Wilmington Top Local Finisher
WRENTHAM -- Three years ago, Wilmington High School boys cross-country coach Brian Schell thought he had the makings of a real special young group of runners. He thought, if the group progressed, developed and trained hard, that a year or two down the line they could make some noise.
EMass Boys XC
Saturday morning on a wet and muddy Wrentham Development Center course, the Wildcats qualified for the All-State Meet for the second straight year, this time by finishing with a second-place finish behind Newburyport in the Division 4 EMass Meet.
“We said it all along that we had a good chance (to win),” said Schell, as last year’s team finished third. “Our kids were just phenomenal today. Our top five finishers all had personal records and that obviously was huge for us, but you have to give a lot of credit to Newburyport as well because they brought it today.”
Wilmington had two runners receive medals as senior Ben Packer led the team with his 10th-place finish at 16:54.6, while his teammate Greg Adamek made a terrific push in the final 200 meters to finish in 11th place at 16:55.6. The two of them were followed by Nolan Kennedy (22nd, 17:31.2), Sean Riley (24th, 17:35.9) and Kevin Elderd (25th, 17:37.8).
In the same race, Lucas St. Louis was Dracut’s top performer as he was 82nd overall at 18:57.2.
While Wilmington had the top team performance on the day, the top individual performance belonged to Innovation Academy’s Hunter Fagan, who won the D 6 Meet with a time of 16:53.0.
“I knew that he had a good chance to win this today,” said coach Kyle Thornton. “Hunter knew that he had to hold the pace, go strong and when he hit the two-mile mark, he had a good sizeable gap. That’s when I kind of knew that it was his to win. When he hit the 800-meter mark it was game over.”
Fagan, a senior, said that he believes this title was won during the hot days of summer more so than when he actually won in the cold and rain.
“This means a lot,” he said. “I worked really hard over the summer and I didn’t expect this at all, especially at the beginning of the season. I was worried about the course, and it was tough but once the rain stopped, it made it a little bit better. I just tried to push as hard as I could.”
Also in Division 6, James Kimball of Nashoba Tech finished eighth in 17:36 for NT’s top finisher ever. Lowell Catholic was led by Sean O’Keefe (22nd, 18:08.9) and Braden Boucher (33rd, 18:33.9).
In the D1 race, Lowell had won eight of the last nine titles but this time the team finished eighth. Jadiel Pinales was 13th at 16:31.5 and Joeben Jacobs was 14th at 16:31.6 to both qualify individually for next Sunday’s All-State Meet to be held at Stanley Park in Westfield, but the rest of the team will join as spectators.
“We’re happy for Jadiel and Joeben, but disappointed in the final team result,” said coach Scott Ouellet. “You don’t mind losing but when you beat yourself, those are the ones that disappoint.”
Also in D1, Westford was 11th as a team behind Tom Germann (36th, 16:54.4), Connor Fitzgerald (41st, 17:01.5) and Colin McGinn (47th, 17:09.7) who all cracked the top 50.
In D2, Concord-Carlisle took first led by Matthew Kleiman (3rd, 15:51.7). Chelmsford was 12th thanks to Aidan Hennessey (27th, 16:56.0) and Andrew Madsen (36th, 17:06.2). Billerica was 16th as a team with Shawn Stairs the top finisher as he was 54th at 17:16.4.