Wilbraham & Monson Academy Boys' Cross Country is a team where athletes of all backgrounds come together. We compete in the New England Prep School Division IV championship meet each year, and have seen our standing in that field improve every year since 2007. At our core, we have strong student leadership that has helped instill a tradition of hard work and sportsmanship. The Cross Country team brings together a diverse mix of students, many without prior running experience as well as many serious runners who anticipate running in college. Over the past three years we have had students from eight states and nine countries participate in Cross Country. Our student leaders and our coaches stress that each individual is part of a team, and that everyone can improve.
In practices we break the team into three to four levels, based on a combination of experience and ability. Each group runs a similar but modified run to meet the diverse needs of the team. A couple of days a week we utilize the new Shaw Track, while the mixture of flat roads to the west of campus and the rolling hills to the east of campus offer athletes scenic and varied training runs ideal for Cross Country.
To begin this section it will be helpful to convey a special moment from the 2010 team. For the final training run before our taper period, the team does the same workout every year and the following has become a tradition. The team warms up with a run that is about 2.5 miles in length. The slowest member of the team begins first and the next slowest starts about 30 seconds later and so on until our fastest runner commences. At the end of the run, virtually the whole team finishes together within a margin of a minute. The run ends at an old farm that is now public property. The land is generally flat, but there is about an 800-yard stretch that might descend fifteen feet gradually and evenly in elevation. Every year, we run this stretch repeatedly and the team feels wonderful about how fast they can run a half-mile speed. At the end of the practice, the team sprints up and down a small, steep hill and then every member of the team sits in a circle and tells what they liked best about the season. This past year every runner said that they liked being part of a team and learning what they as individuals could achieve. Then they ran back to campus as a team, everyone together warming down and continuing the conversation, on the more direct mile-and-a-half run back to school.
This scene was no accident, and it is recalled here because it was the embodiment of the philosophy that we try to imbue in all of our Cross Country runners. Through different practices and traditions our program imprints three main ideas on our athletes. The first idea is that running is something to be valued and enjoyed. Running is valued because almost everyone can learn what it is to work hard and achieve personal success. Running is enjoyable because it is a time where you have only one purpose, and that is to move forward. You have a goal that you are capable of achieving and you always can achieve the distance, assuming you prepare properly. In experiencing achievement you gain confidence as an athlete in your ability to prepare. We also stress that this experince is translatable in the academic world. The second idea is that to be the best that you can, you must also create a positive, supportive, and empowering team atmosphere. When you share in achieving something, whether a victory over an opponent, or a victory over yourself, the intrinsic rewards of achievement are greater those of lone victories. The third part of our philosophy ties the other two together. Cross Country is a goal-oriented sport. In our case, our goal is to improve on our championship placement from the year before. The development of goals is another area where running on Cross Country helps prepare the athlete to face other types of challenges, athletic or academic. We prepare with specificity, with purpose, and as a team.
The Titans look strong heading into the 2012 cross country season. Senior captains Wingho Chan and Joseph Thibault appear to be ahead of their junior year pace. Wing particularly looks to be much improved, having already been in the top three for the Titans in his sophomore and junior years, and he has looked on par with Thibault early on to create a formidable one-two combination for the Titans. Junior captain Casey Keeley leads a supporting cast of sophomores, led by Andrew Faulstich and Nicholas Cotto. Ben Soder and Marcus Klebart round out the top seven based on preseason results. Over the early going our 3-7 runners form a tight pack, which is improving quickly.
2011 - Placed ninth at New England Division III meet; finished fourth at Canterbury Invitational
2010 - Placed fourth at New England Division IV meet
2009 - Placed sixth at New England Division IV meet
2008 - Placed 10th at New England Division IV meet
The 2011 Boys' Cross Country team had a successful first season in the New England Prep School Division III. The core of the team was consisted of a mix of freshman and experienced veterans. Captain Joseph Thibault lead the team for most of the season, followed for most of the year by co-captain Trey Kelley. Joe and Trey began the season smashing their personal best at the Canterbury Invitation leading the team to its highest finish ever at that meet: fourth.
As the season progressed Freshman Marcus Klebart lived up to the expectations we had of him. Marcus came to the team having been the premier middle school track star of the WMA Middle School. Junior Wing Ho Chan came through in a big way for the Titans. After showing flashes of talent in 2010, in 2011 Wing provided the team with valuable depth and consistency, improving the whole season, he teamed up with Joe and Trey to complete a 1,2,3 WMA sweep of Cheshire.
Two rising stars emerged to cement the Titans as a top-half of the Division III. Transfer Casey Keeley dazzled us, not only with his easy style of leadership, but he also proved to be a consistent and determined runner. Freshman Andrew Faulstich had a breakout meet against Kingswood-Oxford, establishing himself as a powerful one-two punch for years to come with Keeley. Seniors Andrew Lombard and Alan Fu provided depth and had breakout runs at the New England Championships. Alan trimmed two minute off his previous best on the same course.
Despite the emergency closing of school for a week due to the Halloween Snowstorm which left the school largely without power and the roads too dangerous to run on for a week, the team came through at Championships in fine style, finishing ninth out of 18 teams. From the first meet of the season on a comparable course (Northampton) to the last run at Canterbury, the team averaged over two minutes of improvement per person in time, while our top seven averaged over a minute. Congratulations Titans! Good luck to seniors Alan Fu and Stanford Ho. We will miss you next year. A special good luck to captain Trey Kelley, who will fight for a spot on the Division I High Point team in North Carolina.
Chris Glabicky and Joseph Thibault returned to the Titans this fall to form a solid core for new runners. Chris spent his summer running up to 70 miles a week, while Joe wrestled his way through the competition at local meets. Several runners returned from our third-place finish in the Division IV New England Cross Country J.V. race to fill in the spots left by the Class of 2010. Freshman Max Zielinsky and junior Trey Kelley added valuable depth along with senior Co-Captain Brandon Piquette. The season looked bright. In our preseason preparations we covered over 70 miles in five days, hiking the tallest peaks in southern New England. In our first test of the season, Chris Glabicky finished third out of 75 runners and Trey Kelley finished ninth. When we wrapped up the season at New Englands, three runners placed in the top 25 - Robert Kelley at 25th, Joseph Thibault at 17th, and Chris Glabicky 6th for an overall finish for the team of 4th place. Chris finished his season running in the Tournament of Champions.