunton. Tighe notes that Seybert will run around 16:10 or better this season. Attleboro also had Ethan Sylvia, Neil Bowie, Shane Cataloni, and Zachary Stromfors have strong finishes at the league championship meet last year.
On the girls side, Neuendorf is fresh off a top 10 finish at the league championships, clocking in at 20:28.32. She was first in the dual meet against league champion Franklin and finished no worse than third in the six dual meets. Other top runners from the league championship meet last season included Kimberly Esteban, Jazlyn Miller-Villanueva, and Diana Blouin.
“I’m looking forward to the X-C season as are many athletes and coaches,” Tighe said.
2019 Boys Record: 2-4
2019 Girls Record: 1-5
Coach: David Hiltz
Both the Canton girls and boys have spots to fill in their starting lineup but both squads have top runners back on the course this season. The Bulldogs call Pequitside Farm home, a 3.01 mile course that is mixed with trails, grass, and hills that make it one of the more challenging courses in the Davenport.
The boys squad graduated four of the top seven from last season but bring back its three captains in senior Jack Hernon, senior Elias Jabbour, and junior Kyle Downing. Downing was Canton’s top runner throughout last season, culminating in team-best finish at the league championship meet. After the top three of Downing, Hernon, and Jabbour, the Dogs have four spots in the lineup up for grabs. Sophomore Matt Hart, who had a solid freshman season, is a candidate for a breakout year.
“The boys have a good mix of returners with some new faces who have joined,” said head coach David Hiltz. “If we can build some depth with our four and five, run consistently, and stay healthy we should compete within each meet and strive for that third dual meet win (after a 2-3 finish last year).”
The girls have a strong core of three returners, led by senior captains Marie Messinger and Jesse Hart. Messinger was Canton’s top runner at Hocks in 2019 while Hart had strong showings against both Foxboro and Stoughton a year ago. Sophomore Johanna Bouwmeester had a breakout season as a freshman a year ago, including 41st place at Hocks. With four spots in the lineup open, it’s been a mix of other returners as well as some first time runners and freshmen competing for the openings.
“Although graduating senior leadership, there is a good mix of youth and experience that will make the top seven,” Hiltz said. “Similar to the boys, building depth in the four and five spots will determine how successful the team is this fall, with those spots going to some younger runners. A goal of the team is to increase the dual meet wins, and this year with three home meets and strong senior leadership should help in that process. Staying consistent and healthy will be key to their success this season.”
Hockomock League Cross Country
2019 Boys Record: 1-4
2019 Girls Record: 3-2
Coach: Wayne Relleva
With Joe Cusack taking over as athletic director this past school year, Wayne Relleva takes over as head coach for the Warriors’ cross country teams. Relleva will have a pair of young squads with just four seniors on the boys team and just one on the girls side.
Hosting teams at the Payson Road Fields, the Warriors are hoping home course advantage can lead to a strong start to the season as Foxboro hosts its first two meets. The boys squad features 19 total runners with senior captain Liam Cody leading the way. Relleva is also looking for junior Nicolas Olson and sophomore Brooks Stone to play big roles for the Warriors this season.
“For the season, I’m hoping to be highly competitive, improve, and win some races,” Rellava said. “Being as young as we are we have lots of room to grow over our five race season.”
Captain Amy Conley is the lone senior on the girls team and will lead the way for 10 sophomores and a freshman. Half of those sophomores are returners from a season ago, including Aine Fitzpatrick, who could be a major factor in the lineup this season. Relleva is also looking for sophomores Emilia Lacy, Mabel Linck, and Sophia Sougaris to factor into the scoring this year.
“I’m excited to see how this young team grows and comes together over our season, it should be fun to watch,” Relleva said.
2019 Boys Record: 5-0
2019 Girls Record: 4-1
Coach: Nick Bailey & Paul Trovato
Both of Franklin’s cross country squads are coming off league titles and will be looking to replicate that success in 2020. The boys team has won three straight Kelley-Rex titles and have a strong group of runners back this year to try and make it four straight. The girls bring back a pair of Hock all stars from last year’s squad that finished second at Hocks.
“With a strong senior and junior class the 2020 Franklin Boys XC team is looking forward to some tough competition once the races get underway,” said boys head coach Nick Bailey. “This team has put in the hard work necessary to be competitive in the Hockomock League and they have adapted well to social distancing guidelines we are all part of.”
Franklin will be hosting opponents on a course around the high school instead of Dacey Field. The course is a relatively fast course with a mixture of roads and fields that is 3.1 miles long. Senior Nicholas Calitri will be one of the top runners in the entire Hockomock League, fresh off a third place finish at the league meet a year ago. He will be joined by senior Declan Walmsley, who factored into the scoring in the dual meets last season and took 12th overall at the league meet, senior Josh Anderson (54th at Hocks), and junior Griffin Sieckiewicz (33rd at Hocks).
