Average season won’t dampen XC’s optimism

By Julia McDermott, Archive Manager

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After a rough start to the season with injuries, rain and inexperience plaguing the cross country team, the result has not been ideal. The boys team is 0-3,and the girls team has a record of 1-2. Despite the setback, the team is hoping to perform well at states.

For the first time in five years, the girls team is better than the boys team, but neither have been flawless. The biggest meet for the girls against B-CC Oct. 2 was canceled due to rain but they fell to Wootton Sept. 19, losing by one point and Quince Orchard Oct.9, losing by five.

Despite this, head coach Paul Jacobson has a positive outlook on states.

“The girls should finish in the top three,” Jacobson said. “Our depth is very strong, and our second seven could beat many county teams.”

The top runner on the girls team is sophomore Lucy Srour, a favorite for states and even a possible contender for nationals. Srour was previously the top ranked girls runner in the county, but like the rest of her team, she has not had a perfect season.

According to Jacobson, one of Srour’s setbacks this season is nagging muscle tightness, which doesn’t always let her perform at her best.

The Montgomery County standout and team captain lost to Clarksburg senior Abbey Daley, one of Srour’s biggest competitors for states, at the Coyote Invitational Oct. 4.

“I wasn’t feeling 100 percent that day,” Srour said. “Most of the race it was really close, alternating between me and her, but she had a kick at the end that I couldn’t follow.”

At the County championships Oct. 20 Srour finished ninth due to an IT Band injury, behind Daley and two B-CC runners.

The boys team was hit with waves of injuries. Junior William Szamsseghi and seniors Julien Weinstein, Mark Clark and Johnny Franceski could not run, which resulted in losses to Sherwood, Wootton and Quince Orchard. However, top runner sophomore David Fitzgerald is gaining momentum after a slow start to the season.

“David is doing very well, like in his second place finish at Clarksburg, but he has a lot of competition,” Jacobson said.

After a 10th place finish at counties, Fitzgerald is hoping for improvement at states.

“The goal is to be in the top five,” Fitzgerald said. “I am hoping that my legs will be feeling a little better than they are now, because lately they have been hurting.”

For both teams, new runners have taken the places of previous runners in the top seven by filling in for injuries.

“Other guys have stepped up too, like Zach Lippman and Jake Smith,” Jacobson said. “The biggest surprise is the two freshmen, Fiona Asbury and Katie Wright, who have been running two and three.”

The duel meets are over for the rest of the season, and the focus lies on regionals and states, where both the team and individuals will meet their biggest competition. Although the odds are stacked against the girls team beating defending state champs B-CC, Srour is still the runner to watch.

“Physically I am hoping to be ready,” Srour said. “The state course should be difficult. It is hard to know if I will be mentally prepared.It depends on the day.”

The next meet for the cross country team is regionals Nov. 1, followed by states Nov. 10, where the team will face its biggest competition.