The Malden High School girls cross country team is back in action, and ready to defend their Greater Boston League title. Returning this season with returning runners alongside a lot of new faces are all striving for one common goal: their fourth consecutive GBL title. With a record of 2-0, the girls are looking great so far being led by captains senior Victoria Hannafin and juniors Gillian Willcox and Deborah Kibazo.
To many of the new runners, the atmosphere and concept of being on the team can be hard to adapt to. “The first two weeks are the hardest, but then it gets easier.” says Hannafin. “You just gotta stick with it.. it pays off.”
Willcox took first place in the meet against Somerville on Sept. 17. Other important contributors against Somerville were Kibazo taking third place, and right behind her was Hannafin taking fourth, allowing sophomore Phuong Nguyen to take fifth place.
Kibazo took first place against Medford, followed by Hannafin, and although Willcox was “nervous for the race” just like she is for any other race, she took a strong third place. Senior Helen Chin came in sixth place, and right behind her was Nguyen.
“The girls have been GBL champions three years in a row, so [they] are hoping to get the fourth title, and [they] are also hoping to have a good show in states,” says Hannafin.
Every athlete can agree that being part of a team is more than just showing up to practices and games, but rather bonding together and creating a family. Kibazo describes the team as a “family” that is really close. Hannafin added that “the atmosphere of the team” brings joy to the team. “ You know somebody is always there,” and that is a great feeling for Hannafin.
Coach David Londino asserts that the team has a “good depth at the top” - where they used to rely on one or two people, they now have a strong core of runners. He noted that it would be great for the seniors “if they could go a year without losing a game.”
The track team’s next meet will be against Everett, where they will need a win to achieve their goal and become GBL champions for the fourth time in a row.