“Quite a few athletes on the team have made some great improvements since their last races all the way back in February and March and have adapted well to the new challenges that have come with the Fall 2020 season,” Bailey said. “One way or another, this will be a memorable year for our cross country team”
All-Hock selections Sydney Brady (10th at Hocks) and Caitlin Casey (18th) lead the way for the Panthers, who shared the division title with OA last year. Brady is a captain along with classmates Sydney Hawkins (who took 10th at Hocks) and Liz Petit. Juniors Charlene Peng and Liliana Duffy will bolster the Panthers lineup following successful sophomore campaigns, both finishing inside the top 30 at Hocks. RuthAnn Mulvey, a sophomore, and Angelina Perez, a senior, make the Panthers one of the deepest squads in the league.
“Last season the team finished second at the Hockomock Championship Meet. This team has a strong group of dedicated runners who are working hard and should be competitive in the Kelley-Rex Division,” said head coach Paul Trovato.
2019 Boys Record: 3-2
2019 Girls Record: 3-2
Coach: Scott Kramer & Lauren Farkash
The King Philip boys and girls cross country teams are in different situations heading into the 2020 season. The girls return their top three runners from last year’s Hockomock Championship race; all three finishing in the top 30. The boys team, however, graduated four of its top five runners from the same meet, including the Gatorade Runner of the Year Mike Griffin and Michael Norberg, who was fourth at Hocks.
But neither team is paying much attention to the past with the focus on the five-race season ahead. Senior Jovan Joseph will pace the pack for the boys, gaining plenty of valuable experience from last year’s group. Joseph is coming off a strong junior campaign that finished with a top 20 finish at the league meet. Head coach Scott Kramer is looking for a combination of juniors and sophomores to fill out the rest of the lineup. Liam Noke, Andrew Noke, Brandon Berdos, Ryan Andrews, and Matt DiFiore will all compete to be in the scoring for KP.
“The returning guys had a great summer of training,” Kramer said. “Captains Jovan Joseph and Sam Evans really ran a great program and it will be tough for any newcomers to get in the pack for us.”
KP has moved the finish line of its 5K course at the Rice Complex in Wrentham but the distance hasn’t changed. The King Philip girls squad, coming off a fourth place finish as a team at Hocks, has its top three runners back in juniors Maya Evans and Meg Sherwood as well as senior Ava Pisani. All three had strong seasons in 2019 with Evans emerging as one of the top competitors in the Hock as seen by her fourth place finish in 19:51.50 at Hocks. With some open spots in the lineup, head coach Lauren Farkash has been happy with the depth so far in training. Leah Burke and Kat Precobb are returners from last year while freshman Bridget Swezey could make an immediate impact.
“My goal this year is to just provide the girls a sense of normalcy during these unusual times,” Farkash said. “Our focus is creating good memories, strong bodies and minds, and having fun! We are not worrying about PRs or win/loss records, their enjoyment of the sport and their physical and mental health is most important!”
2019 Boys Record: 2-3
2019 Girls Record: 3-3
Coach: Ian Flanagan & Carolina DiBiase
Both the Mansfield boys and girls team are aiming to get back atop the Kelley-Rex division this season. After a 14-year run as league champs, Mansfield has been on the outside looking in over the past three seasons and will be relying on some new faces to lead the way this year. On the girls side, the Hornets have a handful of top runners back from last season to try and challenge for the division title. Mansfield will host teams at the Plymouth Street Soccer Fields (5K).
The Hornets lost their top three runners from the Hockomock Championship meet to graduation so head coach Ian Flanagan will be looking for new faces to step up. Mansfield is loaded with upperclassmen who had strong offseasons and run similar times. Junior Collin Stevens finished at 17:43.61 to take 31st overall and will be one of the top runners for the Hornets this season. Seniors Tim Corkery, Ryan Rispoli, and Trevor Flint, as well as junior Chris Leonard, will help round out a well-balanced lineup.
“We have some big shoes to fill from last year losing three of our better runners but the guys on this team are hard workers who are up for the challenge,” Flanagan said. “We also have some promising young guys who will really benefit from this season and will impact some meets this year.”
The girls are under new leadership this season as Carolina DiBiase, who has coached at MHS in the past, takes over for longtime coach Derek Ellis. DiBiase has one of the top runners returning this season in senior captain Tessa Lancaster, who crossed the finish line sixth at the league championships last year. Senior Emma Lamson is the other captain on the team and one of the top runners on the team (22nd at Hocks) as well. Senior Abby Greenberg and junior Cassidy Rice will be runners to watch this season while juniors Sophia Allen and Alanna Conley and freshmen Jen Mullert will help push the pack. Senior Anne Riley and sophomores Alexis DiVasta and Devin Anderson return as starters from last season.
