Girls Emass Divisional Meet Recap
East Division I
The number 17:27 should be easy enough to remember- it'll be the Wrentham course record for girls for what I estimate to be many, many years. Catarina Rocha set that mark today, besting a deep field and Newton South freshman Rebecca Grusby (18:18) by a great amount. Rocha runs like a bull going after its red flag, with purpose, focus, and intensity, and never seems to take a field or a race lightly. She has Footlocker champion type makeup, and could very well shock the country in a few weeks. But for her Peabody teammates, favored to win DI East, it was heartbreak instead of elation when the smoke cleared. Lowell and Lexington were simply too good to beat. Bryanna Allison (4th; 18:27) almost came back on Acton-Boxboro's Christine David (18:24) for 3rd, and her teammates seemed to rally behind her. The Richards's, Marissa (12th; 19:18), and freshmen Kaley (13th; 19:19), and Alexandra (14th; 19:20) never left each other's side, leading families around the Commonwealth to begin training siblings at a young age to pack together during day care yard races. Lowell's 83 points outdid upstart Lexington (106), a team that used yet another freshman, Paige Lawler (15th; 19:20) and Grace Vogelzang (18th; 19:38) to bring them to 2nd overall. Peabody got another amazing race from Heather MacLean (5th; 18:53), but ended up 3rd with 117 points, ahead of Newton North (126), who was led by an impressive kick from Sonya Jampel (8th; 19:09). The race for 5th was compelling, because it would decide the wild card spot, and while Newton South had Grusby and Lucrecia Aguilar (19th; 19:39), it would be defeated by Weymouth 146-150 for 5th. Ashley Betts hung on for 10th in 19:12, and teammate Morgan Fitzgibbon (17th; 19:39) passed 6 runners in the final straight to seal the team's trip to All States. It should be noted (by a very biased writer-coach) that Weymouth does not move on if not for the heroic work of another senior captain, Molly Barker, whose 34th place 20:17 result might not inspire awe in the untrained eye. But the untrained eye doesn't know that this young woman suffered a bicycle accident in August that led to a mandibular fracture and a neck subluxation, and a heroic season that ended with her team making it to All States, despite its fearless leader never being able to run more than 2 times per week, due to the pain she experienced. It's these little stories that make this sport what it is, and makes heroes out of those we might not otherwise notice. In what will be a strange race to predict next week, there are teams from this race who should not be taken lightly on that mountain. Peabody is certainly one of those.
East Division II
Dual meet- that's what they were calling the Needham-Lincoln-Sudbury battle leading up to the DII EMass girls race. Sure, Mansfield's Sami Carey (3rd; 19:04) and Chelmsford's Alli Wood (6th; 19:19) broke up total dominance from the two heavyweights, but Henry Phelan's Warriors and Cara O'Connell's Rockets were never threatened by any other team. Not 3rd place Chelmsford (105), not 4th place Franklin (119), not anyone else. When the dust settled, freshmen Margie Cullen (1st; 18:54), Julianna Donovan (5th; 19:13), and Sarah Armstrong (8th; 19:24) and seniors Caroline Turner (18th; 19:56) and Hallie Armstrong (23rd; 20:07) were able only to come close to the school's first XC division title, as L-S was able to eke out a 51-55 win. Because, you see, Cullen gave Needham that early lead, only to see sophomores Sydney Clary (19:00) and Morgane Butler (19:12) take 2nd and 4th and evaporate it. Needham punched back, but L-S just kept countering with Katie Lascaleia (7th; 19:20) and Sam Cook (12th; 19:41). And although Needham's 5th ducked in front of Daniela Hargus, it was only by 3 places, and L-S survived the scare, unlike in 2011 when Masconomet came out of the blue to defeat the Warriors. Needham and LS join some of the DI East teams, Whitman-Hanson, and Amherst as bona fide title contenders in what should be one of the most hotly contested All State meets ever.
