Warriors prevail 28-29

Published in the October 12, 2016 edition






WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield Memorial High girls’ cross country team is still “In the mix for six,” but just barely.

The Warriors had their closest call in nearly six years as they used their depth to pull out a one point win over upstart Melrose, 28-29, yesterday afternoon at the Shaun Beasley Course.

Wakefield increased its record in the Middlesex League Freedom division to 3-0 (the Warriors are 3-2 overall), while the Red Raiders fell to 2-1 in the league and 2-3 overall. Wakefield is in first place and is in the driver’s seat to capture its sixth straight league title.

Melrose took first, fourth, fifth and seventh while the Warriors had runners place second, third and sixth. However it was the Warriors that took eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th that displaced Melrose’s fifth runner and allowed Wakefield to win the meet.

“That was the closest meet we’ve had in six years,” said Coach Karen Barrett. “The win was satisfying but we need to close things out quicker. I’m proud of the way the Wakefield runners fought. They stayed the course and were mentally tough. I give Melrose credit. They ran a great race and were impressive.”

Tara O’Shea came in first overall for the Red Raiders as she put herself in front of Wakefield’s top finisher, senior captain Jordan Stackhouse. O’Shea came in at 20:13 and Stackhouse clocked in at 20:24 for second place.

Olivia Lucey, a freshman, continues to get better with each meet as she earned a third place finish at 20:42.

Melrose took the next two places behind the efforts of Miykayla Olwart and Alex Cotugno who posted times of 20:54 and 21:04.

Senior captain Abby Harrington came in ahead of Melrose’s Holly Moore for sixth place in a time of 21:12. Moore was seventh at 21:31.

But the Warriors had the next four runners cross the finish line and that made difference in the meet.

Maeve Conway, a senior captain, showed her leadership with a clutch eighth place finish at 21:48. Right behind her was junior Isabella Kehoe with a ninth place time of 21:50.

Gillian Russell, a junior, and Amanda Westlake, a sophomore, captured 10th and 11th place as they clocked in at 22:01 and 22:07 to round out Wakefield’s top seven.

“Stackhouse ran well. Olivia Lucey got another PR and closed the gap between her and Stackhouse which is so awesome,” said Barrett. “Harrington ran the best race of the season and came up big today. Conway and Kehoe were spectacular. Both of them got PRs and fought so hard for the team. Westlake closed out the varsity squad, running solid. I was so happy for them.”

In fact, Wakefield also had three more runners cross the finish line before the Red Raiders’ fifth runner came in with a 15th place showing. Senior captain Cassie Lucci (22:23), senior Gabby Peduto (22:24) and junior Yvonne Lucas (22:24) placed 12th, 13th and 14th overall for the Warriors.

“Lucci, Peduto and Lucas all beat Melrose’s fifth runner which was a great thing. Gabby Peduto cut over two minutes on her PR. She works very hard and I am so happy it is paying off for her,” said Barrett. “It was the best team win of the season. It is going to be very difficult to pick the top seven for states. We will now prepare for Burlington next Tuesday.”

Wakefield had five more runners in the race with junior Emmalee Connors (23:35), sophomore Claudia Nerden (23:49), junior Kate Lynch (24:02), sophomore Nicole Lima (24:24) and freshman Megan Larrow (26:04).

“We’re at Burlington and at Watertown,” said Barrett. “Burlington is a 3.1 mile course with one hill which we will have to prepare for. Watertown is a 2.6 mile course and we will need speed for that race.”

If the Warriors beat Burlington then they will clinch at least a share of the M.L. Freedom division crown. Two more victories and Wakefield will be the league champ outright.

Wakefield runs against Burlington on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 3:30 p.m. at Burlington High School.