The girls cross country team. Photo by Jennica Ruan. 

The Girls Cross Country team at Malden High are in the midst of their 2018 season, with a record of 4-3.

This year is marking the first year where the team has captains, which are juniors Isabella Machado, and Emane Boufaida. Despite the lack of experience due to being the first ever captains, their leadership has been well received by the other members of the team. Sophomore Maggie Lee emphasizes that the captains have not just been “helpful” and “genuine,” but they also prioritize encouraging and motivating the team to “work harder and do better.” The captains also “always find a way to keep us going” if the team is struggling. Captain Isabella Machado says along with trying to encourage the runners, they also try to assist the coach “as much as possible.”

The team’s goal this season, according to Machado, is to “push [themselves] as much as possible,” especially during the meets. She states that they all “personally want to improve” and the way to do that is to “show up to practice” and “encourage one another.” Lee adds that their major goal is to “win as many meets as possible” in order to go to the Northeastern Conference (NEC) League champions and stresses that everyone on the team, “even the coach [Sean Weldon]” are “trying to work as hard as they can without giving up.”

Lee joined Cross Country this year because she felt that the sport was something she could potentially do well in. She also knew the coach, Sean Weldon, before joining the team, and thought it would be a “good opportunity” to join this season. She calls it a “good first sport experience,” and attributes the fun experience to Coach Weldon, saying that he “encourages everyone to do their best despite the losses [they] had.” Her goal is to improve endurance because she plans to continue with Cross Country next year.

Machado also joined the team this year, switching from the Girls Soccer team. She joined because she wanted to work on improving her “speed and endurance” for Indoor and Outdoor Track, which she also participates in. Her other goals include achieving “as many first place wins as [she] can.”

Something that the team considers to be their greatest advantage is their relationships with one another. Lee says that the team has bonded “so well” in “such a short amount of time.” Another advantage is the willingness to help returning members on the team.

One of the disadvantages, according to Machado, is the ratio between new and old members to the team. The team lost a lot of members due to seniors graduating, which meant that the team essentially had “to start all over again.” Machado says that the team does not have “as many strong runners” compared to other schools. She adds that the team consists of “mostly underclassmen” who are new to Cross Country, with some lacking in experience in running long distances.

Despite this, Machado asserts that the team has “managed to pull through” for the season, with the team members always “cheering each other on” and “pushing each other to do their best” at every race.

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