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Cross Country • Fall 2016
Led by returning All-New England runner and co-captain Clay Hoadley, the South Kent cross country raced its way to a good season despite the team’s relatively small size. The season began with a second place finish at the Oakwood Friends Invitational (out of nine scoring teams), with Hoadley, a fifth former, winning individual honors and sixth former Alden Grayson-Funk, in fifth place, joining him as a medalist. In many of the following races, the team’s success depended on the team’s health: With only ten runners on the squad, only four of whom were veterans, any injuries or bouts with illness hampered the Cardinals. Thus, at the Canterbury Invitational, South Kent finished 15th out of 17 scoring teams despite Hoadley fifth-place finish--almost certainly the best finish ever by a South Kent runner at Canterbury--because only six runners could race that day. The team similarly had a poor showing at its own South Kent Invitational on Fall Family Weekend. With Hoadley out due to injury and Grayson-Funk off-campus on a college visit, the team finished third out of four schools, despite the strong race of fourth former Henry Hoyt (10th). A mid-season injury of co-captain Nick Scott--which limited him to running in a mere four races over the course of the season--particularly hurt the Cardinals.
The team’s best race of the year came in a six-team race in late October against the Gunnary (the host school), a very strong Christian Heritage squad, Berkshire, Canterbury, and Salisbury. With everyone but Scott healthy, South Kent--led by Hoadley in fifth place and Grayson-Funk in eighth place (out of 85 runners)--came in fourth--behind the Gunnary, Salisbury, and Christian Heritage but ahead of Berkshire and Canterbury. These two victories were possibly the first ever for South Kent over Berkshire and Canterbury; certainly they represented the first wins over those schools in the 23-year coaching career of Father Klots at South Kent.
The season ended with a fourth-place finish at the HVAL Championships, with Christian Heritage winning team honors and Hoadley (second place) and Grayson-Funk (sixth place) taking medals. At the New England Championship, which were hosted by Hyde School in Bath, Maine, Hoadley retained his title as an All-New England runner, finishing in 17th place, and South Kent ended up 23rd out of thirty scoring teams. At the end-of-season athletic awards, Father Klots and his Assistant Coach, Ms. Kat Droessler, were pleased to award the Anne Funnell Cup for the Most Valuable Runner to Clay Hoadley and the Arthur W. Brown Cup for the Most Improved Runner to Alden Grayson-Funk. Eight runners were awarded varsity letters for finishing in the team’s top seven in at least half of the races: Hoadley, Grayson-Funk, Hoyt, fourth formers Hayden Giampietro, Zhenghao Dong, and Yuhao Li, and third formers Dean DiNicola and Philip Valletta.
Submitted by Coach Steve Klots