East Division III
After watching the jerseys go by in the DIII East race, a novice spectator might assume that Whitman-Hanson was nowhere to be found, and that a repeat performance was not in the cards. Lauren O'Neill of Falmouth (18:42) would win easily, and Belmont freshman Leah Brams (19:02) had gapped Natick's Sarah Lagan (19:17) for 2nd. And when Notre Dame's Taylor Kennedy (19:19) and Beverly's Nicole Demars (19:22) rounded out the top 5, W-H and Coach Erwin had not scored a point. Any fears that spectator might have were assuaged though, once Gianna Cacchiatore (6th; 19:25), Rachel Baker (8th; 19:30), and Caroline Mulrey (10th; 19:34) alternated with the field, and Abby Baker (13th; 19:36) and Kelsey Tierney (14th; 19:38) made it five in the top-15. What looked for a omen to be a vulnerable Whitman-Hanson squad now appears to once again be a favorite to repeat as All State Champions, albeit at a very different altitude. Concord-Carlisle was 2nd with 100 points, doing it without a top-15 finish, but packing five inside 35 seconds and within 8 places. NDA needed Kennedy and Shauna Owen (20th; 19:57) to end up 3rd (121), nosing out Oliver Ames (145), who got an 11-12 tandem in Megan Fitzgerald and Emily Newman (1(;36 apiece). Whitman-Hanson used the same formula to win it all in 2011. It's not about the individual performance but rather a total aggregate team result. Coach Erwin gets it, and so do those girls.
East Division IV
The squeaker that Coach L'Homme would sweat out on the boys side would not be quite the same for the distaff, as the Rocks put all seven in the top-16, all under 20:10 mind you, en route to 40 points and yet another division title. Feehan got a Herculean effort from Abbey McNulty, who ran the day's 2nd fastest time in 17:53, beating Shelby Aarden of Hopkinton (18:37), her teammate Melissa Lodge (19:10; 4th), and Dennis-Yarmouth's Jordan O'Dea (19:01; 3rd). The Feehan train continued after Hingham's Julia Noble outleaned Sandwich's Tori Sivco for 5th (19:11). Brynna Harum continued her outstanding campaign (19:23; 7th) and Kate Svensen (9th; 19:26) and Jackie Cutillo (10th; 19:27) rounded out the top 10. Adrienne Santoro (13th; 19:55) closed out the scoring for Feehan, who had the distinction of having all five scorers be underclassmen, a scary thought for, well, everyone else. That 1-2 punch of Aarden and Lodge was good enough to give Hopkinton 2nd (105), and Noble and Morgan Sullivan put Hingham (118) into 3rd. Marblehead (151) battled Wakefield (155) for that final spot at All States, a total team battle, as neither needed a top-15 finish. Expect Feehan to get more of a scare next week from Tyngsborough, Weston, and a revitalized Hamilton-Wenham (who we remember won the Northeast NXN Regional after failing to win their own state meet in 2011).
East Division V
Bedford sophomore Erin Dietz burst onto the scene three weeks ago at Northfield Mountain, but proved today she was no fluke, winning the DV race in 18:41, and making good on a promise by her legs to be one of the runners to beat at the DII All State race next weekend. What ensued after Dietz's finish was a terrific duel between Hamilton-Wenham and Weston, a repeat of last year's epic matchup, won by the General of H-W. This time, Emily Weigand (2nd; 18:55) and Emily Horgan (6th; 19:15) made it seem like more of the same, until Weston poured in the next four runners, Edom Wessenyeleh (7th; 19:44), Abigail Pohl (9th; 19:55), Zoe Snow (10th; 20:09), and Patty Atkinson (11th; 20:10). Weston secured a 53-74 win, and Coach Monz got what he so coveted a year earlier, that wooden trophy shaped like Massachusetts. Newburyport didn't need a top-15 finish to take 3rd, with 140 points, but Arlington Catholic needed all of Janelle Solviletti's 5th place 19:10 performance to secure the final All State bid. Nicole Roberts of North Reading (3rd; 19:02) and Taylor Worthy of Medfield (4th; 19:08) rounded out the top-5 individuals in one of the day's most spirited races.
East Division VI
In what seemed like a romp for Ursuline, having shown signs of breaking out early in the season, the DVI girls race was much tighter than expected for Tom Shaw's squad. However, they did eke out a 96-100-108 win over Lynnfield and Dover-Sherborn to clinch the school's first ever divisional XC title. Without a top-10 finish, it was a true team affair, one in which Maddie Wolfe (13th; 19:58) and Lindsey Baryluk (14th; 20:00) were able to stay close enough to the front to seal the win. Ipswich's Sarah Keiran (18:41) was able to ride out the individual win over Sarah Sacchoach of Archbishop Williams, enough to give Ipswich the wildcard 5th place berth, one that was needed when Norwell (155) nosed them out for 4th by 6 points. Lynnfield's Lexi Buonfiglio (3rd; 19:20) did her job, keeping her team in the hunt for the team title, as did Dover-Sherborn's Michelle Allesandro (9th; 19:39) and Norwell's Lauren Humphries (7th; 19:38). After West Bridgewater's Alison Wyman (6th; 19:30) finished, Tina Kieran (8th; 19:39) put Ipswich in a short-lived lead, but the depth of Ursuline, Lynnfield, and D-S would soon make it a three-team race, and it would stay that way until the places were counted. Ursuline has a shot at really reloading at the Mountain next week, and should not be counted out for a trophy.
