There may be a few better girl cross country runners around, but there are probably not many happier ones than Pentucket senior captain Marissa Porter.
After two years plagued with injuries, Porter is just happy to be running, much less running well as the top runner for a Pentucket squad that is one of the better teams around.
“I just love the sport so much,” said Porter. “I really enjoy being captain, trying to get the younger kids excited and to get them to love cross country as much as I do.”
Porter’s enthusiasm is largely the result of an excellent freshman cross country season during which she was among the Sachems’ top three runners and giving signs that her future was nearly unlimited.
After a strong indoor track season that freshman year, followed by success as a freshman lacrosse player, Porter trained hard the next summer (up to 40 miles per week on the roads) in preparation for what she hoped would be a breakout cross country season.
Unfortunately, she may have trained too hard. After a few days of practice, in obvious pain, she was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her shin and was lost for the season.
“It was from running too much on pavement,” said Porter. “It pretty much cost me the whole year.”
Porter, a resident of West Newbury, trained for cross country the next summer as well but tried to run more on trails rather than pavement. This time, she lasted through two meets before more misfortune struck when she suffered a stress fracture in her hip, once again ending her season.
She did run some in indoor track last year despite recording a dubious kind of trifecta when she suffered a stress fracture in her foot.
Needless to say, when Porter trained during the summer for the current season, she did so carefully.