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McNulty, Rocha run away from competition

Peabody’s Catarina Rocha won the Division 1 girls’ race at Wrentham Developmental Center by more than 50 seconds.


Peabody’s Catarina Rocha won the Division 1 girls’ race at Wrentham Developmental Center by more than 50 seconds.

WRENTHAM — In two of Saturday’s six EMass cross-country championship races at Wrentham Development Center, the eventual winners paid more attention to how they felt instead of their split time.

In their respective 5k races, they broke the tape with at least a 40-second gap between them and the next finisher.

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Bishop Feehan junior Abbey McNulty finished the Division 4 race in 17 minutes 53.8 seconds, almost 44 seconds ahead of Hopkinton sophomore Shelby Aarden and 20 seconds off her personal best.

“This is definitely my best race,” she said. “I just felt good today . . . a good time comes with a good place, so since I was in first, really the time wasn’t my goal but it came with it.”

McNulty’s showing — the second-best girls finish of the day — led Bishop Feehan to its eighth straight Division 4 title, as all seven runners finished in the top 16, good for 40 points.

“It was something we were planning for and hoping for,” Bishop Feehan coach Bob L’Homme said. “The whole team has actually been running really, really well. We were hoping for the results we saw today.”

The day’s best time belonged to Peabody senior Catarina Rocha, who clocked a 17:27.4 as she cruised into first place in the Division 1 race, nearly 51 seconds faster than Newton South freshman Rebecca Grusby.

“It was good,” Rocha said. “I just ran it like any other race, take it out and hopefully keep the pace going at the end.”

As a team, Peabody finished in third place with 117 points. Lowell, which had four runners in the top 14, took home the division’s top prize (83). Lexington (106) finished second.

For the first 2 miles of the Division 2 race, the top five runners were pushing through the course elbow to elbow. But as they rounded the turn after the second marker, Needham freshman Margie Cullen pulled ahead to win in 18:53.4.

Needham, which had three runners in the top eight, took second place with 55 points, finishing just behind Lincoln-Sudbury (51), which had four finishers in the top 12.

For the second Saturday in a row on the Wrentham Development Center course, Falmouth’s Lauren O’Neil won her division, crossing in 18:42.4 in the Division 3 race. Belmont freshman Leah Brams finished in second at 19:05.5.

Whitman-Hanson placed five girls in the top 14, snagging the title with 51 points.

In Division 5, Bedford sophomore Erin Dietz finished in first in 18:41.0, followed by Emily Weigand of Hamilton-Wenham (18:55.4).

Weston’s top five runners were bunched between seventh and 16th place as the Wildcats took the team title with 53 points, preventing second-place Hamilton-Wenham (74) from winning its eighth consecutive title.

Ipswich senior Sarah Keiran crossed the line in the Division 6 race in 18:41.8, followed by Sarah Saccoach of Archbishop Williams in 18:50.5.

Urusline Academy grabbed the winning team score with 96 points, with Maddie Wolfe finishing 13th in 19:57.1. Lynnfield took second with 100 points.

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