Nashoba X-Country Runs Strong at States

Published in the November 19, 2008 issue of The Stow Independent

By Jordana Bieze Foster

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Cross country isn't the most high profile of sports, at Nashoba Regional or any other high school. There is no homecoming meet, no pep band, no cheerleaders. But last Sunday, long after the playoff aspirations of all other Chieftain sports had expired, Nashoba's runners once again established themselves as among the fastest in the state.

With a third-place team finish at the state meet, the boys' team completed its somewhat eerie seasonlong duplication of the 2007 team's accomplishments. Junior Brendon Aylaian of Stow even matched the fifth-place individual performance of last year's top runner, Anthony Raduazo, who now runs for Williams College. But junior Coby Horowitz, also of Stow, took the Chieftains to an even higher level of individual achievement by placing third out of 146 runners.

Impressive, certainly, but not entirely surprising. Not given that the Chieftains had an undefeated dual-meet season and won league and district titles for the second year in a row. And not when you consider that Chieftain runners have qualified for the state meet in seven of the last eight years.

“Usually we gear our season for the district race. This year from the very beginning our training has been for the state meet, and we were really ready,” said longtime head coach Don Gribbons. “For the last three decades these kids have always worked hard. At Nashoba, certain sports have always been major sports, but it's nice at these state meets when you see that Nashoba is really known statewide for its running.”

And that's true for the girls as well. Although the team as a whole didn't qualify for the state meet, the Chieftains were well represented by senior Molly Porcher, who finished 34th out of 148 runners, and freshman Abby Hurd, who finished 27th and had the second fastest freshman time overall.

“It was probably the two best races they've run all season,” said head coach Dan Glover, who admitted he thought his top two runners would be lucky to place in the top 50. “They ran strong races, they ran very smart, and they just didn't make any mistakes. It was a great way for Molly to head out, and Abby I see just getting stronger and stronger.”

Porcher and Hurd, both of Stow, also led the Chieftains to a very respectable fifth-place finish out of 17 teams at the Central Division 1 district meet the previous weekend. In the district meet, Hurd placed sixth and Porcher eighth. But the Chieftains also got significant contributions from their supporting cast, including Stow freshman Casey Teska, who finished in 79th place out of 122 runners while competing in place of the injured Allie Allaire, who is also a freshman.

In fact, Glover said, five of the top Chieftain runners on the team are freshmen.

“I call them my freshman contingent,” he said. “I think they're going to be very strong in the next few years. And the girls' track team this spring is going to be pretty incredible.”

Similarly, Gribbons says the credit for the boys' success this season goes far beyond its top runners. Stow seniors Nick (who is a team captain) and Alex Papanastassiou have made key contributions throughout the season, on and off the field. Stow senior Georges Fischer contributed valuable points in the state meet, finishing in 59th place, as did senior captain Joe Doyle (30th place), freshman Reid Sullivan (80th) and senior Marc McLeod (102nd).

“Georges has been absolutely wonderful,” Gribbons said. “He has become that forgotten fourth man. Reid gets attention because he's a freshman. Coby and Brendon get attention because they win. But then you have Georges who just does his job every meet. Everyone who knows cross country knows how important that is.”

Copyright 2008 Jordana Foster – 24 Kirkland Dr, Stow, MA – Email: – Fax: (815) 346-5239