With its highest finish in 30 years, the Loomis Chaffee girls cross country team raced to second place in the Division I New England prep school championships on Saturday, November 13, at Phillips Andover.
Placing all five scoring runners in the top 25, the Pelicans’ pack running paid off at the New Englands, as it did in the team’s victory at the Founders League Championship a week earlier and throughout an undefeated regular season.
With 75 points, the Pelicans were second to Exeter (59 points) and topped the rest of the Division I competition, including Andover (3rd place, 102 points), Taft (4th, 107), Milton (5th, 154), and nine other schools. Just 50 seconds separated the five scoring Loomis runners, a feat unmatched by any other team at New Englands.
The last time the Loomis girls team placed as high as second at New Englands was in 1991. The team has won the New England title only once, in 1989.
On Saturday, the varsity squad knew they needed to keep level-headed and work together to compete with the elite prep school field, and they did just that from the start on Andover’s Great Lawn, through a hilly 1.5-mile loop in the woods, and back through campus and around the Great Lawn to the finish of the five-kilometer course.
Surges in the woods propelled freshmen Natalie Crocker and Lexi Barry, sophomore Sofia Rincon, and senior Brooke Barry into the top 20. With a determined last kilometer, they held their pack together to cross the finish line in 11th, 12th, 13th, and 16th places, respectively.
Gutsy racing by junior Maeve Dowd and sophomore Sylvia Barresi revealed the depth of the Loomis team. Placing 23rd overall and as the No. 5 Pelican, Maeve beat the fifth runners from all other teams and the fourth runners from every team except Exeter.
At No. 6 for Loomis, Sylvia garnered important displacing points by outrunning the scoring No. 5 runners from every team but Exeter and placing 29th overall. Rounding out the varsity squad was sophomore Logan Elie, who had an off day but finished the race in 75th place.
Natalie, Lexi, Sofia, and Brooke earned All-New England honors by placing among the top 20 individuals.
They will race together in the New England Prep School Track Association All-Star Cross Country Meet this Saturday at St. Mark’s School to wrap up an incredible season.