Cross Country: Seekonk Thinking State Titles
Seekonk boys and girls XC teams beat Somerset Berkley and Case to open season strong
SEEKONK - The Warriors boys and girls teams opened the 2019 cross country season in dominating fashion on Tuesday, but coach Frank Mooney and his teams are thinking bigger than regular-season wins.
“We don’t hope for success, we train for success,” Mooney said by the track at Seekonk High School after Tuesday’s meet against Somerset Berkley and Case. “Success doesn’t come from hoping or wishing. It comes from hard work and training, and these runners have been working extremely hard.”
The boys team won the Div. 5 championship last season and placed second at the All-State meet in Westfield, which features the top runners across Massachusetts from schools of all divisions, conferences and sizes. The girls were seventh at Div. 5 and return all top runners with another year of experience and growth.
That means the Warriors are not only the favorites in the South Coast Conference, but have a shot at bringing home Division championships and possible All-State titles for both boys and girls.
“You got to take the first step, and today was that first step,” Mooney said on Tuesday. “They’re hard workers and I believe hard work pays dividends. We have a long way to go, but we have high hopes for sure.”
REPORTERTODAY.COM MVPS: Seekonk’s Abigail Tenreiro and Andrew Cabral were the overall winners in the girls and boys races with Tenreiro finishing in 16:44 and Cabral in 14:35.
GIRLS CRUISE: The Warriors took eight of the top 10 spots to beat Somerset Berkley 17-46 and top Case 15-50. Hannah Bradbury was second in 17:34 and freshman Abby Rickard was third in 18:00. Rounding out the top finishers for the Warriors were Julia Rickard (fifth in 19:15), Kelsey Gendreau (sixth in 19:41), Kiley Halpin (seventh in 19:59), Vanessa Jacombe (eighth in 20:10) and Delia Rancourt (ninth in 20:41). “I’m very impressed with the girls performance today,” Mooney said. “There’re right where they want to be at this point early in the season.”
BOYS START STRONG: The Warriors took the top four spots in addition to Nos. 6 and 7 to beat Somerset Berkley 16-43 and Case 16-39. Senior Henry Jordan was three seconds behind Cabral, crossing the finish line in second place at 14:38. He was followed by sophomore Zak Laverdiere (14:47) and Marcus Hoskins (15:19). Zach Reed was sixth in 15:41 and Jacob Klang was seventh in 15:44. “Overall, we had a really nice day,” Mooney said. “They did exactly what they were supposed to do out there.”
GIRLS HAVE MIX OF YOUTH AND EXPERIENCE: Seniors Tenreiro and Bradbury give the Warriors a solid 1-2 punch at the top of the field, but the keys for success this year will be the athletes who round out the rest of the scoring. Freshman Abby Rickard impressed in her first meet with a third-place finish while Gendreau and Halpin also caught Mooney’s eye with their performances. “This is Kelsey’s first year of running and Kiley’s a freshman, so that’s two freshmen and one sophomore who finished in the top six today,” he said.
DEPTH IS KEY FOR THE BOYS: Cabral and Jordan are as solid as they come in the top spots but it’s the improvement of the rest of the field that can push the Warriors to greatness. Mooney pointed to Laverdiere and Hoskins are two runners who could make a huge impact as the season goes on. “Zak’s only a sophomore. He’s going to be great,” Mooney said. “Marcus Hoskins, last year at this time, he was not running at the level he is now. He worked so hard last spring and this summer and really started believing in himself. It’s starting to pay off. Our goal is to repeat as Division 5 champions and win the All-State meet.”
QUICK COURSE: The Seekonk cross country course is what Mooney calls “Three Fs: Flat, fast and furious.” It winds through the woods and ends along the track with a straight-away at the finish. “It’s very spectator friendly,” Mooney said. “Parents can go out on the course and cheer the kids on. It picks the kids up, no doubt about it.”
LOOSE ENDS: Klang is battling back from an injury, so although he finished seventh, Mooney is expecting bigger things going forward. “We coasted him today as he works his way back to 100%. That’ll make a big difference when he heals up.” … Some of the girls times were a little higher than expected, and Mooney attributed it to the elements along the course. “Some of the girls have asthma and the ragweed was strong today,” he said. “Once it gets cooler and the ragweed dies off, it’ll be much better.” … Many Seekonk parents came to the meet with some hanging out near the finish line while others watched from the woods or the mile split. “We had a parents meeting the first week of school and I said ‘your kids are gonna tell you not to come, but I want you here,’” Mooney said. … Sean Simmons and Caleb Cloud (13th and 14th overall) were the seventh and eighth Warriors across the finish line, and Mooney expects the pair to improve as the season goes on. “They were really nervous today,” Mooney said. “Sean is a sophomore but it’s his first time runinng. For Caleb, this is his first time being serious about running.” … Connor Barbary (25th in 18:51) is dealing with shin splints but Mooney said he’ll be good to go soon. Mooney also credited Noah Amaral (27th in 19:02) for running a solid race. … The girls took spots 14-18 overall as Ella Gerardi, Serenna Cabral, Samantha Studley, Hannah Baldassi and Zoe McElaney crossed the finish line in a row.
UP NEXT: Both the boys are girls teams will run at Attleboro High School on a 5-mile track on Saturday at an invitational meet. “We’ll get really challenged on Saturday,” Mooney said. “They’ll be some bigger schools there, so it’ll be good to see where we’re at.”