By Matt Williams Staff writer
The Salem News
---- — 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.
“Peter’s race was a great capstone for his last divisional championship. His race plan was simple: he had to be in it to win it, and he was in the race the whole time,” said Swamspcott coach Jeff Bartlett. “We’ve talked all year about not waiting too long to make a move, and he kicked from about 600 meters out which worked out perfectly.”
The Big Blue’s Matt Mahoney was fifth in 16:22 and Swampscott was 7th as a team. Hamilton-Wenham’s Matt Gillis was sixth overall in 16:26 and the Generals depth of Michael Allara (17:21, 29th) and Jack Blatchford (43rd, 17:39) helped them to a fifth place finish as a team.
Hamilton-Wenham’s girls has all five scorers place in the top-25, but finished second in Division 5 to Weston. Emily Weigand cleared the course in 18:56 to finish second, Emily Horgan (19:18) was sixth, Sarah Duffy 20th (20:26), Meg Blatchford 22nd (20:29) and Meghan Stone 24th (20:32).
“There’s nothing wrong with runner-up,” said veteran coach Steve Sawyer, whose Generals are through to D2 all-stats as usual. “Our main goal was to make it to all-states and we’ll be ready fro that next week. Two great performances by Weigand and Horgan.”
Beverly’s Nicole Demars had an excellent finish, running 19:23 to place fifth in Division 3. The Panthers were also fifth as a team with Madison Shropshire placing 23rd in 20:08 just ahead of Julianna wesley (24th, 20:14).
Alex Greco also had a solid finish for the Panther boys, clocking in fourth in D3 with a time of 16:15.
The St. John’s Prep boys were fourth as a team in Division 1. Tim Loehner turned in a 16:15 to finish 11th in the top field while Liam Dow was 15th in 16:31. Tom O’Shea (17:09), Colin Monahan (17:09) and Nick Fecteau (17:10) were also in the top 51 for the Prep.
The top local finisher in Division 1 was Peabody’s Drew Fossa, who was 7th in 16:07. The Tanners’ Ben Braz also enjoyed a solid race with his 16:37 good for 21st.
Marblehead finished fourth as a team in Division 4, powered by Janaya Randall (17th overall, 20:18) and Paige Ferrucci (24th, 20:32). Danvers’ Catalina Dominick was the top local finished in D4, running 19:30 to finish 11th.
The Magician boys were also fourth as a team with A.J. Ernst’s 12th place effort of 16:37 leading the way. Chris Rodts was 19th in 16:54 and Nate Fowler (17:29) and Adam Linsky (17:38) also ran well. The Danvers boys’ top finished in D4 was James Bailey in 17:38.
In boys Division 2, Masconomet was fifth with Harry Kent’s 11th place time of 16:32 leading the way. Liam Davis (17:11), Marco Caserta (17:16), Jay Polakiewicz (17:17) and Danny Cosgrove (17:29) were all in the top 50 for the Chieftains.
Masconomet’s Meghan Collins earned a top-10 in D2, running 19:31 to finished ninth. Kim Cosgrove ran 20:17 for the Chieftains, who were sixth.
Swampscott’s Isabella Kornitsky finished 13th in the D5 race in 20:13. Arianna Maida was 12th in D6 for Bishop Fenwick in 19:51.
Ipswich’s boys were third in Division 6, with Michael Riddle finishing sixth overall in 1711. Zach Angell (18:02) and Michael Connor (18:26) also contributed for the Tigers. Also in boys Division 6 action, Bishop Fenwick’s Bryan Mendes was 11th in 17:24.