Ipswich Cross Country Excels in an Under-Appreciated Sport


Senior Garrett (G-Money) Silveria pushes through the last corner for a strong finish.

Paul Wertz, Journalist

As the fall sports season comes to a close, the excitement of playoffs grows. The fall sports season has been a very successful one for Ipswich. Both girls and boys soccer teams made the state tournament and won their first round games. The volleyball team has had another dominating season, winning the Cape Ann League and State Tournament. The field hockey team has also stormed through their regular season and into the playoffs, making it all the way to the State Championship. The cross country team went undefeated and also won the Cape Ann League. 

If you are a supporter of the Ipswich athletic program, have you been to any games this fall? Which teams have you seen play? If you aren’t the relative of a cross country runner then you most likely haven’t been to any races. Cross country isn’t exactly the most spectator friendly sport. Coach Sue Markos describes how “It doesn’t necessarily have the thrill of the duration of the event that other sports do.”  As a cross country runner, it is understandable that cross country isn’t a very exciting sport to watch. Although it isn’t a spectator sport, cross country gets more hate than it really deserves. 

Many runners have come through the program dreading long and boring runs every day, but come out with a great love and respect for the sport. It is common for an athlete to change sports and run cross country. Two of the current senior captains are a perfect example. Daniel Buletza went from soccer to cross country after his freshman year, along with Teddy Gray who started cross country his junior year. Teddy Gray shows his respect for the sport, telling me that it “requires just as much effort and work if not more than anything else.”  Teddy’s words should also not be taken lightly, as he used to be a lineman for the football team during his freshman and sophomore years. 

The runners find the sport to be much more enjoyable than previously expected. The Ipswich Cross Country team has a very closely-knit team environment. Ipswich is known for its “pack”. It is very common for Ipswich to have their second, third, fourth, fifth and even up to the seventh best runner, to finish right after another without any opposition in between. This is the main reason the team has been so dominant this past season. The “pack” is due to the team training together every day, instead of everyone training individually based on their own ability. Teammates often describe the team as a family because of how close everyone becomes by the end of the season. There are also many fun activities besides running. There are team dinners every week and the team helps out in the community at different events like the dinner bell. You can also find the team at the gaga pits behind the school every day before practice. 

Cross country isn’t the boring sport many people think it is. While the other successful Ipswich sports teams get their fair share of appreciation, sometimes the cross country program doesn’t feel like they get the recognition they deserve. There are many great things about the sport that people usually don’t consider.