Franklin Boys Cross Country Capture Hockomock Title

Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
Franklin Cross Country has built up its strength and took home the Hockomock title this year.
Issue Date: 
December, 2018
Article Body: 

Franklin High School has had many successful sporting teams over the years, but one team in particular has not been the beneficiary of such winning ways. The boys cross country team has had winning seasons, but none noteworthy that sticks out. The last time the Panther runners captured a Hockomock League title was 44 years ago in 1974. That is, until this season, and the team knew it was coming.
“It has been a really long time,” Panther Coach Nick Bailey said. “These kids have always talked about winning a league title, and they kept telling me that I was going to lead them to the Hockomock Championship. They worked hard and put it all together on the course, and it’s nice to see it accomplished.”
Coaching in his 10th season with Franklin, 8th as the head coach, Bailey knew that his team was once again going to be solid. Last fall, Franklin did extremely well with a lot of young talent on the team, so it was inevitable that the team would continue to be successful.
According to Bailey, the potential was there, the team just needed to put it all together and compete as a team. The Panthers did so and went 5-0 to edge out Mansfield for the Kelly-Rex Division of the Hock.
“Having beaten Mansfield for the first time in a long time last year, we knew that we had the possibility to go undefeated again,” the coach said. “So, doing it again this year was not really a surprise to us.”
Leading the Panther pack on the course are junior Tyler Brogan and senior Mike Hagan. Brogan typically is around 15:55 to lead all Franklin runners, while Hagan is right behind him in second place. First year cross country runner sophomore Nicholas Calitri has slowly been moving his way toward the front of the pack.
“It’s usually Mike and Tyler running out front together but Nicholas has been improving,” he said. “As the year went on he found his way to the front of the pack along with our two top runners. As a freshman, he did well in track and continued to improve, I knew he had the potential.”
Following the first-year runner, Franklin has two individuals who ran strong in winter and spring track of a year ago, and the coach was looking for them to continue that trend. Senior Dylan Kehoe and junior Cam Harrington have filled the fourth and fifth spots respectively for the squad.
With the regular season now behind them Franklin is looking forward to a run in the MIAA post-season and hopefully a trip to the States. Coach Bailey is very optimistic about his team’s chances.
“We should be up there running with the elite teams,” the FHS Coach said. “There are some challenging teams, but I believe that our depth will carry us. We have 6 or 7 guys, who at any time can run under 17 minutes and that’s huge.”