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The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Bergeron finishes first at the MIAA State Championship for the second year in a row

Bergeron+celebrates+only+a+few+strides+away+from+crossing+the+finish+line+at+the+MIAA+State+Championship.
Provided by Paul Bergeron
Bergeron celebrates only a few strides away from crossing the finish line at the MIAA State Championship.

Senior Paul Bergeron won first place at the Massachusetts MIAA Cross Country State Championship race on Saturday, Nov. 18 at Willard Park in Devens, Massachusetts, making him state champion for the second year in a row. He finished with a time of 15:06.

Two out of the top three finishers at the meet were WA runners. Bergeron, along with junior Jack Graffeo, who placed third with a time of 15:31, led WA to a fifth place finish overall.

The meet consisted of 32 different schools with seven runners per team. Out of these 224 athletes, Bergeron placed first in front of them all. This all-state meet is competitive and holds high stakes, so his success was a big deal for the team. 

“It’s a big race but it is also challenging for most teams to make the all-state meet, so you’re really racing the best of the best,” Bergeron said. 

Bergeron felt some pressure going into the meet due to high expectations from himself and the team, as he won the state championship in 2022, as well. A small injury early on in the season was a minor setback for Bergeron, but he wanted to finish his final WA Cross Country season on a good note and ultimately achieved his goals.

“I definitely felt a little pressure trying to repeat as state champion, especially given a little injury I sustained in late September,” Bergeron said. “But I trusted my training and was confident I could get the job done.”

His confidence was key as he ran through the hilly 5k [3.1 miles] course, crossing the finish line with a time of 15:06. The location of the state championship was the same as last fall, however, the course was changed from the previous year, becoming significantly more difficult. 

“I believe my time was a few seconds slower [from last year],” Bergeron said. “However, due to the more challenging nature of the course this year, I would say it was a more impressive effort.” 

Coming in third place overall a few seconds behind Bergeron was Graffeo. Both Bergeron and Graffeo have been training together all season and were proud of themselves for finishing strong at states. 

“It was special to see two runners from the same school be able to finish so well at states,” Bergeron said. “We train together every day and it was awesome to see his hard work pay off in that way.” 

Two runners placing in the top three was a huge accomplishment for WA. WA Boys’ Cross Country coach Scott Hafferkamp is proud of his team’s achievements this season, and has high hopes for Graffeo next year.

“Jack was 25 seconds behind Paul,” Hafferkamp said. “He’ll be the top returning runner next season, so he should have a great shot at an individual title.”

Bergeron’s biggest goal for the remainder of the season is to perform well in the upcoming Footlocker National Championship meet in San Diego, California on Dec. 9. With such a successful senior season, Bergeron expresses thanks to his coaches, other runners he got to meet, and WA as a whole for cheering him on throughout his high school journey.

“I am grateful for all the people I got to meet and the high-level meets I got to compete in,” Bergeron said. “It’s been awesome representing my hometown on a big stage.” 

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Victoria Farley, Sports Editor
Hi! My name is Victoria Farley and I am a sophomore here at Westford Academy. This is my second year as a Ghostwriter and I am looking forward to this year as one of the Sports Editors. I enjoy writing and communicating with others, which is why being a Ghostwriter is perfect for me. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, and playing basketball.

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