LHS Girls Cross Country Community

Owen Jiang and Samay Shah

This year, the Lexington High School Girls Cross Country Team secured five out of six possible wins in meets, ranking second in their division and the Middlesex League Championship (MLC).

In addition to the team’s success also came individual personal bests. At the MLC, LHS senior Ava Criniti ran a 5k time in 18:08, finishing first and at least an entire minute ahead of all other female runners, propelling LHS to a second-place finish.

Senior captains Uma Sanker and Mirra Payson finished ninth and 13th. Following their performance, freshman runners Nadia Abdinoor and Meghan Caldera placed 17th and 18th, respectively. Although there were few runners on the team, teamwork and community ultimately brought the team success.

“When I’m feeling pain… [I know] my teammates are there for me,” Abdinoor said.

During races, one of the girls’ most prominent tactics is pack running. In this system, many runners of similar speeds maintain a tight pack throughout the race. Within a group, runners support and encourage each other to continue and perform better.
“[Cross country]’s a lot about having a team. If you have other people running next to you, it’s a lot easier to push yourself and have a better time,” Payson said.

In contrast, individual running is far more difficult.

“If I’m running alone and I’m the only yellow jersey and I see a bunch of jerseys, […] it’s going to be so much more difficult to pass than one person. […] When we have a big pack of yellow, we’re more unstoppable,” Jillian Steven, a senior captain, said.

This year, the team has emphasized teamwork more than in previous years. In doing so, Coach Rebecca Trachsel saw the team improve their pack-running skills throughout the season by incorporating cooperation into their training. This teamwork and bonding translated to more successful races.

“They’re working together in a group and they practice that and they get used to it, so that it’s second nature to them. So when they race, it’s just what they do, and they’re really good at it,” Coach Trachsel said.

As a result, this year’s lack of runners has not hindered the team’s performance.

Although Lexington lost to Arlington in their final race, they were not disappointed. In a high-spirited team performance, eighteen girls set new personal bests that day.

“It’s not just about the results, but [also] how we’ve been working together,” Abdinoor said. “At the end, it’s not about what time you get, it’s more about being part of the team.”