September 22, 2014
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Girls' Cross Country Athlete of the Year
Melanie Brunnelle
Pilgrim

Melanie Brunelle never thought running would be her thing, but with her freshman year at Pilgrim in the books, it has already turned into a big thing.

Brunelle came out for the cross country team and immediately became the top runner in the city and won of the top freshman runners in the state. She won the city meet and was Warwick’s top finisher at states.

“I didn't expect it because I had never run before,” Brunelle said. “I didn't expect to be so good. When I won the city meet, it was a big surprise. I was excited.”

When she first started training with the cross country team, she started to get an idea of what might be in store. Every time they went out for a run, Brunelle had no trouble sticking with the team’s best runners.

“As soon as I started, the top girl on the team, I would stay up with her for all our practices and our long runs,” Brunelle said.

Sure enough, that was a pretty good indicator. In the freshman race at the preseason Injury Fund event, Brunelle finished seventh.

And she just kept running.

Brunelle was a standout in dual meets and then surged to a first-place finish at the city championship. At freshman states, she finished ninth overall, and at varsity states, she finished 35th, ninth among freshmen.

“Being a freshman, just going to states was amazing,” she said.

And it was only the beginning. Brunelle competed in indoor and outdoor track and was a standout in several events. In the fall, she’ll be back on the cross country course, looking for even more success, even if she never imagined it this time last year.

“I definitely want to get better and maybe even make it to New Englands,” she said. “That would be a great accomplishment.”


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