Although the Pembroke boys’ cross-country team competes in Division 2, it finished as champions Saturday night in the Division 1 race of the third annual Bob McIntyre Twilight meet in Falmouth.
The team’s top runners were permitted to compete in Division 1 for the race, while Pembroke’s eighth through 14th runners remained in Division 2. The switch appeared to pay off for Pembroke senior Christian Stafford, who took second in 15 minutes 12 seconds, close behind King Philip senior Owen Gonser (15:11). Pembroke runners also finished seventh, 16th, and 21st.
“This was the most competitive race I’ve ever had,” Stafford said. “I wanted to show we can compete at a Division 1 level.”
After coming in second at the Twilight meet last year, Gonser also wanted to make sure to push harder this season.
“I didn’t want that to happen two years in a row,” Gonser said. “My goal was to win.”
KP coach Juli Nievergelt was glad to see Gonser take first, but was not necessarily surprised at the outcome.
“We were training for 15:20, but this is a fast course, there’s a lot of adrenaline and it helps to stay focused,” Nievergelt said. “I know if he had a PR, this would have been it. I want him to run with the most competitive groups of kids and reach his full potential.”
Bishop Feehan senior Abbie McNulty won the girls’ Division 1 race in 17:08, finishing more than a minute ahead of the next runner.
“I need to get out in front of the pack,” McNulty said. “I felt good after the first mile and tried to hold it, tried to keep a good pace.”
Despite McNulty’s impressive record this season, including running the fifth-fastest time nationally in a 5k, she says she still brings the same attitude to the starting line each meet.
“I never underplay anything,” McNulty said. “I always have to be in that competitive mode.”
The boys’ Division 2 champion was senior Paul Hogan of Burlington (15:11), who finished second in last year’s Division 2 All-State meet.
“I needed to get out to a fast start, I didn’t want to get boxed in,” Hogan said. “I broke away with about 1,000 meters left and gave it my all.”
Marblehead’s Janaya Randall won the Division 2 girls’ race in 18:23.
One thing that was new for Randall and Hogan, as well most other runners in the meet, was the night start.
“You can’t pace yourself,” said Hogan. “The darkness makes you feel faster.”
“I loved racing at night,” said Randall. “You can get into the zone easier. You feel alone.”
St. John’s Prep 3, CM 0 — Peter Kilcommons, Paul Magazzu, and Mike Lanza scored for the Eagles (12-1-2).
Central Catholic 3, La Salle (R.I.) 0 — Courtney Walsh had a goal and an assist for the No. 1-ranked Raiders.
Beverly 5, Swampscott 0 — Senior Nicole Woods had three goals as the Panthers won the Northeastern Conference title for the sixth year in a row.