Nabs two state titles at States; now three-time MHS state champ
Published in the February 22, 2017 edition
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—In short, Melrose High senior Kevin Wheelock slayed it.
On February 16 at the Div. 4 State Championship at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, Wheelock did the seemingly impossible: he earned two state titles in one day. Even better, within 75 minutes. The star runner for MHS took the top spot in the both the 1 mile and 2 mile to earn his third state championship as a runner for Melrose High. In 2015 Wheelock became the Div. 3 two mile champion during his outdoor track season. Wheelock has now collected three state titles and advances to All-State competition this weekend.
His time in the one mile of 4:25.17 edged rival Matt Greatorex of Wakefield, and his time in the 2 mile of 9:47.51 narrowly edged MHS teammate Adam Cook (9:49.46), who took home silver.
His coach Kevin Allison referred to Wheelock’s wins as a, “Herculean accomplishment.”
“I don’t know the history of all sports in Melrose, but I would suggest that what Kevin Wheelock did at the Divisional Championship is among the greatest athletic accomplishments in Melrose sports history.”
He may be on to something. Wheelock is a two-time league champ, MVP, three time state champion, and had cemented a future MHS Athletic Hall of Fame nod even before Saturday’s contest. But to earn two state championships in different events (in a single day) may be unparalleled.
After the race, Wheelock expressed pride in his achievement. “It feels great. I’ve worked really hard and its nice knowing it has paid off.”
Initially, Wheelock entered the race with a one-mile win his mind. “My goal was to win the mile, see how I felt, and then run the 4×8 or the two mile. Coach Allison encouraged me to run the two mile. It was tough, but I have been training really hard, so I knew I had a pretty good chance of winning.”
In the two mile, he was pitted against friend and teammate Adam Cook. “Adam and I have so many miles together, and have ran as many against each other. As teammates and friends there is always a great deal of respect before and after the race no mater what the outcome. That was another great race and was very close and could have gone either way.”
Wheelock’s Melrose High resume is beyond impressive. He has earned three state titles in track (two 2-mile state titles, one 1-mile) and is a two time league champ and league MVP. Wheelock, son of Gary and Kathleen of Melrose and brother to Ryan, bounced back from an injury last fall. “Getting back into shape wasn’t easy. It took many long runs. I had my teammates to push me along and get into top form.”
Coach Allison noted the difficulty of Wheelock’s task. “To win one of those grueling, competitive races is a lifetime accomplishment, but winning both the mile and the 2-mile championship within 75 minutes of each other is amazing,” says Allison. “Kevin’s unyielding work ethic and gritty, tough, competitive nature is remarkable.”
Wheelock is grateful for Allison’s guidance. “I’d like to thank coach for everything he has helped me accomplish.”
Wheelock and teammate Adam Cook will compete at All States on Feb. 26 and hope to earn a spot on the podium. And this spring, don’t be surprised if the champion adds more medal to his cache. But his sights are on relay efforts with teammates Adam Cooke, Sean Conlan, and Griffin Barriss. “We want to try to qualify for the distance medley relay at Nationals.”
Meanwhile, coach Allison wants help from the public – more specifically, MHS alumni. “I am interested in hearing from anyone knowledgeable about Melrose track history. I would like to know if anyone has run a mile quicker than Kevin Wheelock’s 4:24 or a 2 mile in 9:29. My school email is [email protected]”