Published September 12, 2019

NORTH READING — The North Reading High School cross country squad will be looking to build off a decent 2018 campaign, which saw both teams improve with records of 4-6 for the girls and 2-8 for the boys. The team will be coached by Ryan Spinney (14th season, 5th as head coach) and Andrew Falanga (2nd season as assistant coach).

The girls’ squad will be led by senior captains Lindsay MacLellan, Ali Grasso and Lauren Meaney.

MacLellan is the returning Cape Ann League open champion and the Division IV state runner up.

“Lindsay is ready to really have a special senior season,” said coach Spinney. “She is motivated and fit. She will be a real tough competitor to beat this fall.”

Grasso, Meaney and other seniors Lauren Sullivan, Elena Cogan, Samantha Galvin, Kaitlyn Lehane and Isabella Raso are looking to contribute to the Hornet attack.

LINDSAY MACLELLAN is back to lead the Hornets’ cross country team this season. The senior is the returning Cape Ann League Open champion and the Division IV state runner-up. (John Friberg File Photo)

“This senior group is an excellent group to work with. They give their best everyday and set a great tone for the younger athletes,” said Spinney.

Following the seniors are sophomores Abigail McLaughlin, Nicole Steinmeyer and Stephanie Stringer, as well as, freshmen Annalise Butler and Alyssa Cassarino.

“The underclass runners will be a major part of our success this season,” said Spinney. “They are following the seniors lead and are going to be working their way into our top group of runners. It is amazing to watch their progress already and I look forward to see where the season takes them.”

On the boys’ side, senior captains Andrew DeBenedetto, Nick O’Donnell and junior captain Jack Murphy lead the way. DeBenedetto is the top returning Hornet runner and is looking to push his way into the CAL top group of runners.

“Andrew is in excellent shape and is motivated to make his mark in the league this fall. I think he will be very happy with his season if things continue at their current rate,” stated Spinney.

O’Donnell and the other seniors of Chris Nearing, Matt McGotty, Ben Elis and Erik Doucette look to help push the Hornets toward a great fall campaign.

“This season group has a lot of talent and they know what it will take to succeed in this league. They will be the guides for the younger kids to follow and they will do that very well,” said Spinney.

Murphy, a first underclass captain for Spinney, as well as the rest of the junior class, make up a major part of the Hornet attack this fall. That group includes Devin Adams, Zach Baker, Frank Cassarino, Parker Menis, Kyle Moore, Nick Rinaldi, Erik Wieselquist and Adam Zecher.

“I am very encouraged by the work the junior group put in over the summer,” stated Spinney. “They are definitely ready to improve on last year’s campaign and it should be fun to watch.”

Rounding out the squad are sophomores Nick Doucette and Anthony Petrosino and freshman Nick Fabrizio and Ben Meier.

“Although not a large number of young runners, they are certainly quality athletes and even better people,” said Spinney. “They will be impact contributors for us very quickly.”

The Hornets opened up their Cape Ann League campaign after press time against Newburyport on Wednesday, September 11 at Maudslay State Park.