Boys, Hirsch will run at All-States Saturday
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE — For the second straight season the Melrose High School boys’ cross-country team has qualified for the MIAA All State Championship.
On Saturday afternoon the Raiders came up big at the EMass Championships at the Wrentham Development Center, finishing third among all teams, which punched them a ticket to the big event, where the top teams from each division compete at Franklin Park in Boston. Melrose’s Elizabeth Hirsch became the first Melrose High School girl to make the state final in three consecutive years. Hirsch finished 15th in 19:45 on Saturday and received the last individual spot for Saturday’s event.
Last year the Melrose boys’ team finished fifth but received the lone wild card slot. This year’s team did not leave it up to chance as they finished third among all teams. This marks the first time in 30 years the Raiders have made the state finals in consecutive years, a milestone that left head coach Kevin Allison singing the praises of this primarily youthful team.
“These boys really ran tough,” reports Allison. “The start was very difficult and several of the boys got boxed in early but kept their cool and did what needed to be done.”
Melrose Sophomore Kevin Wheelock led the way as he finished seventh over the 5K course in just 16 minutes and 21 seconds. Junior Robbie Hanlon ran his best race of the year and finished in 16:59 for 15th place and the last medal. Right behind Robbie was fellow sophomore Adam Cook who finished in 17:00. Sophomore Sean Conlan was next, running 32nd in 17:26 and senior captain Duncan Locke stamped Melrose’s ticket to the finals by finishing 38th in 17:32. Abraham Zimmerman and Griffin Barriss also ran well in this high level race. Melrose’s total of 108 was behind Marblehead (63 points) and Gloucester (97) but beat last year’s champion Pembroke by a point.
Coach Kevin Allison commented on the difficulty of their feat. “It is so difficult to get to these finals. It is such a team effort because if one boy doesn’t come through you’re out. Everyone relies on each other so for it to all come together at the right time is a great feeling. ”
After compiling such great results Melrose now advances Saturday to be represented by sophomore Griffin Barriss, senior Ian Brophy, sophomore Sean Conlan, sophomore Adam Cook, junior Robbie Hanlon, senior Duncan Locke, senior Keith Lovett, senior Abraham Zimmerman, freshman Kyle Thompson and sophomore Kevin Wheelock.
On Saturday in Wrentham the girls’ team finished 14th in the division and ran well, no surprise after a 5-2 season. Junior Elizabeth Lydia Guyrina ran under 20 minutes for the first time as she finished 58th in 21:31. Also breaking 22 minutes was sophomore standout Tara O’Shea who finished 78th in 21:51. Senior Kaitlin Carson was 100th in 22:29, junior Meghan Cincotta was 112th in 22.48, captain Emily McCarthy was 119th in 23:00 and Melanie Cohan was 125th in 23:16.
Coach Suzanne Corbett enjoyed watching her team compete. “Lizzie showed us once again what a special runner and competitor she is. The girls ran very well today. I was very pleased with our last week of practice in preparation for this meet and the results of their efforts were evident today. We have many strong underclassmen and I think we have made some steps to being a top team in the future.”
Melrose’s finest will run on Saturday at Franklin Park in Boston. Boys will take flight at 11:40 a.m. and girls will follow at 1 p.m.