On Saturday, October 14th, Franklin Park played host to the 62nd annual Catholic Memorial Invite. Special shoutout and thanks to Marathon Sports and HOKA for sponsoring the meet as well as our coverage. The 5k course will be the site of the 2023 Foot Locker Cross Country Northeast Regional on November 25th, helping to attract a lot of talent from around New England. Over 40 teams and and nearly 1,000 athletes made their way to the start line to test themselves and the course. With Fall temperatures, a clear day, and a dry course, the stage was for some great racing.
The freshmen girls got the first gun of the day. Isabella Miller of Central Catholic was the first through the halfway mark and did not let up as she took the win in 12:21.6. Madelynn Larosa and Emma Ausilio both of Billerica took second and third less than 10 seconds behind Miller. While the race was not team scored, the duo’s performance was supported by the rest of the Billerica Memorial team as they placed their top 5 freshman and 8th graders in the top 15.
The boys also featured a competitive battle up front with Finn Johnson-Houlihan and Owen Geagan neck and neck at the halfway point. Johnson-Houlihan of Reading Memorial ended up taking the win in 10:20.2. Geagan represented the large Boston College High team by taking second just 3 seconds back. As a team, BC High put their top 5 in the top 25. Archbishop Williams, Billerica Memorial, and host team Catholic Memorial all had strong showings.
Brooke Soucy of Methuen went out strong on Saturday and was first to the 1.5k mark by about 20 seconds. She continued to build her lead through the rest of her race taking the win in 22:06. Next coming down the HOKA finishing straight was sophomore Aya Okaniwa of Newton South with a time of 23:25.3. Junior Caoilainn Rayne of Bedford rounded out the top three crossing the line at 23:32.
Similar to the freshmen races, JV had no team scoring. Methuen had a strong showing in the race with their fifth crossing in 18th place. Bedford‘s fifth was 24th, and Bishop Feehan packed the chute early with their fifth in the 21st spot.
The boys gave a good show with eventual winner Anthony Danella and runner-up Owen Dennen swapping the lead throughout the race. Danella of Methuen was the sole JV time under the 18 minute mark, coming across at 17:55. Dennen of Cumberland was 18:01.4 and Owen Boucher a freshman from Pinkerton came right behind at 18:03.6.
On the team side of things Cumberland stood out fitting 5 in the top 12. Methuen and Pinkerton both had their top group in the top 30.
Girls Varsity 5k
Katie Sobieraj had company at the one mile, but when she reached mile 2 (pictured left) she was all alone. The senior from Oliver Ames took the win in 18:52. Find more on her race including an interview here. Alison Pankowicz of Toll Gate took second and barely missed getting under 19 with a time of 19:00.5. Fiona Lee of Bedford NH crossed at 19:03.5 for third place and ended up with the lone point position in the team battle.
Lee’s efforts for Bedford were coupled with Kelseigh O’Neil who took fourth overall, the duo led the team to 93 points and a second place finish. The top girls team of the day was Marshfield with 74 points. The team was led by Juniors Eleanor Angeles-Whitfield and Ava Brunswick. Marshfield looked to have some strong team running as 3 4 and 5 were within 10 seconds of each other at the 2 mile.
Boys Varsity Red Race
Matthew Giardina of Bishop Guertin set the tone early crossing the mile mark at 4:44. Isaac Mahler of Hall was right on his heals at the one and continued to be in striking distance by the two mile. However the junior from NH proved to be too much Saturday as he clocked the fastest time of the day at 15:36.2. Mahler was the only other athlete to get under 16 as he crossed at 15:47. Brendan Thomas of Oliver Ames took the third place position in 16:01.4.
Not only was it the fastest race of the day, it also proved to be the closest team battle. At 1.5k Cumberland held the lead over Coe-Brown, followed by Reading Memorial. As the race progressed Coe-Brown moved up to first position at the 3k with Reading and Cumberland trailing. The final mile of the race is where the team scramble really got interesting. Coe-Brown hung on to their lead and took the win with 107 points. Just one point behind was Lexington who moved from 10th at 1.5k, to 5th at 3k. Coe-Brown was led by Jamie Lano (6th) and Sanjith Nomula (9th) while Lexington gained ground with Joseph Ryan (5th) and Patrick Noonan (7th)
Boys Varsity Silver Race
The final race of the day also showed to be a memorable one with Ryan Leslie taking it out early. He led by more than 5 seconds at the 1.5k, and more than doubled down by 3.k with a gap of over 15 seconds. Leslie of Billerica Memorial took the win in 16:05.5. Find more on Leslie including an interview here. Atticus Kaye of Somerville was next to cross in 16:26.4 with Patrick Hall of Billerica taking third in 16:52.5.
Having two of the top three spots served Billerica Memorial well in the team battle as they finished with 78 points. It wasn’t enough however as Marshfield who led the team battle the entire way scored 75 points for the top spot. Marshfield was led by Graham Heinrich (5th) and Matt McCabe (6th). Craftsbury edged out Bishop Feehan for third; 134 to 136.