(Nov. 2, 2018) Worcester Prep runners dominated the girls’ and boys’ races last Wednesday during the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference cross country championship meet in Berlin.
“I think everybody got their best time of the season, if not, I think most got their personal best, which was fantastic,” Prep Coach Keith Geiger said. “It’s a great way to end the year when everyone’s running their best. That’s kind of what you want in sports, to finish the year strong.”
Worcester Prep, Delmarva Christian and Salisbury School participated in the meet. The top four runners to cross the finish line in the boys’ race were from Worcester.
Leading the pack was sophomore Graham McColgan. He completed the race in 17:56.
“I definitely wanted to get under 18 minutes, that was a goal of mine all season. I pushed it to my limits,” he said. “I feel like the whole team did really well overall.”
Finishing the boys’ race first earned McColgan the Runner of the Year award.
“My first year running to win that, I feel like that’s a big deal,” he said. “It’s a great accomplishment. It’s super exciting.”
Coming in second through fourth place for the Mallards were sophomore Connor Carpenter (18:21), junior captain Enzo Zechiel (19:45) and junior Frank Carter (20:11).
Worcester’s fifth runner, junior Gavin Hentschel, crossed the finish line in seventh place overall (20:18).
Prep freshman Myranda Beebe won the girls’ competition in 21:43. She earned the female Runner of the Year award.
“I was thinking about that the whole time I was running. I just wanted to finish and do good, so I’m really proud,” she said. “It was so exciting. Just seeing everyone cheer was so cool. I was struggling in the first mile, but after that I felt pretty good throughout the whole thing. I got a PR so I was happy about that, too.”
Rounding out the top five runners for Worcester were junior captain Ashley Laws (second, 23:42), junior Quinn McColgan (third, 23:45), senior captain Hannah Merritt (sixth, 25:22) and sophomore Anna Dashiell (eighth, 26:32).
The top six finishers in each race received All-Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference awards.
Geiger thought the season went well overall.
“We had a few injuries early on to some of the top runners, but I think other people stepped up and surprised me. People I didn’t quite expect started running better and better,” he said. “They filled the gaps that were left by the injuries. Overall, it was a great year. Ending the year with everyone doing their personal best is what you want. It’s all you can really ask for.”
Only a handful of athletes will be graduating, so both teams will return a majority of their top runners.
“I think we’ll be pretty strong next year,” Geiger said.
Both McColgan and Beebe said they were surprised to lead their respective squads throughout the season as young newcomers. They are looking forward to returning next season to do it again.
“I have a ton of friends on the team and a lot of people pushed me and motivated me and I hope I did the same for them,” McColgan said. “I knew there were good runners. I definitely wanted to be up there. I knew I had the potential to be a top runner so I pushed myself a lot all year. I’m looking forward to coming back and hopefully improve.”
“Everyone is really supportive of each other and everyone’s a big family, so it’s so much fun being around everyone,” Beebe said. “It was weird as a freshman [to lead the girls] because I expected to be one of the slower people on the team, then I was like ‘whoa,’ I didn’t expect that.”
Geiger was also pleasantly surprised by the young runners’ performance.
“I think Graham and Myranda are really impressive. They really work hard and they’ve been getting better and better by a lot,” Geiger said. “It’s harder to get better and better when you’re the best runner. It becomes increasingly harder to cut seconds off the time but they’ve been able to do it.
“And Connor Carpenter too. Those three are always at practice – I don’t think any of them have missed a practice the whole year,” he continued. “They haven’t taken any runs off and it shows because they’re the best runners and they set a good example for everyone.”