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Hopedale - Local Town Pages

Sejal Abraham Hoping Cross Country Season Translates to Winter Track

By Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
Five years ago, when she was entering the seventh grade at Hopedale Junior Senior High School, Sejal Abraham had a lot of friends who were going to try out for the cross-country team, so she decided to tag along with them. After falling in love with the sport following that tryout the now junior is running three seasons for the Blue Raiders.
“I found that cross country had a fun dynamic to it, and I really enjoyed going to practice being with my friends. Running in general clears my mind,” she said. “When I joined in middle school and even in the beginning of my high school career, I honestly was not that good, but with my efforts over the years I’ve been getting better by the year.”
In fact, according to Assistant Coach Sarah Rafferty, Abraham had a really good cross-country season this past fall and she is hoping that it translates into the winter track season. 
“Obviously, we had the ups and downs of a season, but by putting in the time and effort in my running and workouts I’ve gotten better,” Abraham said. “Last year I was the seventh runner on the cross-country team, this year I’ve moved up to fourth and I’m hoping my improvement carries over to the track season.”
Abraham believes that her focusing on her summer running helped her cross-country season. Entering the winter track season Abraham sees herself focusing on middle distance running participating in the likes of the 600- and 1000-meter races. She will also be a co-captain this season being one of the older girls on the squad where she and the other captains took it upon themselves to organize the captain practices and runs. Like her summer training she is looking to improvement this winter.
“Sejal has been running cross country and track and field all three seasons since the seventh grade and has improved over the years,” Hopedale Coach Tim Maguire said. “She made a big jump from last year to this year in both her racing performances and as a team leader. With a very young group of girls she will definitely be a key factor in their development.”
Although she found herself performing on a higher level during the cross-country season, she is much more comfortable with track and hopefully she can take her running to the next level this season as well.
“Track is a nice change of pace from cross-country for me. While you’re running cross-country on the terrain, track is a totally different game inside and on a much shorter distance,” Abraham said. “I like the way the mile is broken up (4 laps) instead of running a straight 5K. Inside you can watch the clock and work on your goal time in your head.”
Abraham originally started by running the 200 and 400 during the spring season, but now she prefers the mid-distances up to the mile. Her goal is to improve her speed while building up her stamina and getting in better shape as she believes they’ll still have to wear masks while running indoors this upcoming season.
“Last year due to Covid we had to start wearing masks. The masks made it really tough and obviously compromises your breathing; it’s uncomfortable and annoying,” she said. “We’ll probably still have to wear them this year, but it should be a little better as we’ll be somewhat use to them. It will be interesting to see how things go; hopefully, they don’t interfere as much and we’re running better than a year ago.”
 Abraham and her track teammates are hoping to get back to running like the Blue Raiders of the past, near the top finishers of each event.