THE 2021 League Champion Melrose High cross country team. (courtesy photo)


Solid All-State showing for their Lucky 7


MELROSE—That’s a wrap for the 2021 Melrose High girls’ cross country team. And what a season it was. After a remarkable fall in which they won won a share of the league title and clinched a silver medal in the Div. 2A Finals, Melrose closed it out with an appearance at the MIAA All-States on Saturday at the Wrentham Development Center.

Melrose was represented by Jillian Bakey (first at Melrose in 43rd place) Charlotte Tysall (75th), Lily Kavanaugh (87th), Maizie Frakt (95), Juliet Moore (101) Isabel Vogel (151) and Katie Sikkema (169). They finished 12th overall and 36th overall in the state among Divisions 1, 2 and 3.

“We had some tough competition and while we had strategies for each individual runner, the underlying strategy was, let it fly one more time and empty the tank,” says Melrose head coach Nick Tuccinardi.

This Melrose team got better every week this season, culminating in Saturday’s exciting appearance which had Melrose competing among top teams such as Holliston (winner) Pentucket and Freedom rivals Wakefield and Wilmington. While they didn’t get a chance to surpass their ML rivals in standings (Wakefield placed 7th and Wilmington 9th) just getting to the Big Dance took months of training and accomplishments for Melrose, with plenty of personal bests and a huge finish at the Div 2A state meet nearly two weeks ago. “These are the best runners in the state-but interestingly, we were running against Wakefield and Wilmington, it really speaks to our strong our league is,” Tuccinardi notes.

There was much to celebrate this season. Like another league title and the emergence of some strong underclassmen. “It was a long season-we had an extra week at the beginning,” notes the coach. “Overall, one of our biggest accomplishments was staying healthy. This group is so supportive of one another, tenacious, and responsive to coaching and feedback-we couldn’t ask for a better group of individuals to coalesce into our team.”

He has particularly proud of his top senior runners who represented on Saturday like Katie Sikkema and Charlotte Tysall, who both ran admirably on Saturday and were key to Melrose’s terrific run in recent years. “This is a special group of seniors. I’ve taught them all in class and known some of them since 8th grade. They’ve got such spirit and spunk. I am going to miss them.”

Next season, many of Saturday’s runners will return. This is a group who were key in Melrose’s nearly perfect season in the ML, and, with the exception of Tysall and Sikkema, will return for more next season, making Melrose a favorite in the Middlesex Freedom next year.

“This is our third state final in six years and our first with the new alignment,” says Tuccinardi. “Next year, we’d like to keep our league champ streak going and then set a new plateau in the state final. But I think more important than repeating these competitive feats, would be repeating our lack of injury success. Oh, and we’d like to make a return to GOAT YOGA.”

And that’s the Greatest of All Time team-bonding activity.