The Player of the Week series features an elite athlete who also takes into consideration the value of teamwork. The next Player of the Week Accents has selected is sophomore Maddie Novelli for the sport of cross country. Cross country is a sport where players run different courses as a team or individually. In 2018, IHA Cross Country had an incredible season and even had the privilege of traveling to Orlando for the 22nd annual Disney Cross Country Classic. The team took home a well-earned victory, and Maddie Novelli was a central reason why this team had such a successful season.
Maddie only found her cross country passion in the fall of her freshman year. Before being a running star, she was a soccer player who only ran track in the spring. Her older sister had a similar backstory and made the transition from soccer to cross country in her freshman year. Maddie decided to follow in her older sister’s footsteps and see if this sport was for her. Maddie had a natural talent for cross country hence her being a varsity star as a freshman.
Maddie was asked what varsity cross country looked like in the eyes of a freshman runner. “Being a freshman on varsity was intimidating but also so much fun. I learned a lot from the older girls, and it was crazy how almost half the varsity team was freshmen. From that experience, I was able to get closer with not only the runners my age, but my older teammates too.”
Maddie has displayed her exceptional athletic abilities at races by receiving incredibly fast times at competitions. In 2018, Maddie had a mile time of five minutes and 27 seconds. Her 2-mile time was a speedy 12 minutes and 15 seconds. Lastly, Maddie has competed in several 5k competitions with her team, and this is a 3.1-mile course. Maddie had an astounding time of 19 minutes and 33 seconds!
Sports bring girls together who share a similar passion for the sport they love. Along the journey, cherishable memories are made that will last a lifetime. Maddie was also asked what her favorite memory from IHA Cross Country was. “My favorite memory is beating the whole team of AHA for the first time in two years. That day almost everyone on the team got a new personal record, and we all grew closer. Everyone was on the course cheering for the freshman, junior varsity, and varsity teams. Amazingly, we finished all seven of our varsity runners before AHA’s fifth. The Bergen Record called it a big upset, and everyone in the county was shocked.” Maddie also exclaimed that she loves getting pumped up before races by blasting playlists to act as motivation for her team.
Maddie has had an extraordinary two seasons as an underclassman. She has demonstrated that despite your age, you can make a substantial impact on a sports team. We wish Maddie all the luck in the rest of her cross country career. Go Blue Eagles!
By: Brooke Marotti’21, Sports Editor