Submitted to Patch:
The 2012 George King Hockomock League Cross Country Championships will be held on Saturday, Oct. 27. The event will be hosted at Borderland State Park in Easton. There will be a series of four races. Over 700 student athletes are expected to compete and over 1000 spectators are expected to attend.
The starting gun for the first race, the girls’ varsity championship, goes off at 9:30 a.m. The varsity boys’ championship is the second race of the day, followed by the junior varsity and freshman races.
The meet includes the 12 teams of the Hockomock League. It will feature some of the top programs and individuals in the state.
Mansfield High School is the defending boys’ champion. Led by Val Madonna-Lendavi, the Hornets went undefeated this season and won the Rex Kelley division of the Hockomock League. They are the favorite to win the meet.
Oliver Ames High School, led by junior Dan Moverman went undefeated to capture the Davenport Division of the Hock. They are ranked number two. Nipping at the heels of Oliver Ames, are the Sharon Eagles. During the regular season, Oliver Ames defeated Sharon by a close margin of five points. Sharon and their top two runners, Adam Selsman and Paul Fleming are hungry and looking to avenge the loss.
Owen Gonser of King Philip High School is the clear favorite to win the boys’ race. He is expected to capture the league MVP crown. Challenging for the silver medal will be Madonna-Lendavi of Mansfield, Moverman of Oliver Ames and Ian Flanagan of North Attleboro.
Several harriers on the Taunton squads are racing well. Look for Jason Heinrich and Andrew Doherty to tear up the trails and join in the mix.
The real drama won’t occur at the front of the pack. Just off the leaders, the outcome of who walks away a champion and who goes home with wishing they were, will be determined.
The races look to be very congested, with just seconds separating the leading teams’ fourth and fifth runners. Added to the mix, will be the No. 1 runners from the second tier teams.
Several athletes on many squads are coming off injuries. Look for “the unknown factor” to surprise the pundits. The boys' race is the most hotly contested championships in over 15 years.
The favorites in the girls’ race are the Panthers of Franklin High School. The Panthers went undefeated during the regular season to win the Rex Kelley Division. Always the bridesmaid for the past several years, Oliver Ames is ranked second. The Tigers were undefeated during the dual meet season. They captured the Davenport crown.
On the individual side Liz Holmes of Foxboro is the favorite to capture the gold medal. Shelby Cuddleback of Attleboro, Caroline Sun of Sharon, Amy Kelly of Stoughton and Lauren Hagen and Caroline Knous of Franklin should all be in the mix for a podium spot.
Right off of the top runners, expect Olivia Weir of King Philip and Oliver Ames’ top four harriers Megan Fitzgerald, Maggie Harding, Jillian McAuliffe and Emily Newman to be fighting for all star status.
Franklin and Oliver Ames are very strong in their one through four runners. The race will be determined by how their fifth and final scorers respond, when mixed in with displacers from other teams.
Following the championship races, the junior varsity and freshman runners will get a chance to “show their stuff.” Each of those contests will feature several hundred athletes.
When the starting gun goes off at 9:30 a.m., the excitement and drama of the 2012 season will come to a head. It will be followed the by the promise of the future the stars of tomorrow.