Holliston Boys’ Cross Country Hopes for Tourney this Year

Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
Holliston Boys’ Cross Country lost three of its top seven top runners last year, although the numbers of overall runners has jumped up and shows promise.
Issue Date: 
October, 2018
Article Body: 

Last fall, Aaron Ladd took over the Holliston boys’ cross country team and guided the Panthers to a Division 4 fifth place finish and just missed out on advancing to the States. This year, with a year of coaching under his belt, Ladd is hoping that his runners can improve enough to grab a spot in the State Tournament.
“As a second-year coach, I won’t be going through the motions like the beginning of last year,” the coach said. “I know the routine and what I’m looking for.”
In order for Holliston to improve, the squad needs to have five runners cross the finish line all with decent times. Finding those runners may be difficult, as Holliston lost three of its top seven runners from last year’s team.
“The team knows what we will be looking for and what spots will be available,” Ladd said. “Finding that fifth man is important to our success. You can’t play zone defense and hide people in cross country. We need to find a fifth runner.”
Although it is still too early to tell who is going to be finishing where, Ladd does know that he has three key runners in his tri-captains Liam Engel, Mike Belger and Jason McElhinney. The trio all should finish somewhere in the top five, but where is the question. The runners all did a lot of running during the summer and ran consistent mile times.
In addition to the three captains, Holliston has a second-year runner in sophomore Sasha Brown, whom the coach is looking to be in that top five.
“Being the youngest of three brothers, all who ran for Holliston, Sasha got his feet wet, and so far, he’s jumping off the page this year with his running.”
According to the Coach, Brown also put in a lot of miles running over the summer, and his early season time trials have been great. He’s hanging with the seniors, and that’s a big leap from last year.
As the Panthers look to find that elusive fifth runner, Ladd feels comfortable that by the time the season begins someone will step forward. In the past, Holliston has had a total of 15 runners on its squad, this year, 25 runners have come out for the cross country team.
“We’re always trying to recruit to get our numbers up, but this year, we got bigger numbers and that’s very exciting,” the Coach said. “Bigger numbers means more bodies to step up and fill those spots; hopefully someone will emerge.”
At this time, that key fifth runner is To Be Announced.
Participating in the Tri-Valley League is going to be tough for the Panthers as there are some top quality cross country teams residing in the league. Luckily with the realignment, adding a large and small division will help Holliston in the long run. Being in the large division, the Panthers will not have to face elite teams such as Bellingham, Dover-Sherborn and Norton (who are all in the small division).