The Groton girls cross country team continues to be a vibrant and successful fall athletic offering. Varsity and JV runners practice together. The team is usually large—thirty to forty girls turn out to run every season—and includes a wide range of experience and ability. We have top-flight runners who are among the fastest girls in our league, as well as girls who have just started running and find their first introduction to competitive athletics as a member of our team. We talk about being not just a running team, but a racing team, embracing the opportunity to test ourselves as individuals and as a team in both practices and meets.
The coaching staff strives to provide every runner with appropriate training, challenge, and support for her fitness and ability. At the same time, we work to foster a healthy and supportive team culture in which every runner’s successes and contributions are valued and celebrated. We ask all of our runners to commit seriously to each other and their work together while ensuring that running is fun and exists in healthy balance with the bigger picture of their lives at school.
Thanks to a beautiful and expansive system of trails, almost all our running is done on wooded paths or grassy fields. Our weekly training includes a combination of distance runs, rigorous hill and interval workouts, and relaxed recovery days ahead of weekly races. As girls progress, they are invited to join faster groups and take on longer runs and harder workouts. Our season culminates in two championship meets in November, the ISL Cross Country Championships and New England (NEPSTA Division II) Championships. Our runners have earned numerous individual and team accolades at these meets.
If you are interested in our program, please contact Coach Mike O’Donnell.
Dean of Students Michael O'Donnell has coached cross country in the Independent School League for a decade, at Groton and St. Mark’s. He frequently trains for races of varying distances. Mr. O’Donnell also coaches crew. A runner and rower in high school, he was the varsity coxswain at Noble and Greenough School before going on to cox at Dartmouth. Before coming to Groton in 2012, he coached at Miami Rowing Club, St. Mark's School, and Fessenden School.
Mary Frances Bannard has been an assistant girls cross country coach at Groton since 2016. Mary Frances started running at the end of high school and hasn't looked back. Since then, she's trained for a variety of different distances, her favorite being the half-marathon. She completed a 200-hour yoga teacher-training program in 2013, and since then has taught yoga intermittently as well (including to Groton runners!). When she's not running the trails around Groton, she teaches Latin, runs a Third Form girls dorm, and spends time with her husband, a fellow Classics teacher, and their children.