With the team competing in just three home meets and eleven regular-season meets overall, the accomplishments of the Vineyard cross-country squads can get a bit, well, lost in the woods.
And this past fall was no exception; while boys’ soccer won the Eastern Athletic Conference championship and football brought the Island Cup back, the cross-country teams quietly made their way to the MIAA All-State Meet, held two Saturdays ago in Boston.
Competition for a spot in All-States is stiff, with just nineteen teams in Massachusetts per division (the Vineyard is part of Division 2) making it to the Franklin Park course.
The Vineyard teams took twelfth-place finishes on both sides, with junior Michael Schroeder running a 17:15 to place 49th overall for the boys and freshman Willoe Maynard taking the top Vineyard girls’ time in 21:00 to finish 83rd.
Junior Cooper Chapman turned in a 17:25, with sophomore Jeremy Alley-Tarter taking a 17:40 and Sam Oslyn (17:55), James Roddy (18:24), Job DeForest (18:30) and Kyle Joba-Woodruff (18:51) rounding out the boys’ squad.
Senior Shivonne Schofield finished just behind Maynard with a 21:04. Sophomore Lily Neville and junior Hannah Moore finished one second apart (21:26 and 21:27, respectively), while Julia Neville (21:50), Shelby Ferry (22:16) and Lucy Norris (23:24) completed the Vineyard showing.
It was the first time both the girls’ and boys’ squads had qualified for the meet since 2004, when the teams still competed in the Mayflower League. The Vineyarders landed their slots by placing third (boys) and fourth (girls) in the Eastern Massachusetts division meet on Nov. 12. Thirty-two teams compete in the EMass meet, with the top four moving on to states.
“That’s pretty exclusive company,” said veteran cross-country coach Joe Schroeder. “Literally, it comes down to that one race.”
Last year, the boys were seventh in EMass. The girls jumped into qualifying position from a 13th-place finish in 2010.
“They achieved a lot of things this year that few teams I’ve coached have,” said Mr. Schroeder (now in his sixteenth year with the team). “The bottom line is the kids work really hard.”
One accomplishment still eluding the Vineyarders, however, is the EAC championship, a difficult prize to come by when one of their conference competitors is Bishop Feehan, a six-time state champion (including this year) on the boys’ side, and a three-peat state champion (including this year) on the girls’ side. The Vineyard faced Bishop Feehan five times this season.
But facing the tougher competition improves the overall strength of the cross-country program, even if it does mean trophies are harder to come by.
“Top to bottom, this league is the best,” said Mr. Schroeder. “We’re running right up there with the big boys.”
And with nearly all of the varsity runners and a strong JV squad returning in 2012, next fall looks even more promising.