By Abby Shields Contributing Writer
On October 28, the women’s cross country team set out on the course, striving to get to their goal of being conference champions at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, Maine.
“I felt very confident in our students to go out and run to their potential. I feel very fortunate to coach outstanding student-athletes,” said Joseph DiSalvo, coach of the cross country team. “They all prepared very well for this race, and I had confidence in them that they would go and execute well,” said Joseph Disalvo, coach of the cross country team.
The course was destroyed for the meet, because six races took place there the day before. It had also been raining and snowing leading into race day, making the course very muddy and slippery. The entire course was covered in water and mud, making it a tougher challenge, but they were all very prepared. “The weather conditions were cold and rainy,” said Gwen Baker, a senior at UMF. “The women’s team however had always performed well in poor conditions and this day was no exception.”
Everyone on the team had a different way of preparing for the race that day. “ To prepare for races I go over the course in my head and look at the teams we are going against,” said Julia Labbe, in an email interview. “I look up their past times to see who I should be around, and who I should look out for. I imagine where I can (or want) to make my moves in the race, and it helps me form a positive, motivated mindset.”
Their total score ended up being a 41, beating Husson by 5 points. After hearing the news from assistant coach Ryan Smith, many emotions arose for the runners who gave it their all. “I felt many different emotions. The top five runners score for their team. Team packing is crucial in attaining a low score,” said Baker. “We finished 3rd, 4th, 8th, 12th and 14th place. It was an amazing, surreal moment.”
“This win was really exciting because UMF was seated second, only one point behind Husson so we knew we had to give it our all,” said Labbe. Everyone at that meet gave it their all, pushing each other to a great finish.
“I am very proud of each and every student on this team,” said DiSalvo. “It takes a full team effort to win a conference championship, and they certainly worked hard for this accomplishment.”
Every runner stepped up and ran strong for the UMF cross country team, representing Farmington very well. Ending the season with first place in all conference was a huge accomplishment for the women’s team.
“We had a strong consistent women’s team. We dominated in many of the meets that had our conference teams in them,” said Baker. “With bigger meets we still did well and I’m excited to see what the women’s team can do next year! We’re going to be even better with gaining back strong runners we didn’t have this year.”