The St. John Paul II cross country teams put forth a good effort on Tuesday, but even before the last runners crossed the finish line the meet belonged to the home team Monomoy Sharks, who earned a solid victory in the Cape and Islands League.
The meet kicked off around 4:30 on Oct. 11, with the Sharks dominating on their home course, a nearly three-mile trek that winds through the Island Pond Cemetery and surrounding area.
First out were the boys, with Steve Young setting a personal best with his time of 17:57.
“My lungs killed throughout the entire thing,” he said. “It was very tiring, but first place is very good so I’m happy with it.”
Following Young was teammate Graham Smith, finishing in second with his time of 18:13, with Tom Graham claiming third with his time of 18:50.
Next across was Liam Prescott at 18:56, Vincent Jodice at 19:09, Jack Watson at 19:25, Ryder Robbins at 20:34, Aidan Nelson at 20:56, Patrick Smeltzer at 22:35, and Jason Zou at 23:05.
Margo Dery crossed the finish line first for the girls with a time of 22:13, a time she’s posted twice now on the Monomoy course.
“That’s the second time,” she said. “I could have done a lot better, but I feel really good.”
Dery said what keeps her a motivated member of the team is a passion for the sport.
“The adrenaline rush that I have while I’m running,” she said. “And just the fact that I love to run.”
Following Dery was Caroline Davoc at 23:39, Marie Zabadova at 23:45, Jenny Jackson at 23:55, another repeat time, Emma Mitchell at 24:28, Saray Dean at 25:05, Emily McIlvin at 26:04, and Maya Archambault at 28:19.
Head coach Don Bates was pleased with his team’s performance.
“The times have been steadily improving, and we’re early in our season compared to some of the other teams,” Bates said. “It’s going along fine. I have no complaints. They do their work and it pays off.”
Bates said the seniors in the program have been important to the team’s successes.
“The seniors have stepped up, particularly Graham Smith,” Bates said. “He did his work over the summer and it’s really paid off.”
Bates added that the entire team works well as a whole.
“They’re working as a group,” he said. “The whole key to cross-country is to get your first five in as quickly as you can, the smaller the gap. We’ve kept the gap to a minute, or a minute and 10 seconds, which is really good and translates into victories.”
Some of the team’s newer runners, including Robbins and Nelson, are working their way toward the 20-minute mark on the course, which is significant improvement.
Bates is also looking to Dery for improvement, which he said will inspire her teammates.
“She will break through,” he said. “If she does, Caroline’s going to move up, Marie’s going to move up, and Jenny’s going to move up. They’re all on the cusp.”
The boys have their sights set on their Nov. 1 meet with Sturgis East, in which a win could mean a share of or the entire Cape and Islands League crown, a first for the Sharks.
Next up for the entire team is a travel meet against Sturgis West on Oct. 18, followed by the final home meet of the season on Oct. 25 against Cape Cod Academy.