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Girls’ Cross Country Gets a Head Start

This Thanksgiving, members of the girls’ cross country team will have the opportunity to visit what cross country Coach Dennis Cullinane calls “The Deerfield of Dublin,” St. Columba College, a boarding and day school in Dublin, Ireland. Ireland has shown a strong affinity for academics and running, which inspired Dr. Cullinane to pursue the idea of the trip. At first, he attempted to contact some of Deerfield’s Round Square peer schools in England, but none of them showed much interest, leading him to search for schools in Ireland. There, he received an enthusiastic response from St. Columba’s.

The incentives behind the trip are not only to improve the performance of the team, but also to offer a once in a lifetime opportunity, training against the breath-taking backdrop of the hills and mountains of Dublin. Dr. Cullinane also looks to foster a relationship with the girls at St. Columba’s, hoping the trip may develop into an exchange program.

The girls will stay at a hostel about 20 minutes away from the college, and St. Columba’s will arrange for a few of the girls from the school to stay with the Deerfield team.

Each year, Ivy League colleges hold international races against Oxford University and Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, which also prompted Dr. Cullinane to look into a trip of this nature.

Dr. Cullinane and his family travelled to Ireland in August to visit St. Columba’s, where they were blown away by the level of hospitality they were shown by both the students and the faculty. While there, a member of the St. Columba faculty hosted them. “They treated us like family,” said Dr. Cullinane.

The girls’ cross country team has some promising new talent in their midst this season. Among them, new junior Ariel Beauregard-Breton ’11, who hails from a French school in Montreal, qualified for the Canada Games this summer and is nationally ranked in Canada for both the 3000 meter and the 2000 meter steeple-chase.

“She’s got a real shot at winning the New-England’s,” said Dr. Cullinane about the new star.

Other newcomers to watch include new sophomore Shelbi Kilcollins from Smith Falls, Ontario and freshman Dashiell Schulte from New York, New York, whose sister Revell Schulte is a senior on the team.

The girls’ cross country team has much to look forward to in the coming months with the prospect of a stellar season of running ahead. To top it all off, the opportunity to travel to Ireland and be a part of such a unique experience sounds too good to pass up.