Cross Country - Girls 1st Team
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Cross Country - Girls 1st Team
The girls cross-country program — both 1st and 2nd teams — is conducted as one team. We gladly accept all types of runners and make no cuts based on performance or running ability. Training is both team-centered and individualized; each athlete receives their own training plan throughout the season that is conducive to their growth and success on the team. Practices are designed so that each runner is challenged to the best of their ability and all athletes are working together and supporting each other. All runners participate in the races each week on either the 1st or 2nd team.
Our goal is to welcome every student interested in running and develop them throughout their years here at Brooks. It is indeed quite common that a student with little or no running experience in their first year will — through hard work and dedication — end up on the 1st team in their sixth form year. Even if running is not your main sport of interest, it is an excellent way to cross-train for most other sports. Many of our top runners play varsity sports during other seasons, such as crew or squash.
Each May, the returning runners are given a summer plan for workouts. It is expected that runners will arrive in the fall prepared to pursue a vigorous running and practice schedule. While we occasionally run off-campus, most workouts are conducted on campus, as the Brooks cross country course is regarded as one of the best-marked, prettiest and more challenging of the private school courses in New England. The course passes over grass fields, wood-chipped trails in the woods along the lake shore and even a short bit on the paved school driveway. It also has three major hills that provide a challenge to even the best runners.
Spectators also enjoy the course because the start and finish are both in a wide-open field and the first-mile mark is at the same spot as the start of the race. Because the Brooks course is so popular, it has been the site of the New England Championship Race five times in the past 16 years. Brooks also hosted the 2007 and 2011 Independent School League Championship races.
Joanna McDonough grew up in Peabody, Mass., and attended Pingree School before graduating from Mount Holyoke College. At Mount Holyoke, she majored in history and minored in political science. She was also a four-year member and captain of the basketball team, receiving recognition as a Seven Sisters Scholar Athlete and a NEWMAC All-Academic Scholar Athlete. McDonough continued her education at Brown University, where she received an M.A.T. degree in history/social studies education. She most recently earned her Doctor in Education degree from Northeastern University. Dr. McDonough's research and dissertation focused on equity and justice in classroom practices and academic programming in co-educational independent schools. Her previous position was at Miss Porter’s School, where she served as history department chair, developed the school's women's studies curriculum, and led the cross-country and track-and-field teams as the head coach. At Brooks, Dr. McDonough serves as dean of curriculum and instruction, teaches history and Self in Community, is the program director of cross country and serves on the Diversity Leadership Council.
Melissa Donais, RN, FNP-BC, joined Brooks in the fall of 2021 as the Director of Health and Wellness. She is also an assistant coach for the Brooks boys and girls cross country teams. She is a 2002 graduate of Phillips Academy Andover and 2006 graduate with distinction from Yale University, where she was awarded the Lily Rosen Prize in Women's Health for her senior thesis on the Female Athlete Triad, now known as RED-S syndrome. In 2010, Donais obtained her master's degree in nursing at Boston College. For eleven years, she worked as a primary care family nurse practitioner at North Reading Medical Associates, affiliated with Winchester Hospital. An accomplished runner, she competed in cross country and track in high school and college, and continues to enjoy competing in local and regional events. Donais lives in North Andover, Mass., with her husband Nate, two young children Brennan and Audrey, and her brittany spaniel Uta.
Michele Musto is the chair of the history department. She has significant boarding school experience, having lived and worked at Miss Porter's School in Connecticut and the Millbrook School in New York in a variety of teaching, residential and coaching roles. Most recently, she was at the Tilton School, where she taught history across a range of courses and grade levels and served as a dorm parent in a junior girls dorm. Musto has been recognized for her award-winning work integrating technology into her history classroom. Prior to teaching, she was a museum curator and she has worked at a number of museums, including one dedicated to the history of timekeeping. While working in museums, she wrote several award-winning exhibitions and catalogs on topics ranging from 20th century fashion to the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut. Musto lives at Middlesex School with her husband Pascale and two daughters, Isabella and Giada.
Susannah (Donoho) Voigt came to Brooks in 2019, after a year working at Brewster Academy as an English teacher and the director of rowing. She got her start in teaching as an upper school Teaching Apprentice at Berwick Academy, during which time she received her Masters of Education at Lesley University. Voigt attended Colby College, majoring in Sociology with a minor in Creative Writing. At Colby, she served as a coxswain on the women's and men's crew teams. She earned All-American honors in her senior year. A New Jersey and Delaware native, Voigt attended boarding school herself, at St. Andrew's School, and now can't imagine herself living anywhere but a boarding school. In her free time she likes to read, play guitar and spend time on the water.