Girls Cross Country Races Past Competition

Girls Cross Country has had a fast-paced start to the season and hopes to maintain the same energy and positivity that has brought the girls success in past years. At the first meet of the season, the Canterbury Invitational, the team placed one rank higher than last year. However, the team faces major changes this year that could shake up its dynamic.
The team has a new Head Coach, Anna Klimmek. Coach Klimmek ran cross country at Smith College and has coached both at the college and high school level. The girls quickly got used to the work ethic she implemented from day one. Co-captain Riley Henshaw ’20 said, “During preseason, she pushed us really hard and a few girls even quit the team, but we quickly learned that she is very considerate of how we’re doing and our bodies.”
Although a new coach has led to different practices, Riley, along with Jennifer Li ’20 and Lucy Haswell ’20, have worked to maintain the fun atmosphere of the Girls Cross Country team. Riley emphasized that fun Fridays are extremely important to team spirit, especially after strenuous, long-distance practices on Tuesday and Thursday. Riley said, “The La La Fairy Friday tradition is where Seniors run around looking ridiculous by wearing tutus, have scoopie circles, and just talk[ing]. If we’re close, we’re going to have more fun. Having a positive attitude is very important, especially before races, because each runner will do significantly better.”
As the new Head Coach, Klimmek has many ideas for new strategies and plans for the team, with the goal of helping all the runners grow and surpass their previous times. Klimmek, along with Assistant Coach Michelle Repass, hope that the team will improve as a whole and keep putting in hard work for the rest of the season by increasing the distance and intensity of workouts while ensuring that runners are getting the proper rest they need to keep their legs healthy. Klimmick said, “[I want to] help each of the runners improve their times by encouraging them to continually challenge themselves to run farther and faster. I would like to see the team place better than [it] did last New Englands.”
The team has always been close-knit, which has propelled them further every year. The Seniors, especially, work to create a supportive and cheerful environment. Courtney Contiguglia ’21 touched on the team’s chemistry, describing how the seniors helped team bonding saying, “the Seniors created a strong sense of camaraderie on the team. Many people believe that cross country is an individual sport, but it really isn’t; we all work together to earn points for Hotchkiss. The Seniors made sure that we didn’t lose sight of this.”
The girls’ next meet is The Shaler Invitational on Saturday October 26 at Williston, followed by only two more meets leading up to the New England Championship.