Melrose takes top 3 spots in stunning team victory

Published in the September 25, 2015 edition

MELROSE LED the pack at last weekend's Big Wave Invitational in Lakefield, sweeping the top 3 spots for an overall team victory. (Donna Larsson photo) 

MELROSE LED the pack at last weekend’s Big Wave Invitational in Lakefield, sweeping the top 3 spots for an overall team victory. (Donna Larsson photo)



MELROSE — Success is nothing new for the reigning league champ Melrose boys’ cross-country team, who qualified for States the last two seasons and entered the 2015 season with a preseason rank of fourth among all Small schools in the entire state.

On Saturday, the team pulled off their most impressive feat to date: An entire sweep at the 2015 Big Wave Invitational in Lakeville. This first place varsity finish came after they rocketed past a contingent of runners, including a powerful Mansfield High, who earned 44 points to Melrose’s 42. Melrose swept the first three spots, and then some, to earn the win.

Melrose led up front with a band of brothers who kept pace ahead of all competition. Leading the top of the pack of the 2.5 mile race were current 2 mile state champ (track) Kevin Wheelock, who ran a blazing 13:01, Adam Cook was right behind him in 13:18 and Sean Conlan was third in 13:30. Melrose’s Robbie Hanlon piled it on for Melrose finishing sixth in 13:37.

By winning the Invitational, Melrose has their elbowed way into an elite category of cross country teams in the division and should be considered a team to beat in postseason races. It’s not every day that you see such wide-spread talent at the top, so it was something special for their longtime coach Kevin Allison.

“This performance was truly amazing as these boys are running just over 5 minutes per mile on a course in which one steep downhill brought the runners to a walk,” he said.

The Red Raiders’ victory was a true, collective effort. According to their coach, Melrose’s Griffin Barriss (32nd) was key also as he passed a few runners in the final half mile. “Without that we would have finished second,” he said.  Also running well in the junior-senior race was Ryan Hablitz, Ryan Bradford, Andrew Fox, Erik Heislein and Matt Cosman.

Melrose fared very well in the Freshman-Sophomore race as well, finished a strong second to Mansfield. Kyle Thompson led the way finished 10th in 14:49. Steve Stromski was next in 15th in 15:12, followed by Will Hanlon (17th in 15:22), Dan Broderick (20th in 15:24) and William Gray (23rd in 15:38). Also completing the tough course were Collin Mullane, Nolan Castergine, Jason Bernard, Jerry Murphy, Gavin Rowe, Luke Pashoian, Russell Darwin, Andrew Benaugh, William Duffy, Ross Carroll, Conlan Cesar, Jake Witkowski and Kyle Roche.

Melrose entered the Big Wave Invitational on the heels of an opening week victory against a tough Reading team, edging them 26-30 for a 1-0 start to the season. Kevin Wheelock led the way running the tough 2.9 mile home course in 16: 26, followed by Adam Cook who finished second in 16:51. The team hits the road to face Wilmington on Thursday (post deadline).

2015 Big Wave Invitational Top Ten Results

1 Wheelock, Kevin 11 Melrose  13:01.83 1

2 Cook, Adam 11 Melrose  13:18.59 2

3 Conlan, Sean 11 Melrose  13:30.27 3

4 Dolcine, Travis 12 Somerville 13:31.84

5 Lamb, Andrew 11 Marshfield 13:32.16 4

6 Gao, Brain 12 Hopkinton 13:34.21 5

7 Hanlon, Robbie 12 Melrose  13:37.18 6

8 Donovan, Joey 11 Marshfield 13:43.71 7

9 Seybert, David 11 Attleboro 13:45.69 8

10 Mahoney, Drew 11 Plymouth South  13:47.32 9