Ocean City Today

Girls’ team returns top runners; new boys to contribute

By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Sep 07, 2017
Photo by: Lisa Capitelli “They came into preseason in shape,” Prep cross country Coach Keith Geiger said. “They look much better this year compared to the first few days of practice last year.”

(Sept. 8, 2017) The Worcester Prep cross country teams were very successful during their inaugural season in 2015 and the Mallards performed even better last year, with both squads winning the first ever Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference championship meet.

The program has seen an increase in participation each year. Eighteen boys and 12 girls are competing in 2017.

“They came into preseason in shape,” Coach Keith Geiger said. “They look much better this year compared to the first few days of practice last year. We’re able to go hard earlier than we were last year and I think they’ll definitely improve as the season goes on.”

The girls’ squad’s top five runners are back from last year. They have experience running together and know what to expect, Geiger said.

“They’re pretty strong. We need our top five to be healthy and ready to go,” Geiger said.

Leading the pack will be seniors Annemarie Cherry, who was consistently the Mallards’ top finisher last year, and Marissa Grosso, and sophomore Ashley Laws.

A majority of the team is made up of sophomores and freshmen, who are still learning, Geiger said.

Grosso has been a member of the team since it was formed three years ago.

“I came in top five and I’m hoping I can do that again and help lead the team and help the younger people by just encouraging them and telling them to keep going even if it’s hard,” Grosso said. “We look pretty good. I’m excited for the girls and guys to see how we do. Last year we won our ESIAC championship so we’re hoping we can do that again this year.”

Despite losing its top three runners, Geiger said the boys’ team will still be solid this season with talented new additions and veterans who have at least a year’s experience under their belts.

“You’re only as good as your fifth, sixth, seventh runner. I think we’ll be stronger than last year,” Geiger said. “Even though we lost our top three we have some new runners that could be valuable. We have a lot of freshmen who will only get stronger as they get older.”

Seniors Matt Wilson and Connor Cebula have returned along with sophomore Enzo Zechiel.

Several new runners look promising early on in the season including junior Cameron Hill, sophomore Gavin Hentschel and freshmen Ethan Griffith, Ben Brandt and Connor Carpenter.

With three years experience running, Cebula said he wanted to help his younger brother, Carson, a freshman, and the other young athletes, and show them the ropes.

“We lost our top three people from last year so they have big shoes to fill,” Cebula said. “We have some nice freshmen coming in. I have high hopes. We’re looking pretty good.

“I was in the top five last year so I’m trying to keep that up, and for team goals, we want to win the ESIAC again,” he added.

Geiger will depend on his experienced veterans on the boys’ and girls’ squads for leadership. With the program growing, he is happy to have an assistant coach this year.

“[Kelsey Howes] is energetic and knowledgeable,” Geiger said. “She’s a big help.”

While a second ESIAC championship is the main focus, Geiger said he would also like his athletes to perform well against the area’s public schools.

“I think we can certainly compete with the public schools,” he said. “See where we stack up against them and try to improve where we finished last year.”

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