The girl’s cross country program has grown immensely over the past couple of years and 2016 will be no different. A new head coach, Tim Callinan, will make sure the team continues its run of successful seasons when the girls hit the course next weekend.
Cinnaminson will open its 2016 campaign on Saturday, September 10 at the Cherokee Challenge.
“It’s no pressure and it’s class races, so everybody can get involved,” Callinan said. “They are two mile races. I just want the girls to go in and have fun.”
Callinan takes over for Jo Guscott, who retired from coaching after a 14-1 season for the Pirates in 2015.
“They had a lot of success last year and they want to replicate it. It’s been going well so far,” Callinan said. “They’re a good group of girls. A few of them I’ve had in indoor and outdoor track, so we’re used to each other. It makes it easy.”
Callinan is no stranger to running, as he is an assistant coach for the winter track program and the girl’s track and field team in the spring.
“It’s their team. They’ve been together for a while,” Callinan said. “They’ve had some success and we want to keep it going. We want to take everything slowly. I do some things a little differently, so I want to bring them along slowly and stay positive in everything we do.”
This year’s team boasts 24 girls, with a large junior class, that will compete with some of the toughest teams in Burlington County.
The Pirates batch meet season begins on Tuesday, September 13 at BCIT against Delran, BCIT, New Egypt, Pemberton and Maple Shade.
Delran, BCIT and Pemberton are once again in the Pirates division along with Bordentown.
“Delran always has girls that are looking to do something nice,” Callinan said. “Bordentown had a nice team a couple years ago. Their numbers have been up and down, but they’ll still be pretty good.”
Holy Cross and Maple Shade have moved out of the Pirates division for the 2016 season.
Moorestown, Rancocas Valley and Northern Burlington are also on the Pirates schedule this year.
Callinan has been impressed with the team’s work ethic since pre-season began two weeks ago.
“They are definitely willing to work hard. We met up a couple times over the summer. We were meeting up twice a week,” Callinan said.
“Every day we had at least 10 or 11 girls. They got together when I wasn’t around too and were doing hills, bleacher workouts and running. Since we started the pre-season they have been willing to try new things. It’s been great.”
Callinan talked about what his message has been to the girls since pre-season opened in the middle of August.
“Every meet that we go into we need to know that there’s going to be ups and downs. Not everyone is going to have a great race every single day,” Callinan said. “They put in more work this summer than I was hoping they could get in. They have to rely on each other as a group and stay positive.
The main goal of the cross country season is to be at your peak performance come November, when sectionals and states are held.
“There’s 24 girls. Anybody who is not in the top seven at sectionals will still have an intrasquad race the day before states,” Callinan said. “We don’t know how it’s going to shake out. I want to keep everybody together.”
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