Somerville High Fall 2011 Preview: Cross-Country

(written and photographed for Somerville Patch)

With the school year underway, Somerville Patch will be previewing all eight fall sports programs at Somerville High School. Unsure how the Highlanders did in 2010? Want to know who might impact the upcoming season? Just want to know when the first game is? Read on and find out.

Boys’ Cross-Country

Th Highlanders have four strong runners on the boys' team, but who will be that key fifth runner?

2010 Record: 3-1 overall, 3-1 in the Greater Boston League

Although the boys’ cross-country team didn’t exactly have a bad 2010 season, they may have lacked that extra bit of talent necessary to match the girls’ team (see below).

“Your success depends a lot on who’s running in a particular year,” boys and girls cross-country coach Charlie Tesch said at a Sept. 8 practice at Tufts. “Some people are faster than other people.”

Tesch also said fewer runners for Somerville and more competitive boys’ cross-country teams at other GBL schools played into the Highlanders’ second-place finish in the league.

“Malden is our nemesis right now,” Tesch said, adding: ”They’ve been developing a pretty strong program. They have a lot of kids doing it.”

GBL Open exhibition race: Thursday 9/15 at Fresh Pond Reservation, 3:30 p.m.

First 2011 game: Wednesday 9/21 at Cambridge Public, 3:30 p.m.

Home Opener: Wednesday, 9/28 at Boat House/Shore Drive, 3:30 p.m.

Player to watch: Brian Martinez, junior first-year runner

“Because he’s a soccer player, he has an excellent fitness background,” Tesch said. “It looks like he’s going to be one of our best runners.”

Key to the season: Development of a consistent fifth runner

“Five people are the scorers, the top five” Tesch said. “You want to have two more that are strong, because if those two finish ahead of the fifth guy on the other team, that’s more points for them.”

Girls’ Cross-Country

Hard work and a true athlete's mentality led the Highlanders to an undefeated 2010 season that ended with a GBL title. Can they repeat?

2010 Record: 5-0 overall, 5-0 in the GBL

When your team goes undefeated and wins the league title, it can be hard to pin down a single factor that made such dominance possible. For Coach Tesch, however, the 2010 girls’ cross-country team’s success might have been born from his runners’ mentality.

“As a group, they have pretty much gotten the idea that hard work leads to good results,” Tesch said. “I think we’re developing a culture among the girls of actually being athletes, of working hard to achieve what they can.”

Tesch also said his girls have maintained that work ethic in the offseason.

“The people have done a good amount of work over the summer,” Tesch said. “We did a 24-hour relay race this summer. That was pretty amazing, actually: really tough, and a major effort by the kids. So that’s going to help us, I’m sure.”

GBL Open exhibition race: Thursday 9/15 at Fresh Pond Reservation, 3:30 p.m.

First 2011 game: Wednesday 9/21 at Cambridge Public, 3:30 p.m.

Home Opener: Wednesday, 9/28 at Boat House/Shore Dr., 3:30 p.m.

Players to watch: Maggie Langwig and Rita Musello-Kelliher, seniors

“They bring experience and strength,” Tesch said. “This is their fourth year of running, and they know that they have to work hard in order to get to where they want to be.”

Key to the season: Balancing training with sufficient rest and recovery time

“I could have these kids run 10 miles a day, every day,” Tesch said. “And what would happen? The first day they’d be tired, the second day they’d be more tired, the third day they’d be a disaster. Eventually, they would all either get injured or sick. They would all die eventually, so we don’t do that. We have hard days, and we have easy days. You work out, and then you can recover.”