We knew it wouldn’t disappoint.
But seriously, does it ever?
The Meet of Champions (MOC) at Fort Devens was everything we expected this past weekend for the multitude of runners that poured their hearts out on the grounds of Willard Park. It always great to see the excitement and enthusiasm that these championship meets bring each and every year and that was clearly evident during a well-worth-it four-plus hours watching our state’s best.
Here’s few other things inside our head.
As we all know, it’s not just about individuals or the star athletes when we’re talking about sports. In most cases, competing together as team is of the utmost importance. Particularly when it comes to cross country, the difference between a team winning and/or placing among the top squads at a championship meet like the MOC, is a team effort and often determined by the placement of each one of those seven varsity runners that laces up their racing shoes. While the top five count in the scoring, each one can, and often does, make a difference in the outcome.
Away from the competition, those teams are not only formulated by the workouts and longs runs, but the all-important team-bonding events, such as spaghetti dinners, cookouts or out-of-state competitions and overnight stays at the nearby hotel. All of that works in creating a team, creating lifelong friends and memories.
For the last several years, teams like the Newton South boys have done other traditional things to demonstrate their unity, have a little fun and provide some motivation when competing at the season-ending meets. For the last several years, the Lions certainly have stuck out from their peers, and it’s not because of their bright orange singlets. It’s the color of their hair. Each year, the seven varsity runners dyes their hair bleach blonde for the meet. Not sure they’ve done it before, but the boys from Parker Charter, and even their coach Ben Benoit, made sure their manes grabbed some attention, too. The Panthers and Benoit each sported a Mohawk for this weekend’s meet. Does stuff like this work in sparking a little motivation? You be the judge. On Saturday, Newton South finished second in a loaded Division 1 race and Parker Charter claimed the Division 3 crown.
Yes, championship time is our favorite time of the season, be it cross-country, indoor or outdoor track. It’s like Christmastime for us here at Bay State Running three more times a year. What we also enjoy seeing throughout the year, and particularly at the season-ending championship meets, is the consistent coverage this great sport gets from a few familiar faces that our athletes have grown accustomed to. Our goal at BSR has always been to provide you with the best coverage we can whenever we arrive on site to witness the greatness that our athletes always seem to show us. But we’re certainly not the only show in town. In addition to other reporters that are assigned to cover an occasional meet, you can always count on Boston Herald reporter Joe Reardon and Coach H to always be there, doing their thing for a sport that often seems secondary to most other media types. Like the teams out on the course, we consider us also a teamwith the sole purpose of making sure our coaches, athletes and schools are getting their just due for all their hard work and effort they expand throughout the season, and throughout the year..
Cross country is a grind. It’s not easy. You don’t believe us? Position yourself near the finish the next time you go to watch a race. Look at the faces as each runner crosses the line. You’ll see some jubilation by runners after win or setting a PR. You’ll also see the look of disappointment from others that may not have achieved what they set out to do. But the one consistent is that the look of pain after completing their journey. That never seems to change. The other constant is the sportsmanship displayed by our athletes. Some people may say that we’re a little biased when we say this, but it’s like no other sport. We see it all the time, and it was no different this past weekend. Often times officials had to try and move things along in the finish line area, which turned into a spot where it seemed nearly every runner was congratulating not only their teammates but their fellow rivals on the course.
The future certainly looks bright.
We had several underclassmen that were among our top finishers at the MOC. For the girls, four runners broke 19 minutes and a few more were on the cusp of doing the same.
Sophomore Abigail Hennessey of Westford Academy was the fastest among the group. She finished sixth in the Div. 1 race with a time of 18:48.0. Just a few strides behind was another frosh with Wachusett’s Naomi Witt taking ninth at 18:49.56. Wellesley tenth-grader Emma Tuxbury was tenth with a time of 19:05.63. In Div. 2, Whitinsville Christian’s Emily Flagg (18:54.68) and Canton’s Lauren Raffetto (18:58.54) finished 3-4 with sub-19 efforts. Oxford’s Cameron Davis was third in Div. 3 where she was timed in 19:02.92.
On the boys’ side, Patrick Noonan, a freshman from Lexington, was the quickest on Saturday. He was 14th in Div. 1 where he clocked 16:05.12 for the 3.1-mile course.
In Div. 2, Groton Dunstable freshman Greyson Duane (fifth, 16:11.30) and Monument Mountain sophomore Everett Pacheco (tenth,16:34.66) placed in the top 10.
Now onto the Foot Locker and Nike northeast regional meets where our MA athletes have a good chance of making some noise at both competitions. Good luck!
And from all of here at BSR, have a great Thanksgiving!