GROTON — At the start of the 2014 cross-country season, Groton-Dunstable girls’ cross-country coach Colleen Naboicheck was optimistic, but what coach isn’t at that time of the year?
On Monday afternoon, the Crusaders capped off the perfect 6-0 regular season with a 25-35 win over the Westboro Rangers.
“It has truly been a perfect season in many ways,” Naboicheck said. “I knew that we had something special from the start. Our top runner, Emily Wilson, is only a freshman, and behind her is junior Emily McAuliffe.”
The Crusders next stop is tomorrow’s league meet in Marlboro. Groton-Dunstable has just one thing on its mind.
“Our goal is to win the Midland B championship outright at Saturday’s league meet, but if for some reason we do not, we will be co-champs with Nashoba. The girls, however, are determined to make the league title their own.”
Groton-Dunstable currently sits in fifth place in the latest Telegram and Gazette Central Mass cross-country poll.
“Honestly, I am very surprised no one has picked up on our success, yet,” Naboicheck said. “I am not sure why we are not number three or fourth — they’ve seen our times. It’s not like our times aren’t good.”
The usual complexion of the Midland B is Nashoba is the favorite and everybody else will fall in line behind them … except for this year.
The Crusaders knocked off the Chieftains in a tight race at their home course in Bolton. Nashoba provided the only challenging meet of the season. Groton-Dunstable ran away with the other five.
There is no quit in this Groton-Dunstable team, and the scary thing for the rest of the league is their youth.
“I know we’re young, but the girls don’t look intimidated at the starting line, they look confident,” Naboicheck said. “I told the girls at the start of the season to take it one meet at a time, and that is exactly what they did. When we beat Nashoba earlier in the season, we knew that we could contend with anyone in the league.”
Wilson has emerged as the Crusaders top-runner. At the start of the season, Naboicheck knew that she had her top-three, but didn’t know who would emerge as the leader of the pack.
On Monday at Westboro, Wilson completed the 3.08 mile course in a time of 19:27, 1:05 faster than Westboro’s Emily Desmond. Other notable finishes belonged to McAuliffe, who completed the course in 20:42.
“McAuliffe is our solid second place runner, but what’s interesting I have three girls who typically finish within 20 seconds of each other,” Naboicheck said. “So, we don’t have a solid middle, but those girls constantly push each other, which in turn makes the team stronger.”
Those runners are Meagan Odell, Sarah Mullins and Samantha Ferraro.
However, the Crusaders are healthy and ready to peak at the right time.
“Kate Nash and Heather Mitchell have consistently been our sixth and seventh place finishers, but what’s happening now is some other girls are starting to do better,” Naboicheck said.
“I have some senior runners who started slow with injuries and now they’re coming on strong. I have a six, seven, eight and nine, who are going to be able to help us. We are really strong across the board.
We have more depth now than we did at the beginning of the season. Saturday’s league is going to be interesting — everybody is going to be gunning for us.”
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