Boys’ cross country finishes third in Pod 8 championship


Joe Lamburn

Junior Jackson Reusser heads for the finish line at the November 11 boys cross country pod 8 meet.

Erik Lin, Assistant Sports Editor

While COVID-19 severely affected their season, the boys’ cross country team finished in third place at the Pod 8 championship race at Algonquin on Wednesday, Nov. 11. 

The pod included five schools in the league: Wachusett, Shrewsbury, Algonquin, Westborough and Leominster. The top eight runners from each school competed in the meet. 

“I don’t think any of the guys were really nervous,” senior captain Tyler Beauchesne said. “I think we were super excited to even have this race in the first place. [We were] super excited to get out on the course and do what we do best.”

At the end of the race, Algonquin placed third with a total of 53 points, behind Wachusett with 37 points and Shrewsbury with 39 points. Senior captain Will Lamburn came in first place with a time of 16:23. 

“It felt good to show off all of the hard work I’ve put in for four years and to come in first at the race,” Lamburn said. “But we deserved a better place as a team, it just wasn’t our day.”

Although they finished in third place, boys’ cross country head coach and social studies teacher Nate Uttaro felt proud of his team and encouraged them despite the standings.

“They know that they could have done better, and they are disappointed with that,” Uttaro said. “I totally understand that, but I am not disappointed at all given everything that we had to deal with over the course of the year. First of all, I was just happy to get there, to make it that far and I know they gave me everything they had. Secondly, the four years that I have had with them, they’ve taken this program to a completely different level, which nobody thought was possible. They’ve really changed the expectations, and that’s a credit to them.” 

The eight who raced for Algonquin were mainly seniors. This would be their last race for the team. However, most of them feel they will have a strong bond with the team even after leaving the school.

“Most of the time, at other schools and Algonquin, people are going to say that the cross country team is the closest. We do everything together, we have so many traditions and we work hard together,” senior captain Cole Gamache said. “At the end of the day, everyone is running the same race, same mileage, in the same headspace, and when you have this team, it makes it so much better. That’s what cross country means to me, family, hard work and camaraderie.”

The six senior captains know that the team is in good hands after they graduate. 

“We definitely have a good future with this team,” Gamache said. “I had a conversation with a freshman and all I said at the end was, ‘the most important thing I want to pass onto you all are the traditions and the hard work to continue’, and he definitely picked up on that. So at the end of the day, I think the future of the team is in safe hands and we will have a lot of success.”

Even with the challenges posed by COVID-19, the boys’ cross country team were thankful to have a season.

“This was by far my hardest season to coach due to all of the restrictions we were facing. I fully expected the team to drop, and give up,” Uttaro said. “And I wouldn’t have blamed them one bit. But the fact that they stuck with it, and worked as hard as they did, I am so happy for them.”