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Cut From the Same Cloth Award

Who do you picture as being cut from the same cloth as an older sibling?

Shayne Collins - Julie Binney - Kevin Meagher

A family name can be a curse or an inspiration. Each of these runners have already proven they can carry on the family name with pride. It's their older siblings that have to worry! Because every indication is that Shayne, Julie and Kevin will make us forget those other family members.

Just kidding of course.

Julie and Kevin have both been integral parts of Hockomock championships. Their timely performances have brought great honor to their respective schools. In the case of Shayne, he is trying to make the Collins name the most famous in Hockomock history. Andy and Sara Powell have quite a legacy. But the Collins name isn't far behind - esp. with coach Julie Collins thrown into the mix. While I'm at it - can you think of another family name that is synonymous with Hock XC.

Of course there are the Harringtons of OA. The Estey's weren't bad but are more known for spring track. Who am I forgetting?

The Extra Mile Award
Who goes above and beyond the rest in chasing excellence?
Greg Payne - Jess Pickett

I don't doubt the credibility of the other nominees. But I know for sure that these two stand out.

Greg is a self made man. He didn't come in with fanfare and he didn't light the sport on fire in his first season. But he keeps getting better and better. He is a prototype of an athlete that will be even better in the college system.

Same for Jess. I'm in awe of the season she put together. With Davidner on her team, it would have been easy to back off a little. Instead, the competition from a younger runner helped propel her to greater accomplishments.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words Award
Everyone at Borderland had the same question. Who is better - Dacey or Moverman. As they rounded the last corner we still didn't know. Then Dacey sprinted away to prove it was his year. I'll have my camera ready next year. Moverman's state finals performance showed he wants to assume his rightful position atop the league.

Tears can mean many things. I'm not even sure what these mean - and Brianna is on my team. Entering the state class meet, she wasn't even sure she'd get to run.

Bri made the most of her opportunity. She sprinted the final 200M, passing two runners just before the tape. Is she happy, is she in pain, can she breath?

This is open to interpretation.

Elvis Has Left the Building Award

Which graduating athlete do you wish could come back for a curtain call?

Frank May - Mike Bolea - Steph Moses

There were many great nominations. But I focused on three that I think deserve another chance. They each were ready to rock and started with great potential.

But things don't always go as planned - and injuries can be a tough thing to handle. These three plugged away and were a credit to their team despite being sub-par. If only they could come back.

I hope they don't dismay. I'm sure I'm speaking for the entire league when I say that each left their mark. And I bet there are a lot of underclassmen who are glad they aren't returning.

Diamond in the Rough Award

Who has the goods to be a star, and just needs to be honed into shape?

Patrick McGowan - Mary Cole - Lindsey Walsh - Matt Henry - Allie Kirsch  - Max Nolan 

What a cop out. Picking six runners for one award. It's just that I can't separate them. Each had great seasons but none are near reaching their potential. They've taken the first step toward a great career.

The next step depends on how they handle the pressure of increased expectations. Do they crumble or sparkle?

Every indication is that they will be the gems of XC'08.

My Brother's  Keeper Award

Whether it is a kind word, a helpful running tip or someone to push you through a workout, this person is “always there for you”.

Sara KrasneyPat Slight - Bob Clarke

I know Kraz the best having watched her all four seasons. She is the consumate team leader. She was hurt all season. So she would meet with the team, rush to the YMCA to put in a pool workout and get back in time to lead stretching. The team voted her most inspirational.

Pat seemed to be the clutch runner for Franklin, esp. at Hocks. So I was doubly impressed when I got an e-mail talking about his inspirational speeches. I'm glad his teammates thought enough about him to write. It opened my eyes to the fact that he had more than a "slight" impact on his team.

Bob Clarke : I could have used many of my Coach Clarke snapshots for my picture category. He has been keeping the faith through a number of losing seasons. This year his patience and perseverence were rewarded. I underestimated Stoughton and Coach Clarke's hard work helped them teach me a lesson.

Cool as a Cucumber Award

Who do you think best handles stress before races?

Amanda Parker - John Dacey - Nick Wade - Kathleen Ryan

They don't grimace, they don't hide, and they don't appear to have a worry in the world. But meet after meet they step up and get the job done.

I would be very afraid to face these runners - because I never know what they are thinking. One minute they are talking nice and wishing eveyone good luck. They next minute you're watching their backside as they disappear ahead of you.

I think they have the same pre-race doubts as everyone else - or do they?

World is Your Oyster Award

Who do you think, “has it made” – and why?

Julie Collins - Jenna Davidner - Steph Mac!!!

I know a lot about oysters. There isn't a guy out there who has it made. Dacey-Moverman-Wade? They can't be content. There might be someone gaining.

Yet, on the female side I can find three. Julie Collins has established herself as the Hockomock coach to be reconned with. Just when you think they'll come back to the rest of the league, Mansfield dispels all doubt with another superlative year. This has been going on too long to just be luck.

Then there's Jenna. With Jess Pickett gone next year she won't have anyone to run with. I think I'll start a petition to make her run against the boys instead.

Although Steph has graduated I received multiple nominations for her. Usually when you go off to college there's a learning curve. Steph proved she's way ahead of the curve by becoming the first Tuft's freshman XC runner to gain all-American status. I wonder what she'll do when she isn't a lowly frosh.