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Times Falling for Nipmuc Girls XC

The Nipmuc Girls cross country season, the first at the school in years, has been marked by steady and in some cases, significant improvement. The small band of Warriors runners have seen their times drop as the year has progressed under head coach Justin Townsend.
Emma Nadolski, an eighth grader, has been the
team's top runner for most of the year. "Emma has been awesome," Townsend said. "Her improvements have been a little less because she came in with more experience and a little ahead of the game, but she has improved more than 30 seconds."
Nadolski is completing 5K runs in the low 21-minute range, her coach said, and is frequently running with the other team's top athlete. "She has lost the battle a couple of times, but she is improving," Townsend said. "I am trying to reinforce with the girls that I want them to fall in love with the process of getting better, not just the number at the end of the race."
Improvement, Townsend said, is marked by more than falling times. "Kids make the mistake of just looking at the time and quantifying that as them getting better,"
he explained. "But some of them are getting better
with speed, some are getting more endurance, some
are getting better with VO2 max, some of them are just getting comfortable with the motion of running and the athleticism involved with it." VO2 max is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption measured during incremental exercise
Townsend likened running to any other sport. Progress can measured by the final score, but developing individual skills within the sport is also critical. Even so, the times have been improving as well. Clara Scott dropped nearly two minutes off of her 5K time in the two weeks between a pair of home meets, Townsend said. Lucy Wiklund, Trinity Borst and Emily Morehouse are all competitive athletes who are making significant gains, Townsend said.
The result has been a strong season for the rebooted program.
"When you're at the beginning, small improvements can go a long way," Townsend said. "There are a lot of different skills involved with running and the kids are making those qualitative improvements. I can tell their strides are becoming stronger, even the strategy of running a race is getting a lot better."




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