The Malden High School Cross Country team is off to a good start with a current record of 1-1, equalizing it after the game against Everett on October 2nd, with the boys scoring 28 to Everett’s 30, and the girls scoring 20 to Everett’s 50.
This year, the team is being coached by Sean Weldon who is coming back for his second year. New to the team this season is Danae O’Bryan, taking past coach Cassandra Froio’s place, who was with the team last season.
O’Bryan is an eighth grade ELA teacher at the Beebe school. O’Bryan joined the team because she “enjoy[s] spending time with students outside of the classroom, especially when it involves athletics.” O’Bryan adds that “[she ran] many clubs in the past and is excited to try something new.” Like many other coaches, O’Bryan has some extensive experience with the sport, as she ran “in high school and in addition to races on [her] own as an adult.”
With O’Bryan’s experience with running, she knows the sport from the perspective of a runner. However, seeing the sport from the perspective of a coach is new to her. O’Bryan mentioned how she is “still getting to know the sport better from [that] angle. [She is] learning what coaching strategies work for athletes and the recipes for the types of strength, conditioning and drills that combine for success.”
Last year, the team finished the season with a score of 4-4, which demonstrates that they have room for improvement, with Weldon stating that the athletes “have really been working hard together, and are having a lot of fun together as a team.” He also mentions later how “[they] have a lot of new runners who are new to the program. They are eager to learn and are excited to be participating in a high school team.” O’Bryan praises the well-roundedness of their students athletes, saying how “many of [their] athletes are juggling hectic schedules. Between cross country, AP courses, clubs, and activities outside of school; their plates are certainly full.”
The score also displays some serious promise with strengths coming to light within the first couple of meets, as well as future expectations and goals. O’Bryan stated that “[they] certainly have motivation” and that “[their] team loves to cheer each other on and encourage each other to do [their] best at both practice and meets.” In addition to that, Weldon mentioned how the team is full of “spirit and a lot of athletes who are looking to improve.” Overall, the team shows their improvement from last year, and are hoping to continue growing throughout the season.
One of the major challenges the team is facing this season is the number of new runners they have. The size of a roster is always an issue with sports, but it seems to be negatively impacting the team this year, with them having a total of 24 runners, only two of which are seniors. However, Weldon stated that they will “work through the nerves together and focus on competing and having fun.”
The season seems really promising for the cross country team. It will be difficult for them to overcome the few challenges they have, but after they do, they will be in the home stretch for success. Weldon stated that “[he is] looking forward to another great season. [They] have had a lot of fun training so far,” and that “the cross country team truly is a great group of athletes.”