In the final home race of her high school career Tuesday, Needham’s Caroline Turner finished a five-kilometer course in 20 minutes, 41 seconds, propelling the Needham girls’ cross-country team to the program’s first Bay State title with a 19-36 victory over Wellesley.
“The girls are thrilled,” said Needham coach Cara O’Connell. “[The title] has been a goal of them all, and it became apparent very quickly that we had a very strong team.“
After finishing one win away from the Bay State crown last fall, Needham (11-0) took care of defending champion Weymouth early in the season by a score of 23-33. That paved the way for Needham to take control of the league, but winning out the rest of the season wasn’t easy.
The Rockets narrowly edged perennial powerhouse Newton North, taking the meet, 28-29, before rattling off the final four wins in dominating fashion.
Needham’s success has come from a mix of talent and experience. While Turner has paced the Rockets all season, the return of fellow senior captain Hallie Armstrong from injury has helped the team focus on higher expectations.
And those expectations have rubbed off on even the youngest runners, including freshmen Margie Cullen, Sarah Armstrong, and Juliann Donovan, who have all made significant contributions to the team in their first varsity season.
“The key to our success has been consistency,” said O’Connell. “The girls have been running really well every week. Our top seven haven’t had a bad race. They’ve just all gone out and done what they needed to do.”
Though the Rockets’ regular season is over, they’ll have one more chance to showcase their talents as they compete in the Bay State Conference Championships this Saturday at Coakley Middle School in Norwood. After that, the Rockets will have to wait two weeks before in the EMass playoffs.
Plymouth North 27, Mansfield 30 — Senior Nicole Barofski led the Blue Eagles (7-1), winning the race in 18:53 on the 3-mile course.
Needham 26, Wellesley 29 — Junior Adrian Amaya helped the Rockets to victory, setting a course record on the 3.2 mile with a time of 16:24.
Newton North 23, Brookline 32 — The win locked up the Bay State Conference championship for the Tigers (10-1).
Framingham 2, Brookline 1 —Goals by Bryant Nardizzi and Lorran Cancado lifted the Flyers (8-5-3) to a tournament berth.
North Shore 3, West Roxbury 2 — The Bulldogs (7-6-4) qualified for the state tournament behind a two-goal effort from senior striker Cristian Scopa.
Brockton 1, New Bedford 0 — Senior Kevin Fontes netted the winner with seven minutes to play as the Boxers (7-6-2) stunned the fourth-ranked Whalers (12-2-2).
BC High 2, Catholic Memorial 0 — The No. 13 Eagles (12-2-2) received got two goals from senior forward Zach Sanborn.
Nauset 3, Plymouth South 0 — Cody Savonen netted a hat trick to lead the No. 14 Warriors (12-1-3) to the Atlantic Coast League championship.
Oliver Ames 6, Sharon 0 — David Stapleton’s four assists helped the 18th-ranked Tigers (12-2-3) clinch at least a share of the Hockomock (Davenport) League title.
Chelsea 3, Greater Lowell 0 — The No. 20 Red Devils (13-0-1) remained undefeated behind Junior Rivera’s shutout.
Westford 1, Lincoln-Sudbury 0 — The top-ranked Warriors took their first loss as the No. 10 Grey Ghosts (10-3-1) got a goal from Lauren Steele on an assist by Krya Kruger.
Franklin 7, King Philip 0 — Senior Kristi Kirshe netted two goals and an assist for the No. 3 Panthers (15-0).
Newton North 4, Needham 0 — Shannon Fitzgerald (two goals, one assist) and Christina Callahan (one goal, one assist) led the Tigers (11-2-4) over the No. 7 Rockets.
Central Catholic 2, North Andover 0 — The No. 5-ranked Raiders (12-0-2) defeated the 16th-ranked Knights with help from juniors Megan Rauseo and Courtney Walsh, who each scored.
Plymouth North 2, Marshfield 1 — The Eagles (11-3-2) moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic Coast League, defeating the No. 12 Rams with second-half goals by Madison Finlay and Brianna Malaguti.
Natick 2, Wellesley 1 — The Red and Blue (7-3-5) qualified for the state tournament with goals from sophomore Jamie Kuehnapfel.
Walpole 10, Norwood 0 — Junior Brooke Matherson led the No. 2 Rebels (17-0) with four goals.
Apponequet 5, Bishop Stang 1 — Seniors Nicole Dion and Olivia Pink each netted two goals for the No. 11 Lakers (16-0-1).
Methuen 102, Lowell 79 — Katie Leahy won the 100m breaststroke (1:32.54).
Haverhill 98, Central Catholic 80 — Sarah Broderick won both the 50-free and the 50-back to lead the Hillies (8-1-1).
Wellesley 3, Milton 0 — Susannah Phillips (eight kills) and Sara Wojciechowski (eight aces, 16 assists) led the No. 8 Raiders in straight sets, 25-9, 25-15, 25-16.
Needham 3, Braintree 1 — The Rockets (11-6) were able to win with help from senior Rachel Norton, who had 20 assists, and sophomore Amy McKinney, who had 36 digs.
Drapeau to Loyola
Westford Academy lacrosse standout Jay Drapeau committed to Loyola University in Maryland.
The junior attack netted 95 goals and 27 assists last spring. His career totals stand at 145 goals and 52 assists.
The All American also plays hockey for the Grey Ghosts.