CES and CMS Cross Country Runners Excel in Top-Finishing Season

Calais Elementary and Middle School’s Cross Country teams earned trophy after trophy this year as a result of their hard work and commitment to the sport and to their teammates. Coach Margo Puma led the team with the help of several parents. (Photo by Lura Jackson)

By Lura Jackson

 

The Calais Elementary and Middle School students that took part in running cross country in the recently-ended season finished remarkably well as a result of their dedication to the sport and the unflappable commitment of their coach, Margo Puma. The students took home several trophies for their repeated exceptional performances as a team and as individuals.

Every team – Elementary Boys, Elementary Girls, and Junior High Boys – earned first place in the division, which consists of five schools. While there weren’t enough members to form the Junior High Girls team, they were still able to run as individuals.

In the division final race, Kayleigh Scott placed 7th for the Junior High Girls. From the Junior High Boys’ team, Alex Richard came in 1st, Ethan Phillips came in 4th, Keegan Trainor placed 9th, and Braden White rounded out the top spots at 10th. Of the Elementary Girls, Jenna Cline placed 3rd, followed by a string of runners finishing in spots 5, 6, 7, and 8 - Tiernan Cox, Sarah Wentworth, Kenzie Smith, and Maliah Webb, respectively. Addison Ellsmore joined her teammates at the finish in 10th place. The Elementary Boys had a similarly successful run with Noah White placing 1st, Wyatt Short, Chase Scott, and Parker Bailey coming in spots 4, 5, and 6 respectively, and Mikah Smith finishing in 8th place.

At the league championship meet, where 11 teams tested their mettle against one another, the Junior High Boys’ team won first place and the Elementary Boys’ and Girls’ teams won third.

The season began in September and ran for six weeks. Practices were held on Mondays and Fridays with a meet every Wednesday, “rain or shine,” Puma said.

This is the second full year in which Puma has served as the cross country team’s coach. “I ran cross country when I was younger, and I loved it,” Puma explained. When they didn’t have a steady coach for the team, she came forward with the offer to train them. “They did fairly well the first year,” Puma said. “This year, every time a trophy was up, we took one home,” she said.

Some of Puma’s students are returning ones, and they’ve been steadily honing their skills with her. She runs her practices with her unique combination of exceptional discipline and open engagement, inspiring her charges to break past barriers and challenge themselves.

Puma has been perfecting her own techniques in leading the practices as well, she said, describing how they are better organized with more structure, contributing to “better listening” from the students. “They did a really good job. I expect them to do even better next year.”

A party was held on Wednesday, October 24th, at the Calais Recreation Center, giving the students the chance to play ball and enjoy snacks together. “This is the one time of year they can let loose and be a bit more wild,” Puma said. “I told them if they demonstrated good teamwork and sportsmanship they would have a celebration, and this is it.” Tradewinds donated the cake for the event.

Puma praised the efforts of her assistant coaches, Gloria Phillips and Heather White, as well as all of the parents that helped out during the season. “It really does take a village and this was a great example of what happens for children when there are so many helping hands,” Puma said. All of the positions involved are on a volunteer basis. “It really is quite a beautiful collaboration.”

 

With such a strong second season, the students and their supporters are already looking forward to seeing how they’ll do next year.