Peabody’s Catarina Rocha ran a blistering pace to finish the 5K course at Wrentham in 17:27 on Saturday to earn her third straight Eastern Mass. Division 1 girls cross country title.
Rocha was one of only two girls to finish under 18:00 across all six divisions, and led the Tanners to a third place finish as a team.
“She had the fastest time the entire afternoon by a female runner by 35 seconds and set a course record. She ran 17:40 a couple weeks ago there,” Peabody coach Joe Rocha said. “She ran a very controlled race from the beginning, and she’s peaking at the right time.”
Senior Heather MacLean, out for cross country for the first time this year, finished fifth in Divison 1 with a time of 18:53. Lauren Barrett was 25th in 19:59 and Antonia Pagliuca finished in 20:11 followed by Sydney May in 21:17 to round out Peabody’s scorers. The Tanners (117) were just behind D1 champion Lowell (83) and Lexington (106), and advance to D1 all-states as a team.
Ipswich senior Sarah Keiran also repeated as EMass champion, winning the Division 6 race for the third straight year with a time of 18:41. Sister Tina Keiran was also in the top ten, finishing seventh in 19:39. The Tigers were fifth as a team and advance to D2 all-states as a wild card.
“When they finally posted the results I was so happy because the girls have worked so hard all season to make it to States and to have it pay off, especially like this, is amazing,” said Ipswich coach Steve Bartholomew.
It was also a memorable day for Swamspcott’s Peter Hale, who became the first Big Blue runner to win an EMass title since 1991 with a victory in the Division 5 race. Hale fnished in 15:46, tied for the fifth best time of the day across all divisions.