NEWTON – Newton South senior Caroline Barry led for the entirety of Saturday’s Division 1 Eastern Mass. Cross Country Championships at a very cold and windy Wrentham course.
But the lead had shrunk to about five seconds as she headed toward the final half mile with a game Olivia Sheffield closing the gap.
“Caroline looked strong and had more left,” South coach Steve McChesney said. “I was able to communicate to Caroline that the gap had closed and she responded by running a super last 800. She put the hammer down and made sure that the race was over as she doubled her lead.
“Caroline was in control of the race from the start and she left little doubt about who was going to be the winner.”
Barry wound up first in the race in a time of 18 minutes, 26.95 seconds that beat Sheffield by nearly 10 full seconds. Newton North senior Einat Gavish was third in 18:49.68.
“For her to repeat her best time of 18:26 on such a cold day is remarkable,” McChesney said.
Barry becomes the seventh Division 1 champion in South program history.
“I told Caroline going into the race that she was the best miler in the field and had the best finish,” McChesney said, “so going out a bit cautious in the first mile was to her advantage. She ran a very smart first mile running with the lead pack and waiting to make her move. She came through the first mile 20 seconds slower than her DCL mile and that allowed her to pull away at the finish.
“Caroline is adding a total grasp of tactics to her tremendous strength.”
Newton nearly doubled up with Eastern Mass. champions, but North’s Andrew Mah came up a bit short in the Division 1 boys race with a second-place finish in 15:21.76.
The Tigers had Ian Horsbugh fourth in 15:49.52, Ilai Gavish 19th in 16:22.10 and Jacob Jampel 23rd in 16:33.86 in finishing third as a team and qualifying for this Saturday’s All-States.
The South girls just missed qualifying for All-States as they were seventh overall in Division 1 and missed the wild card entry by about 10 seconds as a team.
Running without two of their top five runners, the Lions could not overcome the top teams in Division 1 despite Hannah Fraser finishing 24th in 20:00.35 and Aria Sonderling 25th in 20:04.43.
“Their plan was to work together and move up together,” McChesney said. “Hannah has developed great cross country instincts in such a short time as she has become really good at finding the passing lanes and keeps moving through the pack.
“This time Aria and Hannah shared the work load and by the mile they had worked up into the low 30s. The second half of the race they were able to get pass about 10 more runners. It was exciting to watch them run with such focus and also so fast.”
Rose Teszler was 17th overall for the North girls in 19:47.92 with Helen Teixeira-Dasilva 44th in 20:35.6. The North girls finished just behind the Lions in eighth as a team, while also missing a key runner.
Brett Miller was the top runner for the South boys at 16:39.15.
Scott Souza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.