Despite winning the 2009 Great Northeast Athletic Conference championship, the Emerson College women’s cross–country team entered the 2010 season with some question marks and with heavy hearts.
Cross–country coach John Furey said the team was devastated by the loss of team captain Grace Kaskie ’12 , whose life was tragically cut short in an automobile accident over the summer. Kaskie was returning from the Emerson Los Angeles Summer Program at the time of the incident. A remembrance service for Grace is being planned for Saturday, November 6. The College will provide more details on that event soon.
“In addition to being a great runner, Grace was a tremendous captain, leader, friend to everyone and just an overall funny person,” said Furey. “She was one of those people that everyone wanted to be around.”
“In addition to being a great runner, Grace was a tremendous captain, leader, friend to everyone and just an overall funny person. She was one of those people that everyone wanted to be around.”
The loss of Kaskie, combined with the graduation of all-conference runner Dana Filek-Gibson ’09 and the transfer of GNAC Runner and Rookie of the Year Caprice Capucci (’13, Massachusetts College of Art) to the University of Massachusetts gave the team a very different look this season.
“The departure of Caprice was huge,” said Furey. “Hands down, she would be the one to beat in the GNAC. She wasn’t happy at MassArt and walked on to the team at UMass Amherst. She made a good Division I team and will be in their top six before the season is over.”
Yet with all those factors weighing on the team, Emerson looks as if it may not have skipped a beat.
“We are fortunate to have excellent senior leadership with Cat Viglienzoni, Katie Eastman, and Jeanne Hannigan, as well as a real dynamic group of underclassmen that came in this year,” Furey says. “The team spirit and chemistry is great.”
Leading the group of underclassmen is Heather Hoglund ’13, who has ably filled the role of Capucci thus far this season, being named the GNAC Runner of the Week twice in three weeks, and not finishing lower than second in any race.
Hoglund did not compete at Emerson as a first-year student, as she was recovering from major knee surgery in June 2009 to repair a misalignment that resulted from a high school track and field injury.
“Heather slowly returned throughout the winter and we made sure her program was heavy on the corrective exercise, strength training, and initially non-impact cardio until she gradually returned to pain–free running in the winter.”
Furey thinks Hoglund has a good chance to capture the individual title at the GNAC Championship on October 30 at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine.
“Heather is probably in a battle with maybe one or two other runners for the GNAC individual title. One runner is from Emmanuel and one from St. Joe’s, who we will not see until the GNAC meet. I think Heather has an excellent shot.”
Furey is also excited about newcomer Courtney Halpin ’13 (Berklee College of Music), who is getting into shape after not competing in cross–country in 2009 and having competed for only one year in high school.
Emerson competed in the “Pop” Crowell Invitational at Gordon College on October 2. “This weekend gives a good view at how we stack up team-wise in the GNAC,” Furey said. “Right now, I would give a slight edge to Emmanuel, and look at us, Johnson & Wales, and possibly St. Joseph’s fighting for the second and third spot. The key after this weekend is to see what we have to do to close the gap and try to take home back–to–back titles.”
Win, lose, or draw, Furey is happy with what he’s seen. “It has been a real good year so far, and I am thrilled with how the ladies have done.”