Cross Country dominates, establishing a running victory against top rival

On Wednesday, October 21, a damp day swollen with cold, the Dana Hall Varsity Cross Country team beat their top rival, Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart (NCDS), on Newton’s own course, for the first time in 15 years.

Two weeks later, on October 30, the Cross Country team repeated their victory, sweeping Homecoming and marking the start of a winning streak that led directly into the season’s culminating race, Eastern Independent League (EILs), where, once again, they edged out NCDS, coming second in the entire league.

The team’s top eight runners then traveled to Danbury, Connecticut––enduring a six-hour round-trip bus ride––to compete at the New England’s tournament, hosted by the Canterbury School. Out of 24 schools, Dana Hall placed sixth, just above NCDS.

Co-captain Abby Durfee ’17 was “psyched” to beat Newton for the first time, saying, “everyone worked so hard and did their best. There were a lot of personal records, which is definitely an accomplishment!”

This year’s team roster boasts an impressive assortment of athletes, all of whom contributed to the team’s newfound success. Co-captain Abby Durfee ’17 dominated at EILs, upholding her consistently top performances and running the course in 19 minutes and 45 seconds, taking first overall. Competitive additions to the team are Millie Benkert ’19, and Ali Frambes ’19, two freshmen whose quick times have raised the Cross Country team to new levels of success. Frambes finished 12th overall, snatching the title of All-League, an impressive feat, especially considering that she’s only one year into her high school cross country career.     

Varsity Cross Country coach Mr. Brian Cook says that “three big differences” have distinguished this year’s season from past years, fueling the team’s winning streak. For one, “many of the girls are a year older, a year stronger, a year more experienced.” Another factor was new additions to the team. But, perhaps most importantly, was, as Mr. Cook put it, the “camaraderie” runners showed in “supporting and pushing each other to practice and get better every day.”  

Cross country is a unique sport in that it recognizes the performance of the individual athlete while still emphasizing the importance of the team’s performance. Scoring reflects this. In cross country, the lowest score wins. Only a team’s top five runners score, with its first through fifth finishers scoring the number of points they placed. As a team’s fifth runner scores the most points for her team, her time is often the vital factor that determines her team’s final score.

The Cross Country team is always on the lookout for new athletes who enjoy running in crisp, fall air and who want to stretch themselves both mentally and physically and, ultimately, gain skills that will spill over into other areas of their lives.  

Photo: The starting line at the October 21 race at NCDS. Photo credit: Marcie Bruder.

Comments are closed.