THE MHS boy’s cross country team celebrates upon learning they punched a ticket to the State Final this weekend after a great performance at the Div. 2A finals last Sunday. (courtesy photo)

WESTFIELD—The Melrose High boys’ cross-country team traveled all the way to Stanley Park in Westfield on Sunday, Nov. 13 for the Div. 2A championship, and it was a memorable trip that has extended their season.

Among the 35 competing teams in the division, only the top 7 move on to the state finals and thanks to some terrific runs, Melrose will be one of them. They captured 7th and have advanced to the Div. 2 State Final in Devens on Saturday.

Melrose is very young and sent 3 sophomores, 2 freshmen, and 2 seniors to accomplish this unlikely feat. Fortunately everyone was up to the task.

Senior co-captain Ellis Iurilli-Hough continued his brilliant career with a 7th place in this field of 160. His time of 16:14 was a career best. Close behind in 10th was sophomore sensation Caleb Barnes who blazed through the course in just 16:24. Melrose’s next runner was freshman Adam Caldwell at 17:24. Adam was 42nd in the race, but just 3rd among the freshmen in the race.

Melrose was in good shape, but needed 2 more runners in the top 100 to give them a chance. Sophomore Jonah Tully delivered a 70th place finish in 18:17 and freshman John Strong ensured Melrose would go to the finals with his 87th place finish in a personal best time of 18:38. Also running just over 19 minutes were co-captain Peter Story and sophomore Billy Oldham.

Melrose head coach Kevin Allison was elated with the performance. “We went into the race ranked 10th, but knew that we hadn’t put our best race together yet. Well, we did it today. Ellis and Caleb showed that they are at the elite level, Adam was his usual amazing self, Jonah was solid like always and John came up big in a real pressure position. It was a great team effort. We had a very experienced team last year when we finished 4th, but I didn’t expect this very young team to get back there until next year. However this determined team moved that timetable up.”

The boys will race on Saturday at Willard Fields in Devens, where they will aim for take home some hardware.

Says the coach, “They have had quite a season and I’m sure they will top it off with a great effort on Saturday in the Division 2 State Final.”