Published in the October 24, 2018 edition
FALMOUTH — The colors of the sky changed from blue to pink to orange before darkness set the stage on Saturday night for a Twilight Invitational that would become a memorable one for the Wakefield boys’ cross country team.
The Cape Cod Fairgrounds opened up its gates to a mass of high school distance runners looking for the fastest race of their life. The night did not disappoint as many of the athletes walked away with satisfying performances they can put next to their names.
The varsity members had to wait their turn as races were run for the freshmen, sophomores, and junior varsity groups while the sun was beginning to set on a perfect night for racing.
Once the sun set and the lights were turned on to guide the way, 278 varsity runners were ready to battle over the 3.1 mile course. When the dust settled, the Warriors came away with an impressive 2nd place finish behind Massachusetts’ No. 6-ranked team, Needham and ahead of 38 other teams.
Rohan Singhvi led the Warriors again as he placed 10th in a blazing time of 15:50. Junior Matt Roberto was just as impressive as he was one tick behind Singhvi with a time of 15:51 good for 11th place.
Casey Brackett made a big jump from last years 150th place to finish 30th with a PR of 16:24. Tanner Jellison was right behind Brackett placing 35th in a PR of 16:27.
Billy Stevens sealed the deal with a 62nd place finish and PR of 16:44. Trevor Zupan was close behind Stevens providing some valuable insurance placing 85th in a time of 16:58 which is a one minute PR from a year ago.
“The boys made a statement as they dominated many of the Division 3 teams expected to be a challenge at the state divisional championships in three weeks,” said Wakefield head coach Perry Pappas. “This race should bring a lot of confidence to the boys that they can defend their title as long as they are consistent.”
Earlier in the evening the Freshman boys had the difficult job of setting the tone for rest of the team. They did their job and also showed that the future of the program could be in good shape. Michael Roberto put himself in a good position from the start of the 2.1 mile course and moved up gradually after the first half mile of the race. Roberto finished 13th in a fast time of 11:45. Ajay Haridasse and Thomas Dowd also collected medals for top 25 finishes as they placed 20th and 24th with times of 11:58 and 12:01. Not to be outshined were Sean Russell placing 46th in 12:33 and James Christie 69th in 12:47.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what these boys can do in the next few years,” said Pappas. “I like their work ethic and commitment to getting better. They have the important ingredients to carry this team in a few years.”
Anyone who paid attention to the sophomore class last year may not recognize them today. They took to the sport really well back then but the performances may not have been notable. While the commitment has only gotten deeper this year, the performances have been incredible as well.
Jonathan D’Ambrosio continues to use his strong base from the summer and savvy racing to lead the sophomore crew. He finished an impressive 12th place this weekend in the sophomore race, running a fast PR of 17:18 over the 3.1 mile course. A year ago against the same class of runners, D’Ambrosio finished 102nd.
Zack Jellison also put his hard summer work to the test as he improved on his 115th-place finish from last year and finished with a strong kick to place 19th in a PR of 17:32.
Newcomer Brendan Vacca ran well placing 35th in a time of 17:59.
Other athletes made big jumps thanks to a committed summer. Alex Skeldon placed 67th in 18:31. Cory Sample placed 70th in 18:38. Aaron Roos (18:54) placed 89th and Aaron Canestaro (18:59) placed 96th. They all moved up by about 100 places from a year ago.
Colin Rudy (19:06), David Schurter (19:33), Dylan Fahey (19:53) and Jack Tomsyck (20:40) also have made a great deal of progress this season.
Derryn Langlois was a strong frontrunner in the JV race as he led a pack of great Warrior performances. Langlois placed 11th in a time of 17:35. Jimmy Crump ran a PR of 18:05 placing 34th. Jack Callahan had a PR of 18:14 placing 44th. Steven Robinson (18:35), Andrew Russell (19:50), Lucas Smith (21:06), Noah Brennan (21:27) and Andrew Rosenberg (21:57) also had a great night.