Brandyn Dougan proved that he is not only one of the best cross-country runners in the Fairchester Athletic Association but perhaps the best leaner as well. The Rye Country Day senior captain’s extra effort at the finish line, out-leaning the Brunswick Bears’ Andrew Grasso in 16:59, won the individual boys’ race October 13 at Brunswick School.
Paul Fanto, also a senior member of the Wildcats, came in fifth with a time of 17:47. The team was able to defeat both Masters and St. Luke’s in the dual-meet scoring, but fell to the host school, which had five athletes finish in the top ten.
“The team actually has exceeded my expectations,” said head coach Ethan White. “We lost many seniors to graduation, but to my delight, the group that appeared on the first day of preseason was a strong and enthusiastic bunch. The camaraderie of the kids is just fantastic. They all support each other so well, and they have a tremendous amount of spirit.”
On the girls’ side, both the Wildcats and Holy Child featured performers who posted top-ten times on Brunswick’s pastoral course. Brianna McCoughlin took bronze for the Gryphons by clocking in at 21:30, while Rye Country Day’s Ashley Wolitzer finished ten seconds behind her in fourth. Holy Child’s Georgia Crane crossed the finish line next, with a time of 21:51 good enough for fifth. Skye Aresty, a Wildcat, placed sixth at 22:54, and the Gryphons’ Ellen Lautenbach rounded out the group with an eighth place time of 22:46.
“Brianna and Georgia ran close to a minute faster than they did three weeks ago on the same course, while Ellen raced to a career-best 5K time,” said Holy Child head coach Declan Foley of his top finishers. “They all looked very comfortable in the race and finished strong. While they all ran well, I know they are eager to do much better.”
Foley went on to note that McLoughlin, Crane, Lautenbach, and junior captain Kendra McNulty have been a great asset to the team because of their willingness to do more than just “go for a run.” Both McLoughlin and Crane are new to cross-country, but decided to join after spending seasons with Foley on the track.
“I was very pleased when they told me they were making the jump from field hockey to cross, as I knew that they would be very good,” said Foley. “While nothing has happened overnight for any of the four, they have slowly become students of their sport – asking questions, taking notes, being observant – and have taken advantage of every resource I have made available to them.”
White was also effusive in praising his athletes, taking time to point out the dedication of captains Anders Mikkelsen, Liz Manus, and Becky DeLeon, as well as junior Ashley Wolitzer.
“Our goal at the season’s start was simply to be very competitive in the FAA, and that’s what we have done so far,” said White. “There are some very fast, deep teams in the league, and we are proud to complete with them at a high level.”