For two years Belmont High School harriers were nomads, left to wander the courses of the Middlesex League as permanent guests to home squads as part of the Marauders' old course became home to the temporary modular classrooms that housed Wellington Elementary School as it's building was being constructed.
So it was a special day Thursday, Sept. 13, as Belmont's cross country teams toed the start line against rival Watertown High to race on home ground over a newly-designed course.
The teams not only introduced a new course, it was the coming out party for a runner that will begin to turn heads in a very competitive league and in the state.
It's already time to call Leah Brams the flying freshman as the 9th grader's first High School race was a memorial one as she blazed over the longish scholastic distance – a guesstimate of about 3 miles, give or take a twist and turn – in 20:58, winning by nearly two minutes over her teammate Julia Lenef.
Brams may appear waif-like but she powered her way through the flat course, sprinting down the final 200 meters with a lot in reserve. She led Belmont to a maximum 15 points as Belmont runners took the first 12 spots to easily win the meet, 15-50.
Yet the result was not unexpected as Brams was one of the best Middle School runners last year when she was at Chenery Middle School.
But if you're thinking about waiting to see the talented frosh race later in the school year, don't. Brams said cross country will be the only time she'll be wearing track shoes this year: she'll trade in her trainers for skis as she takes on cross country skiing and tries out for lacrosse in the spring.
The Boys race was a competitive battle as Watertown placed their top three in the first four places as Red Raiders Co-Capt. Alex Holland took the top spot in a quick 17:49, outpacing Marauder Lewis Slilletto by five seconds.
But it was Belmont's depth that won the day and the meet, 28-31, as Belmont runners took the eight positions from 5th to 12th, led by Tim Sciracusa in 19:09 in 5th.