Cross Country Takes the Lead

by: Michelle Shavnya


As the season drew to a close, each girl reflected on the hard work leading to their ECC victory, and later third place finish in the State championship.
“It’s been fun seeing the progression of the team never winning [ECCs] to winning two years in a row,” said senior Colleen Keller.
The transformation did not happen by chance. Many girls attended the Northeast Kingdom Running Camp in Vermont, specifically designed to train runners.
Senior Claire Mason, who experienced her first season of cross country after doing track for three years, liked that the mostly individual sport allowed the team to “collectively achieve  success.”
For best friends, seniors Alicia Lan and Erin Toole, they liked that cross country allowed them to support each other. In fact, Toole originally convinced the then-reluctant Lan to join.
“[Toole has] continuously supported me as a runner and has pushed me to be the best I can be and I try to do the same for her,” said Lan.
Coach Mike Flynn was thrilled the team won, but said providing a supportive environment for his runners was more important to him.
“I want to keep building on the foundations we have—of commitment and bonding—regardless of how fast or slow you are,” said Flynn. “I just want it to be a family-like environment.”




The boys’ cross country team won ECCs for the third time in 47 years, bringing victory to East Lyme High School. They rolled their momentum into State Championships, winning first place.
“We went in there knowing we could lose, and that drove us to succeed,” said senior Eli Montleon, who is captain of the team with senior Ryan McCauley and senior Christian Wilson.
The biggest rivals in past years are Lyman Memorial and NFA.
“They weren’t ready for us,” said Montleon.
Junior Sam Whittaker won first place in ECCs and 3rd in States, and freshman Fisher Macklin placed 12th in ECCs. The team prepared by building individual strengths to beat  opponents.
“This is a very unique, hard working team,” said boys’ cross country coach Sam Harfenist. “The captains are great at promoting teamwork.”
Both skill and teamwork propelled the team to success.
“The social aspect of running’s the best,” said McCauley. Many runners became friends through practicing together.
“Chris Abbey has been my closest friend this season, he’s been my training partner,” said junior Sam Whittaker.
The hard work of the team paid off.
“We have been working since the summer with hopes of winning ECCs and States, and we won both. It’s amazing we accomplished our goals as a team,” said Whittaker.

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