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Staples cross country team prepares for championship season with a five-way meet

Photo by Ale Benjamin
Varsity runers Oliver Hickson, ’15, and Jack Berman ’15 jog a few warm up laps before their race.

A cool breeze rustling through colorful leaves and pale blue sky set the perfect crisp fall day for the Staples Cross Country team’s meet against the Brien McMahon, Stamford, Central, and Fairfield Ludlowe High School.

The teams faced off in novice and varsity races for both boys and girls.

Each race filled the air with a fury of the racer’s determined footsteps thumping under the crowd’s mingled cheers for different schools.

As a team, Staples placed first in all four events.

Zak Ahmad, ’17, who placed second in the novice race after Staples’ Joey Bairaktaris, ’16, said, “I think we did really well overall, especially in novice. We were the top fourteen places.”

Girls triumphed in both their novice race and 3k varsity race, with Hannah DeBalsi, ’16 placing first and Erica Hefnawy, ’15 closing in at third for varsity.

The boys varsity race—a 5k run including three laps around the Staples track and two around the Wakeman fields—also proved exciting for Staples.

Oliver Hickson, ’15 placed second with a time of 16:30.7 minutes.

“The race was great,” Hickson said. “ [We] didn’t really want to go our hardest because there’s an important invitational on Saturday, but the team still did very well overall.”

Conserving stamina for the approaching championship season seems to be the topic on everyone’s mind.

“We’re looking forward to it,” said Coach Laddie Lawrence. “It’s going to be interesting when weget our first taste [of championships]. We’re one of the 15-18 top rated teams.”

Hickson agrees with Lawrence that Staples is definitely one of the major contenders for FCIACs.

The first FCIAC championship meet will be next Thursday at WavenyPark in New Canaan.

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Ale Benjamin
Ale Benjamin, Managing Editor
Ale Benjamin ’15 started out like everyone else in the Introduction to Journalism class her sophomore year. However, the class wasn’t just a way to earn course credit; it turned into a passion that she practices like a passionate, seasoned athlete would practice her sport. “Anyone can write, but journalism is more than that. It’s about communicating,” said Benjamin.  Along with communicating people’s stories, Benjamin has developed a broader perspective on the world by taking journalism. In order to better her skills, Benjamin went to an investigative reporting program at Boston University this summer. Benjamin participates in many activities that all tie together, allowing her to become accomplished in everything she does. Along with being one of the managing editors for Inklings, she is also one of the program directors for WWPT, as it combines her interests of journalism and music. Despite her many academic pursuits, Benjamin isn’t all work and no play. She enjoys relaxing, physically active hobbies such as Yoga and Pure Barre. She has also been an active member of the Staples girls’ swim team all four years of high school.. Benjamin loves to travel, which adds a global perspective to her writing. She has visited many incredible places including Thailand, South Africa, and Australia. However, she doesn’t travel just for pure pleasure. Benjamin takes her helping hands on the Builders Beyond Borders service trip every February since her sophomore year. She has visited communities in the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and plans to go again to Guatemala this coming year. Her participation in Inklings and her many other diverse activities allows Benjamin to tackle each challenge she faces with the determination of a reporter ready to crack a case.

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