Boys’ cross country runner participates in States

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”Jacob Schwartz” align=”alignleft” width=”216″]Boys' Cross Country[/media-credit]

At practice: Senior Justin Keefe runs with coach Shawn Wallace in preparation for the State Finals, which were to have taken place Saturday.

by Gloria Li
According to senior Justin Keefe, the Tigers’ goal was to send the entire team to States as opposed to merely a few individuals, as they have in the past.
This year, however, the Tigers were ultimately unable to attain their goal of qualifying for States as a team.
According to junior Jonny Long, despite the team’s inability to race together, Keefe, a captain with senior David Buzby, will be in the competition as an individual runner.
Coach Jim Blackburn noted that while five teams made States, “we, unfortunately, weren’t one of them.”
Keefe said he believes that the Tigers could improve with “smarter training.”
“We need better workouts, and we need to be doing those workouts at the right time in the season,” he said.
Additionally, sophomore Gabe Montague was merely one place short of being able to qualify for States.
Blackburn said both ran excellently, and that he is proud of the fact that Keefe placed seventh and Montague placed 15th Saturday, Nov. 12 at Sectionals.
Regarding Keefe’s qualification for States, Blackburn said, “I have confidence in him and I’m hoping that he’ll be among the top 15 against the other runners from both central and western Massachusetts.” The meet was to have taken place Saturday, before press time.
Last season, the Tigers “did not run so well” because only then captain Dan Ranti ’11 qualified when three team members were expected to qualify for States, according to Keefe.
The year before that, Keefe said, the situation was worse.
He recounted how he had a broken ankle at the time that the meet was to take place. However, 2008 went well as the team finished fourth at Sectionals and qualified for States.
Despite having a winning season, boys’ cross country, 9-2, suffered losses to both Walpole and Brookline.
Blackburn said that the Tigers were striving for an undefeated season, but “you can’t always have everything,” he said, “and this was a strong outcome nonetheless.”
Keefe said he did not expect the Tigers to win at States because the Tigers “don’t have enough depth,” as he considers the team to be a young one.