The Salem News
---- — There was a pretty close finish for the individual state title in the girls Division 2 race at the All-State Cross Country Championships Saturday at Gardner.
For the team title, however, there was hardly any doubt.
Hamilton-Wenham ran away with their first state championship since 2008, placing four runners in the top-30 of a field of 180 qualifiers. The Generals had 56 team points to outpace Manchester Essex’s 115.
“Basically, it was a runaway for my girls,” Hamilton-Wenham coach Steve Sawyer said. “On paper it was really between us and Tyngsboro. I think they went out too fast, we caught them and ended very strong. It was an amazing, amazing performance by our girls.”
Danvers junior Catalina Dominick had a fierce kick, but was edged by Manchester’s Olivia Lantz at the finish line of the D2 girls race. Dominick was the runner-up in 16:58 on the 5K course.
For Sawyer’s Generals, sophomore Jeanine Zheng was seventh overall in 17:18. Freshman Olivia Horgan was 16th in 18:00 followed by senior Emily Horgan (27th, 18:15) and freshman Amanda Burnett (30th, 18:25). Sophomore Megan Stone ran 18:33 to wrap it up for the Generals. Hamilton-Wenham, which has won eight of the last nine divisional titles, was back in the winner’s circle at All-States for the fourth time, joining 2008, 2000 and 1999.
“After 2008, we were runner-ups in ‘09, ‘10, and ‘11. We’ve been at the top for several years, anyway. To go all out like this on a very difficult course, the girls were simply outstanding and they need to be congratulated,” said Sawyer. “You have to be physically ready and emotionally strong. We had no problems with the course and did very well for a team this young.”
Marblehead had a pair of medalists (the top 15 in each division) as senior Lily Roberts was 10th in 17:51 and senior Janaya Randall was 11th in 17:55. The Magician girls finished fourth as a team.
In Division 1, Peabody’s boys had their best team finish ever by finishing third with 166 points. The pack of Tanners was led by senior Drew Fossa (17th, 15:04) while freshman Marcelo Rocha was 31st in 15:20 and was the only ninth grader in the D1 top 60.
Ben Braz was 31st for Peabody (15:33), Riley Dowd ran 15:51 and Alex Greco finished in 15:53.
Peabody’s girls were eighth in Division 1. Senior Toni Pagliuca was the top finisher for the Tanners in 37th in 18:15 while Lauren Barrett was 41st in 18:17 and Samantha Allen was 54th in 18:29.
The Beverly girls finished 10th and senior Nicole Demars was the top local finisher in the field of 179 D1 ladies. The Panther senior earned a medal by running 13th in 17:47. Freshman Abigail Walsh ran 18:24 and junior Maeve Monahan ran 18:55.
Masconomet’s Meghan Collins ran 18:35.
In the D2 boys race, Swampscott’s Matt Mahoney was seventh overall with a time of 14:50. The Marblehead boys were fourth as a team behind sophomore A.J. Ernst’s 16th place effort of 15:11. Harrison Rodts was 28th in 15:34 and Conrad Rousseau ran 15:57.
Hamilton-Wenham’s boys were led by Matt Gillis (22nd, 15:26), Michael Allara (15:53) and Jack Blatchford (15:54).
In the D2 girls race, Bishop Fenwick’s Ariana Maida was 26th in 18:11.
Among D1 boys, Beverly’s Campbell Wood was 48th in 15:30. Masconomet’s Harry Kent was 28th in 15:17.
St. John’s Prep’s Luke Bulger was 45th in 15:28.