“I am looking forward to seeing what they can do this season,” DiBiase said. “I have taken a break and have really enjoyed getting back into things. The girls look strong and they are ready to run and improve each week.”
2019 Boys Record: 4-1
2019 Girls Record: 3-2
Coach: Dan Gordon & Glenn O’Connor
Expectations are sky high for the Milford girls cross country team as the Hawks are aiming to soar above the competition in the Kelley-Rex division. Meanwhile, the boys might have a small squad but it includes some strong runners eager to make some noise against new competition.
The Milford girls have good reason for such high expectations with a strong group of top runners from the Hockomock League leading the pack. Senior Emma Lawrence will be among the top runners in the region after a strong offseason. In her first season running cross country, Lawrence had a remarkable year that included a 5th place finish at Hocks. She will be joined by sophomore Sydney Kalil (48th at Hocks) and a pair of indoor track league champions in Sarah Flanagan and Kerry O’Connor. Flanagan won the 300M race and O’Connor, who clocked in at 22:38.00 at last year’s league championship meet, was the Hock champ in the 600M. Maren Halpen, Haley Jansons, Eva Parsons, Kate Pease, Fiona Jordan, Stephanie Goulet, and senior captain Brittany Silverman will make the Hawks one of the deepest teams in the league.
“We’re so glad we have a season,” said Milford head coach Glenn O’Connor. “Nobody is going to happy to see the Lady Scarlet Hawks on their XC schedule.”
Dan Gordon takes over as head coach for the boys team, which has reason for optimism after some strong preseason times. Junior James Comisky is back after a strong sophomore campaign and will pace the pack for the Hawks this season. In a preseason 5K scrimmage against Mansfield, Comisky was the top finisher. Sophomore Mark Butters has grown a lot as a runner from his debut season last year and will be a key piece for Milford this season. Captain Jack Jansons will be one of the leaders for the Hawks this year.
“I am looking forward to having a safe, fun, and competitive season,” Gordon said. “My goals are that everyone leaves faster and more knowledgeable about how to race well when it matters most.”
2019 Boys Record: 3-2
2019 Girls Record: 3-2
Coach: Anne Marie McGrail
North Attleboro could be set for a breakout season for both the boys and girls teams this season. Five of the seven Rocketeer boys who scored at the league meet last season were either juniors or sophomores while only two seniors scored on the girls side, meaning North Attleboro should have a deep squad for the 2020 season.
Juniors Christopher Galligan and Griffin Goueck placed 39th and 53rd, respectively, at the league meet last season while junior Mark Carlson, junior Casey Poirier, and senior Jack McLaughlin all clocked in under 19 minutes.
On the girls side, Natalie Kaiser (32nd at Hocks) and Olivia Forbes were lost to graduation but the other six to factor into the scoring were juniors, sophomores or freshmen. Senior Melissa Sapini had North’s top placement for the girls last year when she clocked in at 21:11.52.
2019 Boys Record: 5-1
2019 Girls Record: 5-1
Coach: Kyle Sousa
The Kelley-Rex division could run through Easton this season, for both the girls and the boys. The girls split the division title with Franklin last year but bring back two of the best runners in the league and are poised for a repeat. The boys didn’t win the division but had a stellar showing at Hocks and took first place as a team with five runners in the top 20.
Of those five, the boys have three runners back – senior Kyle Sarney, junior Owen McMorrow, and senior Nathan Reservitz. Sarney will look to build on his fifth place finish at Hocks and be in the mix for one of the fastest runners in the Hock. McMorrow (13th) and Reservitz (17th) weren’t far behind so the Tigers will have a strong nucleus to lead the pack. Head coach Kyle Sousa described the boys team as a seasoned group with a lot of competitive experience.
Catherine O’Donnell and Meghan Reardon highlight a strong girls team for the Tigers. The duo finished in succession at the league meet with O’Donnell clocking in at 20:05.32 for seventh place and Reardon just a couple of seconds behind for eighth overall. Sousa is hoping that a very deep squad will translate to some dual meet wins in the quest for a second straight division title.
“Everyone around the Hockomock League and the state at large knows that the 2020 Season is going to look different than any season before it,” Sousa said. “Now more than ever, we are training through unpredictable adversity, and adapting in real time to the daily curveballs that some with a global pandemic. Never have I been so impressed by the commitment of the young men and women of Oliver Ames Cross Country. Their focus is unwavering — their commitment resolute. We are so grateful to be able to compete this fall. The Hockomock League is one of the premiere cross country leagues in the state, and we are hungry to cut our teeth on the exceptional competition in front of us. It is going to be a tough and gritty season in the Hock and we hope to be right in the thick of it.”
2019 Boys Record: 5-0
2019 Girls Record: 5-0
Coach: Tim Cimeno & Katelyn Decknick
There will be a big hole on the sidelines this season as the Eagles are set to start the 2020 season without coach Alan Conway, who passed away at the beginning of September. Conway was incredibly well-liked around the Hockomock League by runners and his peers.
