By KEN CASTRO
Defending individual champion Brandon Hall led Hopedale High School to its twelfth consecutive Class C team title at the 60th annual Wachusett Invitational at Wachusett Regional High School on Saturday.
With grey skies as a backdrop, Hall, animated from the gun, navigated the course in 16:07 in a solid title defense. Dylan Chartier of Narragansett closed for second (16:36). The Parker HS duo of Quinn Cantrill and Nico Agosta garnered the next two positions as both clubs finished with 36 points; necessitating a tiebreaker--the advantage going to the Blue Raiders.
"Today I wanted to be at my best regardless of the competition," Hall said of his pre-race mindset. "This was a big confidence booster for me heading into the bigger meets."
As for his role in the lengthy winning streak, Hall added, "The guys before me sets a precedent, a legacy if you will, to perform here, and for me to be a part of it is truly special. It's bigger and than anyone on this team; a lot of people have been part of this."
In Class B, Groton Dunstable rose to the head of the bunch, with Quabbin and Westborough in next respectively. Seniors Ben Morin and Brock Dyer notched the top two scoring slots for Quabbin, while Devon Sullivan (4th), sophomore Thomas Orcutt (7th) and junior Eli Kritzer (8th), paced the Crusaders. "We stayed together for most of the race, "said Morin of his day on the circuit. "I was focused on my own race, I knew where the hill was on this course and I decided to try and take them at that point and never looked back after that."
Keene High School (N.H.), commanded the scenario among Class A entrants; finishing with five athletes among the top seven runners through the chute. Sophomore Jake Velazquez and senior Andrew Derry went 1-2 for the Blackbirds.