Boys Emass Divisional Meet Recap
East Division I
Phil Maia and Scott Ouelette are truly the yin to each other's yangs. Phil is cool and calm to a fault, while Scotty's personality resembles more closely to that of a Doberman puppy, fiesty and ready to run through a wall to make himself succeed. That's why I took it with a grain of salt each week when Scotty ranked his Lowell squad behind some lesser teams, and I knew he meant it. Well, his fears can be allayed now, as the Raiders torched a deep DI field 47 points on the backs of 4 top-10 finishes. Pat Coppinger (15:49) expectedly led the way in 3rd, never falling prey to the suicidal pace that Methuen's Mike O'Donnell set in winning with the day's fastest time (15:28). After Lexington's Nat Adams (15:44) came through, Coppinger and the Lowell pack meticulously did its job. Mike "Killer" Kalenoski (6th; 16:04), john Abraham (9th; 16:12), and Randy Nong (10th; 16:14) diced the division, and Andrew Whitney (19th; 16:36) made it five in the top-20 for good measure. Newton North (122) was a distant 2nd, although Gabe Montague's race (4th; 15:54) was inspiring, as he outkicked Weymouth's Nolan Parsley (5th; 16:02) for the 2nd time in two weeks. North's Mike Schlicting gets the tough guy award for finishing 12th after losing his shoe with more than half the race to go. Adams's Lexington squad was 3rd (142), ahead of two Catholic Conference rivals, St. John's Prep (157) and wild card BC High (168). Lowell knows it will have its hands full with the likes of St. Johns HS and Westfield next week, but Scotty and Phil and the boys can savor this one for a week.
East Division II
Freshmen win cross country races these days like it's going out of style, however, it usually is the girls side that sees this phenomenon unfold. Don't mention that to Cambridge, whose Sam Stubbs ran what could be the fastest freshman 5K ever in Massachusetts (15:59) to take Adrian Amaya of Needham (16:03) down near the finish line. His teammate, and classmate, Esitya Elemseged (9th; 16:22) joined him in the top-10, and Cambridge looked poised for an upset win over Chelmsford, until the Lions did what Lions do, roared back. Quinn Cooney (3rd; 16:03) and Dan Nolan (5th; 16:10) gave Chelmsford a lead they wouldn't rescind, beating Cambridge R&L 53-87, and staving off another top-10 pairing of Eli Hoenig and Josh Kerber of Lincoln-Sudbury in 6th and 7th, each running 16:21. L-S took 3rd (104), just better than Mansfield's 130 points. Chelmsford is a true contender in 2012, as the Mountain has done strange things to teams, and St. John's, Lowell, and Westfield should all take them seriously. However, it's hard not to wax poetic about a team like Cambridge, one that put two freshmen in the top-10, and could have the makings of a divisional dynasty when all is said and done.
East Division III
They say it's like kissing your sister, but I'll have to take their word for it. Tewksbury 114- Wellesley 114. When Tewksbury coach Peter Molloy told 6th man Mike Famiglietti that he should stay sharp because every place counted, I'm sure he didn't take him quite so literally. But in XC, there are no ties, and the 6th man does the breaking, which Fam did, running 17:55, good enough for 70th, a full 12 places ahead of Wellesley's 6th. Sure, most people would interview Corey Thomas (6th; 16:20) or Brian Amaral (10th; 16:28), but if I had the mic, I'd be asking Fam the questions. And while he'd probably say he knew he could matter, even in 6th, all along, deep down he must have lost it when he found out he did. Arlington's Daniel McDonald-Meteer (15:47) was a resounding winner, ahead of King Philip's Owen Gonser (15:51), and after what seemed like an eternity, Wellesley got Danny Palladino's stick in (16:11) 3rd, giving them an early lead. Ben Griswold and Tom D'Anieri kept Wellesley ahead by going 17-18, but the Raiders countered with Joe and Anthony Darrigo in 19th and 24th. Wellesley needed Chris Ulian and Christian Freniere to run the races of their lives, and they did, but it only got them into a 114-114 and spread, and well, you know the rest. Whitman-Hanson's 9th place finish by Nate Stephansky helped them to 3rd overall (153), just three points ahead of McDonald-Meteer's Arlington squad, which had yet another top-5 place from Antonio Xelhoa (5th 16:17). Something tells me the Raiders of Wellesley will know what jersey colors Tewksbury is next week.
