BRISTOL - For the Bristol Eastern track team, Wednesdayâ€™s meet was a chance to improve individually up against one of the better teams, Bristol Central.
And for Maggie Santacroce, improvement has been a steady part of her career for the Lancers in cross country, indoor and outdoor track.
The senior captain is looking to finish off the year strong and is seconds off of qualifying for the state race in the 800-meter event.
Santacroce is running at 2:37 and needs to cut off five seconds to qualify. She is part of the 4x800 relay team, along with Avery Braccia, Megan Perry and Dayna Houle, that has already qualified for states with a time of 10:54.
Another senior for the Lancers, Mason Poirier, is seeking to do the same as Santacroce in the 800-meter.
For Poirier, itâ€™s his first year participating in cross country, indoor and outdoor track. So far heâ€™s had strong showings and is only improving.
After starting the season off running the 800-meter race at 2:12, he has cut his time down to 2:07 over the course of the season and needs shave off another two seconds in order to reach the qualifying mark of 2:05.
Running cross-country and track has been more than just a sport to Santacroce and has become equally important for Poirier.
Both are captains for Bristol Eastern and it that recognition has altered their outlook on how to approach the sport and other situations like presents.
â€śIt feels really good to be a role model to people and it means a lot for me to be captain,â€ť Poirier said. â€śIt gives me more leadership skills and helps me for the future.â€ť
Both plan on continuing their running careers at the college level.
Santacroce will be staying local attending Eastern Connecticut State University.
She plans to continue participating in all three sports and will hope to continue to build off what has made her career at Bristol Eastern such a good runner.
â€śI think reestablishing the family bond at the college level is big for me,â€ť Santacroce said. â€śThatâ€™s been really important for me the past few seasons. The college Iâ€™m going to is very family oriented so itâ€™s going to be good to be part of something again and I hope to flourish and achieve higher levels as a runner and a teammate.â€ť
Poirier also plans on running cross country as well as indoor and outdoor track at Florida Southern College.
â€śIâ€™m looking to improve myself as a runner and be better,â€ť Poirier said. â€śEven if itâ€™s just a little bit, itâ€™s still improvement and I can do that by coming out every practice and going 110 percent even when it hurts and just pushing through meets. When youâ€™re tired and have 100 meters left you still need to finish strong.â€ť
Regardless of whether the two qualify for states in their individual events, Santacroce and Poirier have left a lasting impact with the younger runners for the Lancers.
â€śThe kids look up to them and look for their guidance,â€ť Bristol Eastern coach Kyle Fuller said. â€śTheyâ€™re great role models for these younger kids. They come in thinking one thing then see how these seniors act and react and think thatâ€™s the way it should be done. So you see how the younger kids change how they approach practice and life in general because of the seniors.â€ť
Dan Orencole can be reached atÂ 860-973-1811 orÂ firstname.lastname@example.org