The Pirates girl’s cross country squad came into the 2015 season as a young team and finished it with a 14-1 record, a Patriot Division title (4-0) and came in 11th at the State, Group 2 meet at Holmdel.
The girls squad might have taken some opponents by surprise in 2015, but not head coach Jo Guscott, who knew exactly what she had coming into the season; a team laden with youthful experience.
“The girls stayed very positive throughout the season, even if they struggled individually. They were all leaders. I was really pleased with their fighting spirit. I also had two freshmen step up in Ashley Rafferty, who ended up being in our top seven and ran at sectionals and states, and Amelia Devone, who’s going to be a big factor next year.”
Cinnaminson lost just three girls to graduation from 2014, one of them from the top 7, which means six girls returned for 2015 who gained valuable experience last year and even more experience on the courses this season.
That experience certainly helped as Cinnaminson had to travel for every single meet this year due to the construction on campus of the new gym.
Guscott also credited the culture of the squad the girls created as a major impact on their success this season.
“I think developing a really good girl culture is big for us because they’re there for each other. The girls feel very comfortable and very supported in this,” Guscott said.
“We keep it fun and very supportive. I think that’s what motivates them. If you watch them during a meet, they’re cheering for each other. Even the ones who don’t make the top seven are up at 7 on a Saturday morning and on the bus to cheer for each other. I think that plays a big role in their success.”
The girl’s cross country squad lost its only race of the season during its first batch meet of the year at New Egypt. The loss came to Moorestown.
As evidenced by their lone loss of the season, the Pirates went on to sweep their remaining batch meets en route to a Patriot Division title and a berth in sectionals.
At the South Jersey Open, the Pirates had a top 10 finisher in Haley Adams, who came in 6th with a time of 20:16. The squad placed 2nd overall.
The Pirates then moved onto the BC Open, where they finished 5th overall as a team as Adams came in 11th and Madison Edwards came in 25th.
On October 21, the Pirates took part in the BCSL Open with Haley Adams winning the Patriot Division meet and the squad winning the Patriot Division with a total of 27 points. Adams, Olivia Rocks and Edwards were named to the Patriot 1st Team.
At sectionals, the Pirates finished third as a team, advancing to the state meet. Adams finished 9th to advance to states as well.
“When we came in third at sectionals I knew we would go to states as a team, which was really great,” Guscott said. “Taking the whole team for the second year in a row was very special to me.”
The state meet at Holmdel saw the Pirates finish 11th as a team, falling short of sending any runners to the Meet of Champions.
“I thought the girls ran well, but we’ve got more. They have more in them,” Guscott said. “I have to figure out a way to get it out of them. Running hurts, and it’s painful, but it’s temporary. You have to work through the pain and if I can get the girls to that point, we will be very strong next year.”