Girls Cross Country Team Second in the Baker CAL


Pia Stewart, Journalist

The Girls Cross Country Team before their first meet of the season at the Crane Estate.

The Ipswich Girls Cross Country Team has had a uniquely successful season. With only 4 returning runners, Senior Captain Amelia worried that the team would have a defeated season. Despite this, with its 10 new members, the team scored second in the Cape Ann League (CAL) Baker Division having the best season in all of Ipswich’s history.

Many of the girls on the team claimed that they had never thought of joining before this past season, yet ended up loving it. Amelia spent a lot of time recruiting in the past year with her highest concern being “having enough people on the team to score in meets”. For a team to be eligible for a win, the team must have at least 7 runners. With only 4 returning members, this gave Captain Amelia and Coach Bart quite the scare.

Senior runner Maggie states a reason she joined: “The idea of going for a nice run after school with my friends sounded like so much fun and also a great way to get some exercise in and destress after a long school day.” The 14 girls on the team instantly clicked, which many girls have claimed was an aspect that convinced them to stay, especially through the difficult first few weeks.

New members worried that it would be difficult to begin racing with no prior distance running experience. However, after a few painful weeks of training in late August and early September, the team’s outlook on the season began to shift. The first meet of the year was against Amesbury, at Ipswich’s home course: the Crane Estate. This 3.2 mile course is known for its difficulty and length throughout the CAL. 

The meet was a close one, but Coach Bart believed we would pull through. Amelia, Moira, Pia, and Kamaya placed first, fourth, sixth, and seventh respectively, putting Ipswich and Amesbury at nearly a tie, with Amesbury slightly ahead. For Ipswich to win, the next two runners in must be Ipswich, however, if the next runner was Amesbury, Ipswich would lose. Ipswich seniors Lucy and Maggie rounded the corner into the beach parking lot just in time, the two sprinted it out securing the win for Ipswich. 

This win boosted the girl’s confidence for the upcoming meets. Weeks of running the best routes–Caroline’s House, Doyon, The Nature Trail–as well as the running the worst routes–Graveyard Loops, 5-5-5, and Windmill–did a good job at conditioning the girls for challenges to come: Hamilton Wenhams notorious killer hill, and the grassy rolling hills of Wrentham. 

Reflecting on the season, the girls all concur that the season has benefitted them not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Maggie recalls that her confidence in her running ability and stamina has improved. The team’s hour-long practices allowed the girls to support other fall teams, and gave them plenty of time to work on college applications and homework.

Finally, the team’s motto–”Tales and Trails”–encapsulates the spirit and personality of the team well. Running is a difficult sport, not just physically but mentally, which has bonded these girls like no other sport.