NORTH ADAMS -- Heading into its second meet of the season, the McCann Tech boys’ cross country team has almost twice as many runners as they did on Sept. 1.
Before school started, it looked as though the Hornets would be forced to forfeit some of their races. They had only four runners and a team needs five in order to officially compete. Then freshman Mike Moreno and Lucas Yelle joined the team before the first meet against Gateway, allowing the team to run for a score. Jerry McCarthy, also a freshman, joined just after the first race.
Moreno made an immediate impression on the team.
"It looks like our third runner is going to be Mike, a new freshman," coach Todd Hamilton said. "Once he gets the miles behind him, I think he’ll challenge for No. 2 and possibly No. 1."
At least Hamilton is hopeful that he will challenge Justin Schnieder and Mitchell Garner for the top spots.
"I mean you always hope, you always hope that all your kids will challenge for No. 1 by the end of the year," Hamilton said. "That way your team gets better and better."
Moreno finished 11th overall with a time of 23 minutes, 42 seconds against Gateway. He’ll get his second go at a live race today as Pioneer and Granby come to Windsor Lake to challenge the Hornets.
Schnieder led the charge to get both Moreno and Yelle to join the team. The junior captain was a summer camp counselor for the duo and helped
He wasn’t the only one trying to recruit runners and expand the roster. Sarah Puricelli, the captain for the girls team, also helped. She got her brother Jerry McCarthy to join the squad.
"To be honest my sister made me do it," McCarthy joked about why he joined the team. "But I really want to get faster for baseball."
McCarthy will run in his first race of the season today, while Moreno, Yelle and Kyle Perada will all be running in their second race. Perada joined the team at the beginning of the season to get in shape for basketball season. All of the new runners are coming along strong and working hard to improve.
"As far as runners who have never run before, I have no expectations whatsoever other than trying and working hard," Hamilton said. "They all come through for the team in their own way."
Hamilton has each runner set a goal for himself.
"I want to be able to run at least a mile at a constant speed, without stopping or taking a break or anything like that," McCarthy said of his goal.
Having new runners can also provide a boost to the experienced guys on the team. Brandon Smith is the team’s only senior, but both Schnieder and Garner have prior experiences with the team.
"It’s an emotional boost because when the experienced runners have new runners that look up to them, it emboldens them," Hamilton said. "They feel like ‘OK, this is my team. I’m going to help these guys come up, learn how to run and learn how to compete so we can all win as a team.’ "
That is exactly what Schnieder, Garner and Smith have been doing.
"They’re pretty good, they just talk to me and give me advice," McCarthy said. "They’re very friendly and helpful."