• January 9There is still time to join The Gator for the spring semester!
The student news site of Brimmer and May School | Chestnut Hill, MA

The Gator

The student news site of Brimmer and May School | Chestnut Hill, MA

The Gator

The student news site of Brimmer and May School | Chestnut Hill, MA

The Gator

Boys’ XC Shines at NEPSTA

The varsity team finished 5th overall, besting last year’s 7th-place finish.
David Barron
Coach Barker-Hook talks strategy with his runners.

The Boys’ Cross Country team missed clinching their fourth consecutive Massachusetts Bay Independent League (MBIL) Championship title, finishing second to their league-rival Gann Academy. However, the Gators staged an extraordinary comeback, delivering a historic performance at the New England Preparatory School Track Association (NEPSTA) meet on Saturday, Nov. 11.

In the varsity race, the team finished fifth overall—besting last year’s overall 7th-place finish—defeating larger schools like Beaver Country Day School, St. Lukes School, and Lexington Christian Academy.

Rimon Zhao ’27 crossed the finish line first for the Gators, coming in at 20:13, followed by Huck Jennings ’25 (20:22), Isaac Morris ’26 (20:28), Co-Captain Sam Gavin ’25 (20:28), Conno Wagner ’25 (21:03), Co-Captain Brooks Neufeld ’26 (21:45), and Patrick Whalen ’25 (22:23).

“I had a great first season with the team, and I learned a lot under Coach Barker-Hook’s training program,” Zhao said. “I was just happy to put in a good effort for the final races of the season.”

The achievement comes after the team lost three of its top four runners to graduation last spring, including Brian Gamble, Edan Zinn, and Xoren Livingston.

“That is always going to be a difficult obstacle to overcome,” Head Coach Ted Barker-Hook said.  “But the work the runners put in—some beginning as early as spring break, eight months ago, allowed us to rebuild our team impressively, as evidenced by the fact that only three of our top-seven this season were varsity runners last season.”

The team came in uncharacteristically out of shape, Gavin said, taking it too easy during summer training.

“But we did more work than we have in prior seasons to set ourselves up for our best possible outcome at MBIL,” Gavin said. “At NEPSTA, we did not expect to place top-five, and we were all very excited to finish the season in such a strong way.”

The team also had to rebuild its leadership, according to Barker-Hook.

“Sam and Brooks did so beyond what I could have hoped for,” Barker-Hook said.  “Starting in early September, they helped refocus our culture, and the rest of the runners followed their lead.  The result—for the first time in a very long time, it was clear to the coaches that every single member of the team was determined to get stronger, improve their times, and lift their part of the load to make our season successful.”

Equally historic, the junior varsity team won its race, triumphing by 19 points over Berwick Academy, followed by Wooster Academy, Marianopolis Preparatory School, and Hamden Hall Country Day School.

The junior varsity team also swept the individuals podium, with Ben Dykeman winning the race in 21:44, followed by a second-place finish by Sebanstain Velastegui (22:05), and Noah Panto securing the third-place position (22:05).

“I was drafting somebody in front of me, and I passed him just over halfway through,” Dykeman said. “After I passed him, I sped up a bit, but then I settled into normal race pace. It was hard to believe that I had won, but the hard workd paid off.”

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
  • The team poses after earning its second-place spot.

  • Co-Captain Sam Gavin ’25 and Huck Jennings ’25 lead a pack of runners at the MBIL Championship.

  • Patrick Whalen ’25 puts in his final kick before reach the finish at the MBIL Championship.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right


As a new student here, Patrick Whalen ’25 enjoyed meeting new people.

“I was able to talk to and get to know other students, but also teachers,” Whalen said. “The training wasn’t easy. It’s supposed to be hard. I definitely plan on coming back next year.”

For next season, Barker-Hook aims to guide his team to reclaim the MBIL trophy, anticipating a strong challenge from the formidable Gann team in a growing and increasingly competitive league.

“Then, especially given that we are not losing any athletes to graduation, let’s go for top-three at the NEPSTA championships and bring home some new hardware for the trophy case,” Barker-Hook said.

Assistant Cross Country Coach David Cutler echoed Barker-Hook’s sentiments.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with Coach Barker-Hook for several seasons, and his commitment always stands out,” Cutler said. “His knowledge of training and achieving success in running is unparalleled in my two decades in this sport. He possesses a unique formula for success. Even in an off year, if the team secures a second-place finish in the league; it speaks volumes not only about the runners but also about the head coach and the strength of his program.”

Editors’ note: David Cutler also serves as adviser to The Gator.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Nolan Suraci, Multimedia Journalist
Nolan is passionate about GNN and multi-media journalism, a field he explored through Digital Cinema and Photography electives. Outside school, he enjoys soccer, lacrosse, skiing, and the Global Studies Diploma Program. A highlight of his career is his interview with author Devorah Heitner, discussing technology and teenagers.
We cover community announcements.

Comments (0)

The Gator does not accept anonymous comments to any of its social media feeds or posts.
All The Gator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *