Melrose sweeps the Middlesex Freedom league, 5-0 Cross country girls are back-to-back league champs

Published November 20, 2020

THE UNDEFEATED 2020 Middlesex Freedom League champions. (courtesy photo)


MELROSE—For the second straight year, the Melrose High girls’ cross country team are Middlesex League Freedom Champs. This, after a critical, 23-26 win over Wilmington last Saturday that led to a clean sweep of the entire league and an undefeated finished season of 5-0. It was an overall perfect season for Melrose, who performed in every meet on the schedule without interruption and overall stayed healthy, a double victory for Melrose, and their head coach Nick Tuccinardi. 

“I think this is a testament to how well-disciplined this team is,” he said about their feat. “They followed protocols. They practiced with masks on, which isn’t fun. They kept their distance. It is absolutely awesome that they finish as champs, and just important that they stayed healthy. That was always the primary goal.”

Helping earn the points towards victory for Melrose was first place finisher Chloe Orcutt, followed by Jillian Bakey, Charlotte Tysall, Marissa Zelten, Juliet Moore, Lily Kavanaugh and Sofia Centrella. They are a group who have been consistent all season. 

SENIORS WERE honored on the Melrose High girls’s cross country team for helping them sweep the league undefeated. Pictured, back (L-R) Lillian Lawlor, Bella Scacchi, Anabelle Lauzon, Marissa Zelten, Chloe Orcutt, Julianne Murthy, Cece Murphy, Adrianna Centrella. Front (L-R) Maddy Lyons, Dara Casey, Sofia Centrella and Maeve Fogarty. (courtesy photo)

“Last year when we talked about our aspirations, it was to win the league and vie for States,” says coach Tuccinardi. “Then with the pandemic, that changed. We knew it was going to be week-to-week and that anything could change fast. Obviously, the postseason wasn’t in the cards, so we wanted to finish off the regular season having played a complete season unbeaten. And earning the title with that having been done, really legitimizes our league championship. We faced everyone once and beat them. It’s a good feeling.” 

He points to the work of his seniors, who’ve known much success on the team. “Our [asst.] Coach Kane and I discuss how our graduating seniors ended up with a record of 18-2 in wins. Their only 2 losses came during meets that ended within three points. Our sophomores also don’t know what it’s like to lose. We’ve created something tangible here and these seniors leaving were instrumental in keeping our winning tradition going. We’re grateful.” 

And he’s keeping his eye on the future too. “Today we ran a 5k, and I was even more proud that all of our freshmen finished the race.”  

This fall he says goodbye to 11 seniors, Dara Casey, Sofia Centrella, Adriana Centrella, Maeve Fogarty, Anabelle Lauzon, Chloe Orcutt, Maddy Lyons and his senior captains Marissa Zelten, Lilian Lawlor, Julianne Murthay and Cecilia Murphy.

“They’ve been instrumental in guiding our younger players along,” says the coach. They also have proved to be some of the most adaptive kids he’s ever coached. Tuccinardi has also been inspired by team victor Chloe Orcutt and Sofia Centrella, who made late jumps to the sport with impressive and near-immediate success. “It proves to anyone that you can pick up cross country anytime and do well,” he says. 

Still, there is a sense of unfinished business for this particular team. Any senior has to feel that this is something other than a normal year, overall. Coach Tuccinardi clearly would like to do more for his seniors after achieving a season of perfection. He says, “We’ve been informed there will be no banquet, and it’s hard not to be able to celebrate our upperclassmen in a meaningful way that they are accustomed to. But we will find a way to honor them.”