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Article Published July 14, 2019
Guilford Girls’ Track Grew While Gaining Experience
John Lecardo, Sports Writer

The Guilford girls’ outdoor track team featured a smaller roster in 2019, but the Indians compensated for that by following the ideal path for any squad. Guilford learned a lot while progressing throughout the regular season then hit its stride when the postseason arrived.

Guilford only featured three seniors on the team and was unable to win a regular-season meet this spring. However, Head Coach Jon Rivera’s athletes sharpened their skills and picked up pivotal experience that paid off during the postseason meets.

The Indians started off the postseason by earning a sixth-place finish at the SCC East Sectional Championship, after which they came in eighth place for the SCC Championship. Guilford went on to finish in 16th place at the Class L State Championship.

While his team didn’t come away with any titles, Coach Rivera said the Indians competed with the heart of a champion all season long.

“We had a smaller team this year and, in the regular season, we gained a lot of experience, so we performed well at the end of the year,” said Rivera. “We had some underclassmen that developed and came up big at the end of the year. The dual-meets prepared us well to peak at the end of the year, which is what you want to see.”

The Indians’ captains were senior distance runner Meredith Bloss and junior jumper Sofia Migani. Sprinter Cassandra Nemec and fellow runner Kelsi Putnam were the two other seniors on the team. Coach Rivera said that both captains and each of the seniors exhibited the right qualities for Guilford’s underclass athletes to emulate—both as athletes and role models in the community.

“Meredith was a superstar runner and great advocate for the program. She led by example and was always a team player. She was great all four years and will be missed,” Rivera said. “Sofia always took things seriously and worked hard. Cassie had an amazing senior year. She made it to SCCs [in the 400] and just missed states by fractions of a second. Kelsi was a great multi-sport athlete.”

Guilford also saw some promising glimpses into its feature as several underclass athletes emerged on the scene this season. Rivera said that he feels positive about what those athletes accomplished.

“Julia Antony came on strong as a freshman and really stood out. Zoe McClure was a sophomore who was new to track, but she showed she could do well in a lot of different events,” Rivera said. “They gave us bright spots in different events we weren’t deep in.”

Bloss made the All-SCC Team for the 1,600 and 3,200 by winning both of those events at the SCC Championship one week after placing first in each of them at the East Sectional meet. Bloss went on to qualify for the State Open in the 3,200 by taking third at the Class L meet, while McClure advanced to the Open in the triple jump.

Bloss was named Guilford’s Most Valuable Player on the track with Migani receiving that honor for the field events. Nemec and McClure were co-recipients of the Most Improved Player Award. Anthony won the Indians’ Best Freshman Award.

Guilford saw a few other athletes score points for the team during the postseason. Those athletes were junior Clara Wiesler in the 3,200, sophomore Gianna Siciliano in the 1,600, and freshman Yanli Muhs in the 3,200.

Coach Rivera knows that it’s important for Guilford to get more people to come out for the team next season. Rivera likes the athletes who will be returning to the fold and believes the framework is in place for the Indians to keep progressing in 2020.

“This year was a little tough in terms of numbers, so we have to boost those,” said Rivera. “We saw some work with kids, and they developed and gained experience. We just have to find some other scorers to help grow. We have nowhere else to go but up.”

This was Rivera’s 11th season as head coach of the Guilford girls’ outdoor track team. Jim Ford and Stephanie Phillips were the Indians’ assistant coaches this spring.