WOBURN — The Wakefield High girls’ cross country team raced Woburn on the road at Horn Pond course on Tuesday to start their regular season. The Warriors and Tanners elevated each other’s pace in a great race but Wakefield came away with a hard-earned 26-31 victory in meet one.
“It was a strong showing for our first meet,” said head coach Karen Barrett. “Pack running won us the meet with our 3rd through our 6th position pushing each other.”
Woburn had the top two runners in the meet but six of the next seven to cross the line were Warriors. It was that depth and “pack running,” as Wakefield likes to teach, that led the team to their 1-0 start.
The first two Warriors to finish were junior Lily Sallee (3rd overall, 20:33) and sophomore Liza Bangston (4th, 20:34).
Close on their heels were senior Charlotte O’Neil (5th, 20:45) and junior Grace Brackett (6th, 20:47).
“Sallee, Bangston, O’Neil and Brackett ran fantastic races,” said Barrett.
After a Woburn runner finally broke up the pack finishing in 7th, Wakefield took the next two, making their win official.
Senior Lexi Yianacopolus was 8th overall, finishing the scoring for the visitors as the 5th runner with a time of 21:54.
Senior Julia Welch was 9th with a time of 22:08.
Senior Maggie Barnard (23:36) and junior Maeve Schermerhorn (24:07) also competed well for Wakefield.
“Shout out to my entire team for training hard over the summer and coming together for the win,” said Barrett.
The Warriors have high expectations this year. The MSTCA ranked Wakefield No. 4 in Div. 2 behind only Holliston, Medfield and Whitinsville Christian.
Wakefield will lean on their captains, O’Neil, Yianacopolus and Welch to set the tone as they continue to work on improving times.
“They are doing a great job of leading the team,” said Barrett of her senior captains. “We’re looking forward to a competitive season. It’s really encouraging that our numbers are up and the kids are all improving everyday.”
Wakefield will now get ready to host rival Melrose on Tuesday at 4 p.m. in a huge, early-season meet. Melrose will be looking to bounce back from a 20-41 loss to a tough Lexington team in their season opener.