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The Signal's Team of the Year: Saugus girls cross country

Posted: July 9, 2013 8:40 p.m.
Updated: July 9, 2013 8:40 p.m.

The 2012 Saugus girls cross country team extended its state championship streak to seven California titles in a row.

 

The more you dig into the details of the 2012 Saugus girls cross country team, the more remarkable the story becomes.

First, the team won the CIF Division II state championship to extend the record streak to seven state crowns in a row. And Saugus did so despite a seemingly depleted roster of runners who were understandably surrounded by doubt coming into the season.

It was the least experienced team Saugus had ever fielded during the seven-year title stretch.

On top of that, some of its key members, returning seniors Heidi Hoslet and Katie Huntington, were injured.

Hoslet had to sit out for four months due to a stress fracture in her foot and Huntington also missed time early in the season due to a pulled hamstring.

Another key runner, junior Abigail Frankian, also had to grit her teeth through a strained ligament in the week leading up to the state meet.

There was also the story of senior Olivia Altieri, who gave up being a vegetarian and started eating meat again in order to boost her running ability.

She ended up as the fifth and final scoring runner at the state final.

But everyone stepped up when they needed to. Samantha Ortega emerged as the team’s star and top finisher.

Nina Sassano and Darby LaPlant, who were Saugus’ sixth and seventh runners, respectively, at the state meet, helped push their teammates.

It all fell into place for this team. And for that, they earned their place as The Signal’s 2012-13 Team of the Year for the fifth year in a row.

Samantha Ortega
Saugus sophomore cross country runner

Ihink the key to our team was we were all willing to do everything for each other. We were willing to work hard for each other and that’s what we did.

We were a team that was inexperienced and we were all new. We were definitely underdogs, but you know what, it did motivate us to prove people wrong and to keep up our own dynasty.

We all have our own qualities that help us through things.

We all struggled in our own way and Heidi and Katie had to deal with these prolonged injuries and things weren’t looking good for them and they pulled together, thank goodness. And Olivia was willing to do anything for our team, and she did in the end. She turned out to be our last point scorer, and with her finally getting all those nutrients her body needed, it helped. It helped a lot.

I’m a huge team player. I’m all for my team. That’s what motivated me all season. I’ve got to keep going. I’ve got to keeping working for my team.

Abigail Frankian
Saugus junior cross country runner

Every team in the past has worked really hard, but I think this year we just found a way to overcome all our differences and really be glued together. To just work together as a team and really just completely rely on everyone else and not just one of us because we knew everyone else would do the same for us.

Some of the girls were new to it so the desire to be up there on the podium and getting medals and getting excited. And it was never losing that desire.

(Me, Hoslet and Huntington) had already been through it and we knew how exciting it was. Just being the leaders of the team, we really tried to encouraged the other girls to be as excited about it as we were.

We lost some really good girls, but we just had to be willing to replace them as much as possible. I don’t take it personally because I’m not as good as them, but I agree with them that the streak will end at some time or another. We just didn’t want that to happen this year.

Heidi Hoslet
Saugus senior cross country runner

The camaraderie (was our key) because we were all just so close to each other. We were all basically best friends. It was easier for us to gather and to bond and it made us closer.

You spend so much time together and when you run together, you want to do your best for the team.

I had such a tough time getting back because I was out for four months. It was really, really hard, but I knew I wanted to get back to the state team. It just made me work harder when I got back and it made it all the better.

Obviously this year, to me, it was more meaningful because I was one of the leaders and it was more powerful.


Rene Paragas
Saugus cross country head coach

Idon’t want to say it was my favorite team, but I really, really enjoyed working with this group. It was a fun group.

It was a group that just really, really wanted to do well for the program, not necessarily for themselves.

It was a super conscientious group and it was just nice to be around a group that they were so concerned about holding up the Saugus legacy and winning.

It was just a group of girls that got together. Nobody had egos. They were a very close-knit group. We didn’t have drama. I know we’ve had drama on a lot of teams before. It was a joy coming to practice each day.

A lot of things happened through the course of the year. Heidi was out for four months. Katie was out for five weeks, Abigail had the strained ligament after CIF and it just seems like they talk about teams where, “Man, they were just devastated by injuries and they didn’t get it done.” We got it done. That’s what’s so special about it. Despite everything that happened to us, we got it done.

I’ll never forget this year just because of everything that happened. Whether from the injuries, the illnesses, my kids being there for the first time, my car breaking down, it was a special year. It’s going to be hard to top.

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