Byline: Steve Farley
As a newcomer to cross-country, Quabbin Regional freshman Steffany Halfrey has been running under the radar. After finishing third at Saturday's Division 1 Quabbin Invitational, the competition knows all about her now.
Halfrey was nipped by Wachusett Regional's Amy Collins for second place by less than two-tenths of a second, but the standout runner wasn't too upset with the outcome.
"I was a little disappointed," admitted Halfrey, who was out-leaned by Collins as the two were crossing the finish line. "I think I tried my best. I was happy with what I got. I was happy for her to get second."
Wachusett's Colleen Sands won the 2.92-mile race in a blistering 18:29, while Collins and Halfrey both were timed in 18:54.
"It was definitely a better quality of racers," Halfrey said. "It was more challenging for me. There were more people for me to push myself against. This was the first time I've ever done it at that level. I pushed myself to the best of my ability. This would've probably been my best race"
Halfrey is looking forward to the Central Mass. Championships on Nov. 12 at Gardner Municipal Golf Course. And this afternoon, the Panthers (4-4) travel to Marlboro for the Mid-Wach B Championships.
"I really didn't have a lot of expectations going into this year," Halfrey said. "I did pretty good based on what people thought I could do. I do like to fly under the radar because no one sees me coming, but it would be nice to have people know that I'm here and that I'm ready to compete."
Just a bit of advice for those runners who hate encountering hills. If you work out with Halfrey, chances are you're not going to have too much fun.
"What people usually hate about running, I love," said Halfrey, a straight-A student. "I love hills. Most people don't like to run up hills, but I like to go fast up hills. It usually gives me an advantage over people. I love the feeling of moving fast and feeling the wind in my hair."
The last time the Northbridge High girls lost a dual meet was the 2010 season opener against Uxbridge.
No longer a doormat, the 10-0 Rams are one of the top teams in the SWCL, just as they were under legendary coach Ken Warchol.
"They've just really come a long way in the last few years," said fourth-year coach Kevin McNeil, who took over when Warchol retired. "The girls' team last won the Southern Worcester County League in 1997. I think we have a really good chance of winning it...