“I like that Gloucester course, and I felt good running,” said Marcelo Rocha, who started running competitively when he was a sixth grader. His younger brother Claudio (currently a 6th grader) is also on the Higgins team, and his father coaches the Peabody High runners. His mother, the former Gina Braz, was also an outstanding runner at Peabody and later Boston College.
“I like distance running, both cross country and outdoor track. We have a good team and it’s a lot of fun. The course at the state meet was more difficult for me, and I felt sorer the next day.”
Rocha was third overall at the 4th annual Massachusetts State Middle School Cross Country Invitational at Tewksbury Nov. 3 with a time of 9:47. The Peabody boys finished eighth in the team championship behind D’Amato 36th, Alperen 64th, May 83rd Derek Blanchard 142nd, Anthony Capo 147th, and Anthony Maida 167th.
“Our girls didn’t compete in the team category at states because we had several that couldn’t make it because of other commitments,” said Blake. “I think if they had all been there, we had a very good chance to win it all.
“We did have some outstanding individual efforts. Barrett was the sixth grade state champion, Shashaty was 5th in the eighth grade class, and Rocha 3rd for the boys. All three got nice medals, and we received team plaques for winning the NEC.”
Barrett’s time of 11:12 was just two seconds off the course record, and right behind her was Anna Edson of Briscoe Middle School in Beverly (11:13). For the eighth grade girls Walsh took 2nd (10:55), and Shashaty 5th (11:10). Briscoe’s Curtin was 4th in the seventh grade race (10:50).