The Journey to NXR: Lady Sabers Cross Country

After last year’s astonishing season finish, the lady Sabers battled their way to Nike Cross Regionals for their second consecutive year in a row. After the talent lost in last years graduating class, it was no sure thing that this year’s team would be able to step it up to the same level of competition that the previous year’s team achieved.

The team graduated many spots on varsity; losing top runner Madeleine Hunt, number six runner Shannon Early and number seven runner Emily Ehrenstein.  All in all a huge loss to the team but as the season progressed the big question for the team was how will these spots get filled?  What would be this team’s season goals?

Talented girls who were the backdrop of last year’s team emerged to prevalence. Senior Captain Jane Leighton, consistently placed high in important meets; all the while cutting her time down from a 19:26.1 at the Bobcat Invitational to a stunning personal record of 17:49.4 at the Meet of Champions. Leighton crushed the old SHS girl’s Meet of Champions record by a whopping 19 seconds by earning her fourth place in the biggest most competitive race in NH.

Right behind Leighton,  Arielle Zlotnick consistently raced hard, placing well throughout the year with a season record of 18:26.1. Senior Captain Elise Lambert also cut her times down to a comparable 20:35.5 at the NHIAA D2 State Championships. Lambert was the recipient of the most improved runner award at the cross country banquet and was a key role model and Captain to all her teammates. Additionally, sophomore Marissa Romano progressed well since last season to be a valued asset. A transfer sophomore, Mackenzie Hayden, was a pleasant surprise to the team.  She helped to fill the gaps left by last season’s graduated seniors.    

Featured Marissa Romano, Arielle Zlotnick

This year’s team had a deep lineup rarely seen, allowing them to rebound and fill their top varsity spots with talented young runners.Even though only the top seven get to race varsity, our top ten would have been on the varsity of almost any other team in our division,” said Coach Jeff Wilson.  The Girls Cross Country team had many talented runners to back each other up and to raise the varsity standard.

This season, the lady Sabers built a strong confident team that reached a level of excellence and carried them all the way to Nike Cross Regionals, and made them champions at both the Division II State Meet and New Hampshire Meet of Champions for the second year in a row.

Featured Elise Lambert, Mackenzie Hayden

Next year’s team is looking good with much of its team staying intact.“This year’s team had the depth and gap to be just as good, if not better, than past (SHS) teams, even last years, and a lot of that talent is going to still be here for next years team.” said Coach Wilson. The girls cross country will have a solid base come next season, and we’re looking forward to seeing what they’ll be able to accomplish next year!