2nd place finish sends them to States

Published November 15, 2019


MELROSE—The Melrose High girl’s cross country team is flying high after placing second at the EMass Finals held on Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Wrentham Development Center. This represents Melrose’s best showing ever: placing second with 90 points only to Newburyport, who won with 76 points.

Two Melrose runners brought home some medal by cracking the top ten: Katie Duffy who placed fourth with a time of 19:40, and teammate Alex Cotugno, who also medaled by placing tenth with a time of 20:08. Freshman Jillian Bakey continued her amazing debut year with a 23rd place finish and a time of 21:02. Jane Harrington had a solid finish in 27th with a time of 21:12. Charlotte Tysall and Chloe Orcutt ran side by side with strong finishes in 32nd and 33rd.

According to head coach Nick Tuccinardi, timing is everything. “This is the best result for this program ever and I was just so happy with how they ran. Across the seams, it was a maximum effort from each girl. I think this was a reflection of an overall great year of constant workouts, competition and training. This team is running their best at the right time.”

THE MELROSE High girl’s cross country team soaks in their second place finish at last weekend’s MIAA EMass Finals. (courtesy photo)

There was less than a two-second average separation of time per runner between Melrose and Newburyport, and this team was running on a familiar course. “I think Alex [Cotugno, senior] has competed 8 times on this course, both she and Katie [Duffy] were comfortable on it and their finishes showed that.”

He also credited Bakey and teammate Chloe Orcutt. “Jillian is small and fierce and she and Chloe are running their first year of cross country and you wouldn’t know it. They improve each meet and their best races are still to come.” He credits Marissa Zelten for her tenacity. “She battled back from injuries to compete at a high level, we’re grateful.”

This weekend Melrose will send their finest ten to the Div. 2 State Final at the Gardner Municipal Golf Course where they hope to earn some medals. The competition will be fierce but Melrose aims to keep in the front of the pack. “Even cracking the top 5 would be nice, but a lot of things have to fall into place,” says the coach. “Either way, this season, we’ve set the bar high and created a benchmark for future teams to meet, and that’s exciting.”