Cross country girls hope ‘family’ atmosphere in Rhode Island pays off


The Greeley West girls cross country team sits at dinner along the beach on their recent trip to Rhode Island for an invitational.

Megan Battleson, Staff Writer

Rhode Island Cross Country Trip

Megan Battleson

Taking a road trip with friends is a classic dream among teenagers, but rarely do high schoolers get to travel several states away with their teammates.

On September 21st, Liz Baylon, Megan Starkey, Maria Geesaman, Ana Rivera, Jaelyn Salgado, Michelle Bell, and Kendra Roth, accompanied by coaches Mr. Rich Davis and Ms. Lea Sanford flew into Providence, Rhode Island. The new experiences began with three of the seven athletes riding in a plane for the first time.

Junior, Salgado spent most of the plane ride scared. “I’ve seen a lot of movies where the airplanes blew up,” she said, causing some fear to carry over into the real world.

The adventure continued when they toured the historic Breaker Mansion in Newport as well as Brown University.

The team was invited by Davis’s high school coach, Tom Kenwood, to participate in the Ocean State XC Invitational as he is retiring after 43 years of coaching.

As well as being a trip full of firsts for the athletes, it was also an opportunity for the seven to bond. Starkey recalled sitting in the living room where they stayed, and reflecting on the day and telling stories as one of the highlights of the trip for her. When asked about how the trip has impacted the team, Starkey stated, “I think it made us stronger both individually and as a team.”

Davis compared many of the girls’ first experience on an Atlantic beach to a key scene in the movie McFarland U.S.A., where the boys on the cross country team play in the ocean for the first time, and form strong bonds over the playful first experience. Geesaman also recalled a strong bonding with her teammates saying, “this year our team is a legit family.”

Upon returning, Starkey hopes that the cross country athletes, “will all be one big team,” and will come together the way the top seven girls did in Rhode Island.