GROTON -- Starting on her fourth season as the head coach of the girls cross-country team at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School, Colleen Naboicheck is eagerly anticipating coaching the runners.
"The girls that I had as freshmen, my first year coaching, are now seniors, so this year is really special for me."
As a coach, she knows it is important to make sure the team is ready to take on the goals she has set out for them to achieve.
"It takes a lot of hard work. Last year, the girls came into the season out of shape, so it took them a while to get them ready to compete in the meets. This year, the girls came in great shape. Some of the girls went to running camp, but everybody has been running over the summer," said Naboicheck. "As a coach, it is my job to keep everybody healthy without any injuries."
Even though it is early in the season, she has already picked out who her top runners will be.
"Our top runner is definitely Emma Ordemann, a senior. Our other top runners are Delaney Coveno, a senior, Katie Lienhard, a senior, Olivia Box, a senior, and Caitlyn Berube, a sophomore," said Naboicheck.
"I have a stronger and better team this year, so I feel that the team can do really well this year in our league and have a winning season. There will be some challenging meets out there. Nashoba will be hard to meet, they are a strong team."
To assist Naboicheck in carrying the team to their goal of going to districts and states are
Happel, a four-year veteran of the girls cross-country program, is in shape for the season, and ready to cut down time on the courses. As a captain, she has an agenda for herself, as well as for the team.
"I want the girls to be committed. I feel there is a lot of talent on the team. They just need to be able to push themselves," said Happel. "I went to American Running Camp over the summer, with a few other members of the team, so I'm in great shape for the season. As for myself, I would just like to set my own personal records on the courses."
There is a lot of talent to look for this season. "There were a few freshmen last year that showed a lot of potential, they will be sophomores this year. It will be exciting to see how they do," said Happell. "There are other teams that are really good. They will be tougher to beat."
Coveno shared similar views with her co-captain, who has been with the team since her sophomore year. "I would like to achieve a winning record and incorporate the incoming freshmen, since we are a team with mostly juniors and seniors," said Coveno. "I would like to break my personal record. It is a mental game, so I would have to work on controlling my nerves before meets."
For her cross-country career at Groton-Dunstable, Happell's experience has been impacted by Naboicheck, simply known to the girls as "Coach Nabo."
"I respect her more than most adults out there. She lives and breathes running, so she knows what she's talking about when she coaches you," said Happel. "During the workout you might hate her, but after it is all done, you want to thank her for pushing you so hard."
Like Happel, Coveno is eager for another cross-country experience with Coach Nabo. "I love her," said Coveno. "She really is a great coach."
Ordemann, a second-year captain, is determined to see her team reach their full potential. "I want my team to make it to districts, and make it to states. I was the only one who went to states last year. We haven't made it to states as a team since my freshmen year," said Ordemann. "It is a friendly atmosphere though, and it is a great sport to be involved in. It is a very social environment."
As a four-year veteran of the team, she knows that achieving this goal won't be easy. There are several challenges that the team will be facing. "Injuries can always a problem," said Ordemann. "Last year we had good runners, but they had shin splints and knee problems."
Ordemann is ready to enjoy her last year with the girls cross-country team and Coach Nabo.
"I love Nabo. She is a great coach and she knows what she is talking about," said Ordemann. "I have been running with a lot of the girls since middle school, so I'm looking forward to one last season with the team."