Hopkinton Boys XC Has a Bright Future

Brendan Coccio

Hopkinton Boy’s XC has enjoyed a great season so far, but their future shows even more promise. Over the past two seasons, the program has experienced an upward trend and many key team members plan to return next year, as the young core of runners are yet to reach their peaks.

While last year’s varsity men’s team was comprised of many talented athletes, the group had many freshmen and other newcomers with a lack of running experience at the high school level.

Last season, the boys earned a respectable 3-3 record during the regular season, along with a sixth place finish in the 2016 Tri-Valley League Championship. However, a year later, the boys demonstrated significant improvement this season after gaining more experience. Despite missing last year’s leading runner Johnny Crown to injury for the majority of the season, they achieved a 5-1 regular season record while placing fourth in this year’s 2017 Tri-Valley League Championship.

Although the season is over for the majority of the team, the top ten runners traveled to Wrentham on Saturday, November 11 to compete in the Division 3 State competition. Alex Brown sealed qualification to All-States.

When looking at this year’s squad, there is a solid mix of age and experience.

“We are an older team this year. We have a lot of sophomores and juniors who have gotten better since last year. Since we only graduated one varsity runner, this team is young, but has lots of experience” said sophomore Cody Ottinger.

Cross-country is a unique sport because it is no-cut and accepting of athletes from other sports. First year sophomores such as distance track runner Alex Brown and former football player Patrick Barnes have both made immediate impacts in the varsity lineup.

Returning varsity starters including sophomores Ian Cann, Cody Ottinger, and Will Dionne, as well as junior Sam Cote have been vital to the team throughout the season. With seven of the team’s top ten runners being sophomores, there is still plenty of time for additional improvement. As long as the strong work ethic stays, the team can only go up from here.

One of the keys to their success this season was their hard work over the summer. Strict running programs and weekly captains practices effectively prepared the team.

“The freshmen last year who are now sophomores put in a lot of work over the summer and trained really hard, so they could get their times down and benefit the team… the group dynamic is great this year,” said junior Sam Cote.

Many of the Hillers athletes are determined to reach their full potential through hard work year round, whether it is through weight training, running during indoor and outdoor track, or by participating in another additional sport.

Overall the team has maintained both a competitive and fun atmosphere throughout the fall and they hope to continue their upward momentum to achieve something truly special for years to come.