NORTHFIELD — Jonathan Green and Catarina Rocha made it look easy when each cruised to victory in their respective 5K races at Saturday’s Bay State Invitational at Northfield Mountain.
Green, a senior at St. John’s of Shrewsbury, won the Division 1 boys’ varsity race with a time of 15:54.3, more than 20 seconds better than second-place finisher Nathaniel Adams of Lexington (16:15.7). Rocha, a senior at Peabody, blew away all challengers in the Division 1 girls’ race with a time of 18:49.4, well ahead of Acton-Boxboro’s Christine Davis, who finished second in 20:11.6.
Despite their convincing results, each attested to the difficulty of running the elevated course.
“The race hurt from beginning to end, that’s for sure,” Green said. “I definitely made some mistakes running it. I didn’t know if I wanted to go out that fast, but I’m happy with the result, definitely happy with the win.”
Green’s classmate Alex Crowley finished in seventh place in 17:00.9, helping the Pioneers take first place as a team with 60 points. Lexington took second with 126 points, followed by Cambridge with 132.
The defending Division 1 All-State cross-country champion, Green said he will continue to tweak his approach before the MIAA All-State meet Nov. 17, also at Northfield Mountain.
Rocha, also a reigning all-state champion in Division 1, cited patience as an important aspect of running the Northfield course, though she admitted being caught off-guard.
“It was a little bit surprising,” she said. “It’s a really tough course. This hill, if you run it right, if you run it conservative, then you’ll be good. I think the hardest part is the end because you get really tired by then.”
The Tanners girls took first place as a team with 88 points, thanks to a fifth-place finish from Lauren Barrett (20:30.6) and a seventh-place finish from Sam Allen (20:48.8). Lexington finished second as a team with 105 points, followed in third by Notre Dame Academy of Hingham with 130.
Bishop Feehan once again proved itself tops in Division 2 with both the boys and girls finishing with the best team scores. Coach Bob L’Homme said his team has been preparing much of the season by practicing on elevated courses.
“On Saturdays we don’t stick by our campus, we take a road trip somewhere and find where there are some hills,” he said. “We’ve been working on the hills all preseason and up until a couple of weeks ago.”
Feehan’s Evan Grandfield (16:56.7) and Mike Hanley (16:59.1) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the boys’ race, guiding the Shamrocks to a team score of 68. Newburyport — which boasted race winner Nick Carleo (16:20.4) — finished second as a team with 88 points, while Hopedale was third with 117.
Erin Dietz of Bedford won the Division 2 girls’ race with a time of 19:20.9, followed by Bishop Feehan’s Abbey McNulty in 19:33.5. McNulty and teammate Brynna Harum, who finished 10th in 20:26.4, led the Shamrocks to a top team finish with 77 points. Ursuline (93 points) and Hamilton-Wenham (97 points) took second and third respectively.