Girls Cross Country Team Hopeful for Successful Season

Jacob Kirsch '18

After a third-place finish at ISL Championships last year, the girls’ cross country team looks to take advantage of the losses of strong runners at rivals Georgetown Day School and Georgetown Visitation.

However, Sidwell also lost some top runners, including Ellie Leape ’17 and Ellie Zimmerman ’17, who ran first and third, respectively, on the team last year and will be sorely missed. Senior captain Bryn Wilson said she feels optimistic about the team’s prospects heading into the season, despite the loss of last year’s seniors.

“We have a lot of potential from new freshman joining the team,” Wilson said. “We have many returning runners who improved a lot at the end of last season, so things are definitely looking up.”

Two freshmen are among the team’s top seven runners this year: Allison Barker and Karenna Warden. They will help Wilson, junior Ryan Kyle and junior Emma Passmore as the team waits for their senior captain Rebecca Barker to return from stress reactions.

“The doctor told me if I kept running I would have fractures, so I’m taking a couple months off to recover,” Barker said.

She is optimistic that she can return by October to run in the middle and end of season meets, including ISL championships.

Both senior captains Barker and Wilson agreed that the hardest competition in the ISL would come from Holton-Arms School.

“Holton had a really strong showing at the Woodward Relays a few weeks ago, so we’ll definitely have to be ready to compete at ISL Championships,” Wilson said.

In the past, Georgetown Day and Georgetown Visitation have consistently fielded strong teams, but this year will bring new teams to the top of the ISL pecking order. Six of Georgetown Day’s top seven runners graduated last year, leaving the team in a tough spot this year as they try to rebuild, and Georgetown Visitation will also lose their top runner from last year.

With both Georgetown Day School and Georgetown Visitation struggling to replace strong runners, the door is now open for Sidwell or Holton to take the ISL crown.

As the only two seniors on the team, Wilson and Barker say it is their job to help everyone stay focused, especially given the team’s high hopes.

“Cross country is such a taxing sport, physically and mentally, it’s our job to be positive, motivational and keep everyone in the right mindset,” Barker said.

While she may not be running right now, she strives to help the team in any way possible. Both Wilson and Barker’s efforts as captains do not go unnoticed.

“The team on cross country is very close because we help each other through tough workouts and races,” Wilson said. “As a captain, I want everyone on the team to have that really rewarding feeling after a good workout or race. It’s one of my favorite parts of running, and I want other people to enjoy it as well.”

As for fans, Wilson acknowledged that cross country would like more support this year.

“Meets are typically not close, which does not help,” she said. “Although cross country is not a glamorous sport, I hope fans will come because all of the cross country runners are incredibly hard working and deserve everyone’s support.”

She added that the D.C. State Championship meet late in the season is at Kenilworth Park and is a fun, accessible meet.

Overall, the girls’ cross country team is confident that with senior leadership as well as strong new runners, they can dethrone Georgetown Day School and Georgetown Visitation atop the ISL.

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