The Triton girls cross-country team shocked many in the area at the Cape Ann League Championships on Saturday, coming in as the top area school in the sport. As far as coach Joe Colbert is concerned, it wouldn’t have happened without a trusted veteran and surprising newcomer.
“There’s no way we could have done it without the both of them,” Colbert said of senior co-captain Liz Willmonton and sophomore Maddie Quigley, both of whom recorded personal bests at the CAL’s. “We knew coming back that Liz was going to be one of the best runners in the league, and when I heard over the summer that Maddie had decided to join the team, I knew then that we were going to be capable of doing some big things.”
The Vikes finished in fourth place on the 5K course at Bradley Palmer State Park with a score of 124, the best performance in Colbert’s 12-year Triton career. Willmonton recorded a personal best and placed sixth overall with a time of 19:14 to rack up Triton’s best CAL performance since Keely Maguire ran a 17:31 in 2007 before going on to run at UNH.
“Dropping down a whole minute in just one race was unbelievable,” said Willmonton. “I saw the clock when I was in the shoot, and I started crying, I was so happy. I don’t think the girls who were behind me were too happy about that, but I was so happy, I cannot even explain it.”
Willmonton, who is current looking at running at either Bryant or Franklin Pierce next year, had never run before making the squad in her freshman season when she finished first on the team. When it came to her final CAL appearance on Saturday, she wanted it all.
“Wanting it really, really badly played into it,” said Willmonton. “Going into it, I had a lot of goals as to what I wanted to do. But Colbert was the one who really got me zoned. He came up to me and told me that I had to get out there with the top five or six girls and run it with them. And I was surprised that, even when I got out front, even when we came to the last mile, I felt great, and I picked off five girls, coming down.”