East Division IV
Watching Bishop Feehan Coach Bob L'Homme and Pembroke Coach Greg Zopatti interact, one sees two coaches with a great deal of mutual respect for another, a genuine enjoyment of each other's company, and a great deal in common. But make no mistake about it, when the gun fires twice each fall, they want nothing more than to beat the tar out of each other's teams. Last fall, Pembroke rode an EMass title into All States, only to watch Feehan grab their prize from their grasp in dramatic fashion. The two best teams in DII All States are here in DIV East, and they'll do it all over again in a week. Burlington's Paul Hogan (15:32) opened a number of eyes (and mouths asking "who is this kid again, should I know him?") in blasting the field, but the Titan duo of John Valeri (15:45) and Christian Stafford (15:46) took the next two spots, setting the tone for the day. Pembroke would punch first, and while the Shamrocks would counter those punches, another round of blows were still to come. Evan Grandfield (15:58) and Mike Hanley (16:04) went 4-5, stopping the bleeding temporarily, but Billy Stafford's 7th place finish (16:16) was a tough pill to swallow. Hope sprung for Feehan when Alex Conway crossed in 10th (16:33), but that was short-lived, as Pat Cunningham (16:36) and Lucas Tocher (16:37) ducked in front of Connor Dean (16:39) and Henry Dodge (16:44), sealing a 36-48 win. Three more teams will head out West from DIV, as James Wegman's (9th; 16:33) Sandwich squad, AJ Ernst (12th; 16:37) and Marblehead, and wild card Hopkinton, led by Patrick Levinson (8th; 16:28) ll will have something to prove. Something to consider for next week- Pembroke's top five featured four juniors, meaning that some of the pressure to win will be alleviated by the knowledge that they will be back next year to make another title run. However, Feehan has 6 seniors racing, so the One Last Race motivation will surely be there. All eyes will be on Navy and Green jerseys next weekend when DII boys see a redux of this race.
East Division V
The battle between Swampscott's Peter Hale (15:46), Weston's Matt Herzig (15:55), and Old Rochester's Mike Wyman (15:56) was as entertaining as any boys' race, but the team title had nothing to do with what happened up top. Newburyport's 4 top-20 finishes gave them 81 points, better than Coyle & Cassidy (112), Weston (144), and Bedford (172), the four All State qualifiers. Nick Carleo (4th; 16:05) might have fallen off the lead pack, but he was plenty good enough to lead the Clippers to an impressive win, something they've grown accustomed to in recent years. The pack of Joe Santo (8th; 16:37), Joe Molvar (13th; 16:49), and Chris Orlando (16th; 16:54) held together and provided a dominant win for the division's most dominant program. Hale's teammate Matt Mahoney (5th; 16:22) gave Swampscott a nice 1-2 punch, but it wasn't enough to lead the Hawks on to next week. C&C's Paul Lapre (12th; 16:47) led a nice 33 second spread for his squad, and Bedford got a nice race from Sam Bradford (11th; 16:46). Look for Newburyport to play a sleeper role, hiding in the weeds next week at the Mountain, ready to pounce if either Bishop Feehan or Pembroke are to fall.
East Division VI
The recipe to win at most divisional meets is to have one or two studs up front, and then make sure your pack holds together in the back. Few teams take a total team approach and pack in the way Seekonk did in winning the DVI EMass race in dominant fashion, 66 to Dover-Sherborn's 133. Once Norwell's Owen Wiggins had made the course his own personal assistant in 16:26, besting league-mate and East Bridgewater's Tanner Picklus (16:52) and Norfolk Aggie's Jake McVarish (17:00) for their title DVI Champ, the team race was on, and it was over quickly. Nick Accardi (7th; 17:12) led the way, but it was the packing that was most impressive, as 12-13-14 went to sophomores Alex Lanzi, Tim Salit, and Matt Salit, all between 17:28 and 17:29. Triplet Brian Salit (20th; 17:50) rounded out the top-5 for Frank Mooney's squad, who hoisted what seemed like their bazzilionth trophy in a storied history. D-S was led to 2nd place by Trevor Chistolini (5th; 17:07) and Ben Brea (19th; 17:49). Ipswich needed all of Mike Riddle's 6th place finish (17:11), as they scored 187 points, beating out a Manchester-Essex team for 3rd that qualified for All States despite not having a top-20 finisher, quite a feat.
Complete Race Video's ---All Race Video's will be posted in the next few days