3-0 Melrose has eyes on a league title

Published October 11, 2019


MELROSE—All roads to a league title had to go through Wakefield. That was the motto of sorts for the Melrose High girls’ cross country team, who for three seasons now witnessed undefeated seasons get blemished in one-point losses against their neighbors to the North. This season, Wakefield had a target on their back by Melrose and the two teams’ October 2 meet was considered must-win for Melrose.

It was mission accomplished when the Red Raiders defeated the Warriors 18-43 at a rain-soaked Greenwood Park in Stoneham. It was a stellar victory that keeps Melrose 3-0 on the season.

Said head coach Nick Tuccinardi, “These meets are always nail biters. We came into the day with that mindset. I told the girls, ‘if you see a gray jersey, pass the gray jersey.’ We were so happy to get the win and I was proud that girl after girl ran best times. There was some nervous energy before the meet that they used during the race and it made them come out so strong.”

A RAIN soaked victory for the Melrose High cross country team, who beat Wakefield and are on the verge of clinching the ML Freedom League. (Colleen Riley photo)

Melrose senior captain Katie Duffy broke her own second-best MHS course record with a time of 19.58. She blew away all competition. “For her to do what she did was incredible,” says her coach. “It was like Katie was running in peanut butter.”

Melrose was simply dominating, sweeping the field from the #1-#15 spots. Behind Duffy was Alex Cutugno (20:38) Charlotte Tysall (20:43) and Jane Harrington (20:56)

Meanwhile, Harrington and Cutugno had more solid performances and finished out nicely in the top spots. “They are our most consistent runners, we rely on them so much.”

He was also pleased with the efforts of Jillian Bakey (21:03) Marisa Zelten (21:35) and Chloe Orcutt (21:47). “Those times were great. All of the girls worked hard and finished with some best times. The weather didn’t matter. They showed a focus and toughness that I think will serve us well in the postseason.” Rounding out the top ten were Jenna Francasso (8th) Lily Kavanaugh (9th) and Isabel Vogel (10th).

Melrose also picked up a win in a clean sweep of Watertown on Monday to improve to 3-0. It was an occasion that marked Senior Night. Honored were seniors Victoria Ackerman, Olivia Boomhower, Alex Cotugno, Katie Duffy, Jenna Francasso, Rebecca Hamberg, Jane Harrington, Bridget McGunigle, Ashley Palmer, Salimah Tajbel, Maeve Tarpey, Catherine Thimble and Kyle Willwerth.

Two years ago, Melrose made an appearance at the MIAA State Meet. This year they’d like to return to that elite event. If they compete among the top of the pack at the MIAA North Sectionals then there is a strong chance Melrose will make that happen.

But there is plenty more running to be had, including the Middlesex League Meet which is Oct. 28 and the Bob McIntyre Twilight Meet at the Barnstable Playgrounds on Oct. 19 at 5:00 p.m.