A few lucky runners and their coach spent five days during Thanksgiving break in Dublin, Ireland, running, touring and visiting with students from St. Columba’s school. “Ireland has a rich tradition of both academics and running,” said Dr. Dennis Cullinane, science teacher and girls’ varsity cross country coach. “We went to do a cultural exchange with students at St Columba’s, but also to explore Ireland and its history.” This was the second cross country trip to Ireland; the first was in 2009.
The cross country team just ended a great season, including seven wins. The culmination of their work came at the New England Championships, where they came in second place. When asked, the girls attributed their success to how close the whole team is.
Asu Bilirgen ’14 was one of the runners on the trip. When asked how the trip was beneficial to the cross country team, she said, “Team bonding. After a long day of exploring, we would get together in one of the hotel rooms and we would just talk and hang out. It was so awesome.” She added, “Cross country is a sport that is dependent on mental strength, so it is important to have a sense of teamwork and school spirit. I know that I would not have been able to get through the season without the support of my teammates.”
Dashiell Schulte ’13 was also on the trip. “I decided to go because I love the cross country team and Dr. Cullinane. It was a good group and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.” She said. “My favorite part was going to meet the boarding school students at St. Columba’s College and comparing what’s normal for us and them and what they were accustomed to. It was a wonky experience.”
“It was a great athletic and social opportunity for the team. We learned a lot about Ireland, but also about each other,” said Wahi Diome ’12, who has been running cross country for three years. “It was a really great way to spend the break.”
“I love meeting the students and faculty there,” said Dr. Cullinane. “The Irish have an incredible ability to make one feel welcome, and so they treated us like family.”