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Nipmuc Hoping to Field Girls XC Team This Fall

Nipmuc Athletic Director Chris Schmidt is determined to field a girls' cross country team this fall, so much so that he hired a head coach without a roster in place. "Yeah, you might say it's 'cart before the horse,'" Schmidt said. "But if it's aggressive, then hopefully it works."
Schmidt hired Justin Townsend, who coached the girls' track and field team last spring. He's hoping the girls' familiarity with the coach will help encourage athletes to come out for a team whose numbers have dwindled down to nothing in recent seasons. "I would say, over the past few years, we have tried everything," Schmidt said. "I am hoping since the girls know Justin from the spring track season that they will say 'this is someone I know' and come out for the team."
Townsend has been doing his part to try to drum up interest. Schmidt said the team has at least one athlete who is interested in running this fall and is hoping Townsend, who has extensive experience in both track and cross country, will be a draw.
In addition to leading the Nipmuc girls' team last
spring, Townsend coached for the past five years at Tri-County and North Smithfield High School. He was also a four-year member of the track and cross country teams at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y. after a standout career at Woonsocket High School.
"I have been up front with him, obviously for him to coach, we need to have a team," Schmidt added. "I am hoping he can get out there and bang the drum starting in the spring and talk to the athletes to get the word out about the program."
Last year, Nipmuc did not have any female cross country runners. It was the first season without a single athlete after averaging two or three runners over the previous few seasons. Schmidt is also hoping for more participation from the middle school level to help build a foundation for the team.
"There are some younger runners in the middle school who have a passion for distance running," he said. "So I believe that in the next couple of years we are going to be getting back to where we used to be. I just want to speed up the process."




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