Coming Back from the Dust: An Unexpected Return to XC

Last year, the East Greenwich High School Boys Cross Country Team had a season beyond their wildest dreams. Returning senior Jeffrey Pederson came out of the dust after three years as a Junior Varsity runner and won the Rhode Island State Championship, lighting up Ponaganset high school with positive energy. As a team, the boys placed 3rd overall at the state meet, and won their race in Class C at the RI Cross Country Class Championships. This was no small feat, and it secured the boys a place to run at the New England Cross Country Championships in Belfast, Maine. Jeffrey Pederson, along with eleven other senior boys, graduated last year, which meant five of last year’s varsity runners moved on to college.

Summer of 2018 began, and most people had little faith in the boys team, and believed that their success had left with the graduated seniors. Even some of the boys had lost faith in their team, with only a very small amount of boys attending summer practices. However, their coach Peter Dion, had a very different opinion. He took this summer as an opportunity to focus on the kids who were coming to practice, and who still had faith in the East Greenwich Boys Cross Country Team. Coach Dion never gave up, and spent countless hours at the offseason practices, creating workouts, and even biking alongside the faster runners on the team to ensure they were going at the ‘perfect’ pace for success.

One of Coach Dion’s favorite saying is as follows,

“If they are having a really bad day, and you are having a really good day, you might just have a chance.”

What Coach Dion means by this, is do not let rankings control how you run your race. If you have worked hard enough, anything can happen after the gun is fired. This is what the boys and Coach Dion took with them when the season officially started on September 1, 2018 at the Injury Fund Invitational at East Greenwich High School. They stopped caring about the expected results, and left it all on the course.

So far, the boys have had a great season, certainly crushing some expectations from fellow teams and coaches. In their division, the boys have a winning record of 8-2-0 which puts them in third place in their suburban division of RI schools. Just a few weeks ago, East Greenwich held The Third Annual Avenger Invitational, flocking 362 runners to East Greenwich high school. Senior captain Ravi Somvanshi came in 2nd place in the boys race, running a time of (16:47) followed by Jack Lombardi in 6th place (17:07), Codey Therault in 7th place (17:08), senior Kurt Dambek in 15th place (17:45), senior Thomas Purcell in 20th place (17:56), and Josh Aronow in 25th place (17:58). Thomas Purcell and Josh Aronow both broke the 18 minute mark for the first time, after numerous PR’s so far this season.

Since then, the boys have been training for the Class C race at the Class Championship meet which will be run this Saturday, a true test of the seasons work. East Greenwich has notoriously won this race in past years. So…can East Greenwich come out of the dust again and win the Class C Championships? We’ll find out when the results come out:

Follow this link ( after the race on Saturday, October 27, 2018 (rain date October the 28th) to see the results! Also, check out the results from the girls race (Class B), which will be posted on the same page.