On the course, the Eagles will be looking to defend their Davenport division titles as both the boys and girls earned a banner during the 2019 season. The girls will rely on a mix of veterans and new faces as they navigate a competitive field. It will start with junior Daphne Theiler, who was second overall at the league championship meet last season (19:41.21). Theiler will be joined by seniors Margaret Li and Berta Faktorovich, two runners are placed in the top 35 at Hocks. The Eagles also have some great new first year runners including sophomores Hannah Li and Grace Hu, as well as freshman Eva Olszewski.
“The girls team is hard working and there is great team spirit,” said head coach Katelyn Decknick. “As defending Hock Champs, we look strong. The team has a nice blend of well established talent and new runners hungry to race.”
The boys squad is returning five of their top seven runners while there are plenty of new faces (60 total on the team) eager to battle for a spot in the lineup. Seniors Sid Reddy (25th at Hocks), Mark Starovoytov (26th), Bradley Weiss (34th), and Jordan Saks, plus junior Balint Mihajlovits will lead a balanced and deep group of runners. New faces to watch include Matthew Lally, Ashmith Yeruva, and Jack Bates. Sharon will host home meets at Deborah Sampson Park (2.83), a flat and fast course.
2019 Boys Record: 0-5
2019 Girls Record: 0-5
Coach: Dave Barbato & Alexis Van Voorhis
There is a lot of potential when it comes to the Stoughton boys and girls cross country teams. The Black Knights made big strides as the season progressed a year ago and head coaches Dave Barbato and Alexis Van Voorhis are hoping that trend continues in 2020.
The girls lost their top runner in Rebecca Lally to graduation so the Black Knights will be relying on Elaine McCarty and Danielle Lawrence to pace the pack this season. Van Voorhis said both runners have looked strong in the two weeks of workouts and is expecting McCarty and Lawrence to work together throughout each race. Stoughton has a deep roster this year than last season and will be looking for Avrie Martin and freshman Lilly Branco to translate their track skills to the cross country course. Junior captain Jessica Maddalena is a key piece but will miss the season due to injury.
“If I were to use one word to describe this team and our season, it would be potential,” Van Voorhis said. “I have hope for every single girl on this team, that if we put in the work, this team could potentially emerge stronger and more determined than when we started. They are all fantastic people, and I am looking forward to seeing everyone’s improvement throughout the rest of the season.”
The boys team is hoping a year of experience will translate into better times as the Black Knights host opponents on a new course this season. The new course goes around the grounds of the new high school; it’s mostly flat (5K) and should be fast. The squad features four returning runners including captain Bob Currier, Colin Ozturk, Mike Henriques, and Aiden Castillo.
“The strength of their team lies with these juniors,” Barbato said. “If they can be tough, if they think they can be good and if they learn they belong up near the best from other teams Stoughton could win more than they lose.”
Hockomock League Cross Country
2019 Boys Record: 0-5
2019 Girls Record: 2-3
Coach: Jessica Ouellette & Mike Kelley
With a mix of top runners and a deep roster, the Taunton girls team enters the season with high hopes. And there is equal optimism on the boys side with a large group of talent back for the 2020 season.
The girls team features some of the top returning runners in the Hockomock League and a deep roster is providing head coach Mike Kelley with a range of options in his lineup. Senior captain Lily Valcovic and junior Nia Mainer-Smith have emerged as the top two runners for the Tigers this season while senior captains Livvy Weber and Olivia Dias give Taunton plenty of depth of experienced runners. Kelley’s roster got a big boost with a large eighth grade class, including Emersyn DePonte and Colby Dunham, who have quickly established themselves in the top five on the team.
“We’re much deeper than last year, to the point where we’ll be trying to displace other team’s fourth and fifth runners with our sixth and seventh,” Kelley said. “Being able to run in larger packs also takes pressure off individuals. The veterans have been terrific setting the example. We have four eighth graders in our varsity top ten, so the future is bright.”
On the boys side, the Tigers only lost two of their top 10 so there will be plenty of competition in-house and head coach Jessica Ouellette is hoping that translates to some success in the dual meets. Senior captains Ty Cali and Nolan Tavares return as the top two runners, as well as junior Ryan Strawbridge and sophomore Jack Pawlowski, who have put in some serious training over the summer. The Tigers have two runners to watch this year in freshmen Brayden and Andrew Cali, whose PRs last year are 17:39, and 17:50, as eighth graders.
“This is one of the stronger teams Taunton Boys XC has seen,” Ouellette said. “I’m hopeful that we can have our number three runner make a jump to sub-17 to solidify a fast 1-2-3. We have some promising younger talent as well as strong seniority up front. We have a great group of guys, who are motivated to work hard and work together to win.”