Glennon’s geese take flight and state title

Joe Campagna

In sports, there is nothing more frightening to the opposition than a great team with a chip on its shoulder. (Witness the New England Patriots.) Despite a very successful season, Mike Glennon’s talented BHS cross country harriers ended last year with an empty feeling after failing to capture the Mass. state title.

The Warriors spent the fall making others pay for that misstep, rolling through the 2007 campaign unbeaten. Despite their success, Glennon and his troops claimed they were saving their best for last: Saturday’s State Meet at the Gardner Golf Course.

Mission accomplished!

BHS star Rob Gibson led a parade of Warriors across the finish line in a team performance rarely seen in an event generally dominated by individuals from many schools. The favored Warriors captured four of the top 10 spots to dispel any hopes the completion may have entertained coming into the day. The Brookline juggernaut totaled only 25 points, 76 points better than runner-up, Whitman-Hanson.

“I told the team to be like geese and stay together, with the leaders helping out those who might need encouragement to keep up,” said Glennon. “It was something they could relate to, as our team generally runs in packs.”

Some concerns did spring up during the week, when Gibson became ill and Ryan Hardiman and Mike Burnstein suffered ankle sprains. A lot of rest and rehabilitation took care of most of those problems, although Hardiman eventually was forced out of Saturday’s event when his balky ankle flared up during the race.

“Our trainer, Rob Burke, was named athlete of the week for getting our people ready to go,” said Glennon. “I was beginning to think we were cursed when our guys starting going down, but they were still primed and ready for Saturday.”

As usual, Gibson set the pace for his team, finishing first with a time of 14:25. Gibson’s shadow, junior David Wilson, was on his heels once again, coming in second place in 14:30. Seniors, Burnstein (14:44) and Eliot Lehane (14:46), grabbed the ninth and 10th positions for Glennon’s flock. Brendan Grove was BHS’ final point-getter, nailing down the 24th spot in 15:13.

“Obviously, this was a talented and motivated group of kids”, said Glennon. “This is what we had hoped and planned for. They stand by each other, and I am very proud of them.”

The Warriors will continue their postseason this weekend by running in the Nike Team Northeast Regional Championships in Wappingers Falls, N.Y. BHS currently is ranked third in the Northeast.