Team effort lifts girl harriers in showdown against Melrose
Published in the October 7, 2015 edition
By JIM SOUTHMAYD
STONEHAM — The Melrose High girls’ cross country team had the top two runners on the course yesterday afternoon in a Middlesex League Freedom showdown at Greenwood Park.
However the Warriors had more of a team effort from their group of runners and crossed the finish line in a group and that was the difference as Wakefield posted a 25-38 triumph to continue the drive for five, a fifth M.L. Freedom division championship.
Wakefield is 3-0 in the league and 3-1 overall, while Melrose is 2-1 on the season.
Melrose standout Elizabeth Hirsch easily won the three mile race as she cruised to a first place time of 18:53. She led from start to finish.
Behind her was teammate Tara O’Shea who clocked in at 20:36 as she was a distant second.
But after that, the majority of red shirted runners crossing the finish line were from Wakefield. The Warriors captured third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh.
Taking third was Jordan Stackhouse, a junior. Stackhouse had a terrific effort and posted a time of 21:38.
Abby Harrington, a junior, was fourth as she clocked in 21:55.
Senior co-captain Sara Custodio and junior Cassie Lucci challenged each other near the finish. Custodio was fifth at 22:10 and Lucci was sixth at 22:11.
Freshman Amanda Westlake came up huge in her first big meet against Melrose and claimed seventh place with a time of 22:24.
Melrose’s Meghan Cincotta took eighth at 22:43.
Then the next wave of Warriors crossed the finish line. Wakefield secured ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th place.
Sophomore Gillian Russell, senior co-captain Reilly McNamara, freshman Isabella Kehoe and senior Catherine Urbano came in ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th with times of 23:30, 23:51, 23:58 and 24:10.
Melrose runners Lydia Gyurina and Holly Moore finished in 13th and 14th place in times of 24:40 and 24:58. Melrose also secured the next six spots, but Wakefield had already clinched the victory.
“What an outstanding effort both the varsity and JV put forth today. I was so happy with the varsity pack running today,” said Coach Karen Barrett. “Stackhouse was very impressive with her first win for our team. Harrington and Lucci were also outstanding today. Our top five were within one minute of each other and that was what we needed to do for the win. We needed to close that gap. Amanda Westlake also ran her best race of the season. I was extremely proud of my girls today.”
Barrett was also proud that her team didn’t panic when Melrose’s top two runners pulled away.
“It was a nice victory for the team. The girls were up for this meet physically and mentally,” said Barrett. “The girls started fast which is what we needed to do. I’m very happy. It was mind over matter. They didn’t panic when Melrose went one, two. They believed in themselves that they could do it.”
On the JV side Wakefield dominated with a 15-50 win.
Wakefield took the first five places in the JV race with Sam Ross, Kate Lynch, Claudia Nerden, Emily Norton-Hughes and Emmalee Connors running on the shorter JV course. They posted times of 15:08, 15:14, 15:22, 15:38 and 15:55.
Nicole Lima also ran and posted a time of 19:36.
“The Melrose course is very difficult and all the girls handled it great,” said Barrett. “ We are now going to focus on Burlington at home next Tuesday.”
Wakefield takes on the Red Devils on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 3:30 p.m. at the Beasley Course.