Saturday, November 13, 2010
Weymouth pack claims girls' EMass X-C title
By Scott Barboza
BOSTON, Mass. – The Weymouth High girls’ cross country team won their first Eastern Mass. Division I title since 1979 -- and that was as Weymouth South.
The top five of the Wildcats’ pack ran within eight spots of each other, with a gap of just 45 seconds between No. 1 and No. 5 at Franklin Park on Saturday. The proximity of their finish came as no surprise to coach Mike Miller, as this year’s group has been a tight one in terms of performance and in camaraderie.
“They’re a very close group,” Miller said. “We have 43 kids here today and every kid in the program showed up. I didn’t want them to find out they’d won a state championship on Facebook.”
Weymouth accomplished the feat despite seeing Jill Corcoran, the Wildcats’ leading runner throughout the season, finish as its third runner. Bridget Jaklitsch picked up the pace to finish eight overall, tearing through the 5K in 19 minutes, 38 seconds. Morgan Fitzgibbon followed in ninth place, with Corcoran (13th), Molly Barker (16th) and Julie Tevenan (17th) not far behind.
“I told them that we don’t need to be perfect, we just need to be good,” Miller said. “I think a lot of times kids go into meets and think if something goes wrong, that’s it and they panic. We said that we weren’t going to panic and we were going to believe that we were the best team.”
Oh, and of course there teammates will be with them as always at All-States next Saturday in Gardner.
“I already told them, we’re getting a bus to Gardner next week,” Miller said with a laugh.
ROCHA A SUPER SOPH IN D-I Peabody sophomore Catarina Rocha outlasted Kathy O’Keefe of Newton South to claim the Division I individual title in 18:35.
However, the outwardly poised youngster admitted she didn’t feel so confident headed into the race.
“I was really nervous,” Rocha said, “but after I started, I knew my nerves would calm down and everything would just happen.”
Rocha knew she was in for a battle with O’Keefe, whom she’d raced against in the mile at last year’s All-States. Rocha and O’Keefe paced each other through most of the course, until Rocha made her move coming out of the “Wilderness” portion of the course and continued to pour it on in the final 600.
FINISH OF THE DAY The day’s most riveting finish was provided by Lincoln-Sudbury’s Andrea Keklak and Franklin’s Megan Ross in the Division II meet.
Keklak was coming off a win in last weekend’s MSTCA Invitational in Wrentham in the Division I junior/senior event, but ran in Division II with along with her L-S teammates in the districts’ new six-tier format.
Ross established the pace for the greater duration, only to see the defending All-State champion move past her with a blazing kick in the final 300. Keklak finished in 19:04, seven seconds ahead of Ross.
“She’s such a smart runner,” Ross said. “She paced off of me and she has an amazing kick.
“The pace wasn’t my favorite, it’s not how I usually like to run, but it was really more about the team and placing for All-States.”
Keklak emerged from the event with a healthy respect for the Hockomock League champion.
“It was a hard effort,” Keklak said. “Megan’s a really good competitor.”