Published in the September 8, 2017 edition

THE MELROSE girl's cross country team returns after another strong season. They begin their season against Arlington at home on Tuesday. (file photo)

THE MELROSE girl’s cross country team returns after another strong season. They begin their season against Arlington at home on Tuesday. (file photo)


MELROSE—The Melrose High girls’ varsity cross country team returns to the fall ready for their season opener at home on Tuesday, Sept. 12 against Woburn. Coach Nicholas Tuccinardi now takes the reign this year as the first official girls’ team coach.

“Last year, I acted as the de facto head coach, so I am fairly comfortable with the position,” he reports.

The team returns more than half their roster, including their senior captains Tara O’Shea, Mykayla Olwert and Holly Moore. “Tara and Mykayla were a dynamic one-two punch throughout the season last year,” says Tuccinardi. “Holly has worked incredibly hard this summer going as far as attending a running camp in Colorado.” He acknowledges that last year’s senior leaders were instrumental for Melrose. “The captains this year certainly have big shoes to fill.”

Also returning are seven of their top 10 runners, including juniors Emily Healey and Nicola Tysall, as well as rising sophomore standout Alex Cotugno. The coach is also excited about early performances of underclassmen, Katie Duffy, sophomore, and transfer sophomore Ashley Palmer. “They have performed exceedingly well.”

Expect the Middlesex League to be a dogfight. “The league looks strong,” he says. “Stoneham is on the rise. Last year we lost to Wakefield by a point, we beat Watertown by a point. Those teams will be competitive again this year. Wakefield was our only in-division loss last year, but every Melrose team is always looking to beat Wakefield.”

And despite losing senior leadership, Melrose shows a depth that will keep them toe-to-toe with the competition. “While the league appears to be as strong as ever, we believe that we have the ability to be as good as we allow ourselves to be.”

Tuccinardi took a moment to acknowledge the long time dedication of coach Kevin Allison for preparing him to take over the girls’ squad. “I’m incredibly grateful for Kevin Alison for his tutelage to me as a young coach. This is now my fourth season coaching alongside Kevin (boys indoor track). Not only has he been patient with me, but he has also given me a ton of freedom to coach and learn while never faltering to be there as support.”

Melrose kicks off their season on Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 3:30 p.m. at Greenwood Park in Stoneham.

Girls’ Cross Country Schedule

Tue 9/12: 3:30 PM vs. Woburn

Tue 9/19: 3:30 PM @ Lexington

Tue 9/26: 3:30 PM @ Burlington

Tue 10/3: 3:30 PM vs. Wakefield

Tue 10/10: 3:30 PM vs. Watertown

Tue 10/17: 3:30 PM @ Stoneham

Wed 10/25: 3:30 PM @ Wilmington High School