, Salem, MA


November 19, 2012

Rocha, Tanners win state titles

Peabody’s Catarina Rocha had just crossed the Northfield Mountain finish line in 18:06.12 to capture her second consecutive Division 1 Girls All-State individual championship when she was approached by a group of reporters.

Rocha fielded the questions about her repeat and what it felt like to run the second fastest girls’ time in course history, but she wasn’t completely focused.

“The reporters started talking and I was trying to look out onto the course and see where my teammates were,” Rocha said.

Rocha was excited about her victory, but she had another goal in mind — a team title.

Heather MacLean and Lauren Barrett added top-20 finishes and Sam Allen and Antonia Pagliuca also ran well to help the Tanners capture their first team title since 1978.

Peabody was first with 108 points, followed by Lincoln-Sudbury (117), Needham (118), Whitman-Hanson (124), and Amherst-Pelham (135).

MacLean was 16th in 19:47.33 and Barrett was 17th in 19:51.23. Allen earned key points by placing 49th in 20:24.50, with Pagliuca finishing 96th in 21:08.97.

A third-place finish at states last week only made the victory sweeter for Peabody.

“Everyone was so excited. No one really thought Peabody would be a factor after finishing third in the state meet,” said Rocha, whose time was the second fastest at the course behind the 17:54 Shalane Flanagan ran in 1999. “Not everyone had a great race last week and it was a good feeling to come back and come in first at all-states.”

Last week’s performance may have served as a little motivation for the Tanners.

“They knew they were a better team than last week,” Peabody coach Joe Rocha said. “I told them to go in relaxed and run for themselves, their teammates, and to run for Peabody. They understood what I said and I didn’t have to give too much instruction after that.”

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