MAHOPAC, N.Y. – The Mahopac girls cross-country team has begun practicing and preparing to jump start their season, but there is always a chance that it might not get off the ground.

Mahopac’s coach, Kelley Posch, who is in her second year coaching the team, said they are looking at this season as a privilege and a gift. Not every student-athlete got to compete this fall, and Posch wants her runners to make the most of it and be grateful for every opportunity to go out there and be better than their opponent. Posch expects her team to be more competitive this year due to their expanded roster.

Mahopac returns their two top runners: sophomore Brett Bergerson and junior Emily Pontillo. Posch also acknowledged the arrival of three new additions to the team: senior Kiarra Condon and juniors Juliana Stefan and Olivia Saturn. All of these runners, the coach said, “Have been working hard and show a lot of promise.”

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She is optimistic about this upcoming season, stating that having six consistent runners will help. Posch expects Mahopac to score at all of their meets, which was a problem last year due to lack of runners and injuries throughout the season. Posch gave high praise to all of the girls, saying, “They are hard workers, positive, great teammates, and dedicated to the sport.”

With having only two seniors and one of them being a newcomer, leadership could be an issue, but Posch is not worried. She said that this group, even though they are small in quantity, make up for it in quality. Key runners for Posch include Bergerson, who led the team last year as a freshman. She is expected to take on a bigger role this year; not just as a runner, but as a leader. Junior

Pontillo is a hard worker for the Mahopac girls cross country team and always shows up to practice and meets with a positive attitude, the coach said. Pontillo is known as a hard worker, and her times reflect the work she has put in over her first few years running for the team. Condon, the newcomer, has shown a lot of promise and is expected to be ready to compete for her team. Junior Juliana Stefan has also stepped up and is ready to take on a role as a top runner for Mahopac.

Posch has high expectations for her team this year, but she is also proud of their actions off the track. She said, “Our athletes are respecting the rules and working together to make sure that we are all safe and doing whatever we can to keep our season going strong.” Posch called it a “we over me” mentality and said that her team is setting an example for the other teams currently playing and the teams to follow. They know how quickly all of this can be taken away and are taking the necessary precautions to avoid a costly mistake.

Mahopac ran on Saturday, Oct. 17, at Milton to open their season.