Posted Oct. 25, 2013
WELLESLEY

Wicked Local Staff Photo by Erin Prawoko

Thomas D’Anieri has only been on the Wellesley High boys varsity cross country team for a little over a year.

But the sophomore didn’t waste any time proving how valuable he can be.

D’Anieri, who first started running cross country in eighth grade, has rapidly risen through the ranks to become one of the Raiders’ best runners, consistently putting up some of the best times on the team.

“Thomas is a tenacious competitor,” said Wellesley cross country coach Walter Johnson. “That tenacity sometimes has to be held in check during training to avoid over-working, though I think this year he is a much smarter athlete than he was as a freshman having developed a better sense of when to back off a bit in order to stay healthy. I believe his presence pushes his teammates in practice and that has been reflected in overall performances this year.”

This season, D’Anieri has helped lead the Raiders to a 6-2 record and the Bay State Conference Herget Division title. His best time came at the Frank Kelly Bay State Invitation Cross Country Meet in Wrentham – a 5k race – where he was the first Wellesley runner to cross the finish line and fifth overall with a time of 16:04.8. He placed first in Wellesley’s tri-meets with Walpole/Dedham, and Braintree/Natick.
“I was most satisfied with the Frank Kelley meet due to the time, but am happy in how I have placed in the dual meets,” said D’Anieri. “Our team has struggled with sickness [and] injuries that were no help in our close loss to Brookline, but we have had solid wins over teams like Dedham and hopefully we’ll all be ready to run well at the bigger meets down the road.”

Before joining the cross country team last fall, D’Anieri spent years running track. He decided to pick up cross country in his final year of middle school, electing to focus on distance running after seeing how much he enjoyed it, and his love for the sport has only grown since.

“My two favorite things about cross country have to be the team and the uncertainty,” D’Anieri said. “I really enjoy the team aspect of cross country where every member is equally important to being successful, and I think that makes everyone run a little bit harder…In track, you can put everyone’s times together and know who will win a meet or an individual event, but in cross country, either team can win because there are so many factors that affect a race that you don’t get in track.”

Unlike track, D’Anieri has discovered the need for a more focused approach in every cross country race.

“A successful cross country runner has to stay motivated and be able to push themselves every race,” said D’Anieri. “This is another example of something different from track. You have to work hard the [entirety] of every race to do well whereas in track you can run on raw talent and win without it ever getting as grueling as a cross country race.”

This was reposted with the permission of The Wellesley Townsman.