McGee eighth grade cross country runners don't like to lose. So they work extremely hard and guess what? They have never lost at McGee.
Eighth graders Sumara Ali, Samantha Bengiovanni, Emily Desroches, Stephanie Sanders, Chloe Ezzo, Lisa Grieco and Nicole Vasil have won their league Championship, the Mid State Middle School League, four years in a row. Teams are from, Durham, Middletown, East Hampton, RHAM, Cromwell, Rocky Hill and Meriden.
This year Chloe Ezzo came in first, Lisa Grieco third, Natalie Couceiro sixth, Madison Monroe seventh, Samantha Bengiovanni 13th, Nicole Vasil 14th and Madison Marolda was 15th.
The girl’s have not lost a regular season meet in over three years dating back to 2009 when they lost their first meet to RHAM and have not lost since. Since moving to Pistol Creek they have not lost a home meet. They have placed in the top 5 in the state middle school championship meet at Wickham Park in Manchester the past 4 years, finishing fifth this year. Lisa Grieco came in eighth overall in a field of 314 runners.
Grieco plas premier soccer for FSA but elects to run for the McGee cross country team. She will have to decide this summer if she will play soccer or run cross country at Berlin High School.
She is a captain along with Samantha Bengiovanni, Chloe Ezzo and Nicole Vasil, all eighth graders.
So why cross country? No fans, long runs, an individual sport?
"Some parents come to the meets and our teammates cheer for us when we're running," Vasil said. "And at the big meets, all of the teams cheer for each other."
"It's funny that when we do the mile run in gym the other kids see how well the kids on the cross country do and they have a lot of respect for us," Bengiovanni said.
Grieco says that not having fans actually helps her excel.
"There are very few people there so you have to self motivate to be the best you can be," Grieco said. "In soccer, other people can pass me the ball but in cross country it's always up to me."
Vasil said that coach Paul Griswold makes the sport the most fun for her.
"Coach Gris pushes us really hard, he treats us with a lot of maturity and gives us lots of good advice," Vasil said. "He wants us to act as a big team. Even though this is an individual sport he sets it up like a team sport and that makes it feel like you your team is your family."
When I first started in sixth grade I didn't think I was going to like it and I thought about quitting but I'm so glad I stayed with it because almost all of my friends are my teammates as well," Bengiovanni said.
The boy’s team has finished second in the league championship two out the past three years, finishing first last year and second to Rocky Hill this year. John Ezzo placed first in the Championship followed by Luke Wininger in sixth, Robert McKeon in 12th, Calvin Colby in 24th, Gianni Fanelli in 27th and Jimmy Grieco in 36th.
The eight graders on the boys team are: Calvin Colby, Zach Carlone, Kyle DeMorais, Alex Glabau, Robert McKeon, Theo Reed, Mark Wojcicki.