WRENTHAM — The 0.09 of a second that separated Janelle Solviletti from Sutton’s Jessie Cardin were enough for Arlington Catholic to sweep the first place spots in the Division 2 girls and boys junior-senior cross-country meet at the 37th Annual MSTCA Invitational Saturday at the Wrentham Developmental Center.
“It’s awesome. We never guessed that would happen,” Solviletti said.
The senior said she took the lead roughly 600 meters into the 3.1 mile course and held through the corner turn before the second mile. As she rounded through the snakelike bends before the final hills, Cardin picked up her pace and began to close the gap.
“I just kept pushing, I felt good so I just kept going,” Solviletti said. “The hills were pretty hard . . . towards the end when that girl came up, I tried to kick some energy to do it at the end.
She broke the tape at 18:59.3. Cardin finished at 19:00.2.
Division 2 boys’ junior-senior — Solviletti’s classmate Kevin Connors had eight seconds between him and East Bridgewater’s Tanner Picklus as the top four runners broke the 17-minute mark.
With a half-mile to go, Connors said he could hear his coach in his ear telling him to use the course’s hills to his advantage.
“[I] picked it up on the downhill and tried to keep picking up and kicking in the whole way,” he said.
After struggling with the second mile in previous meets this season, he said he was pleased with Saturday’s race, and posted a 16:40.4.
“The second mile has been killing me,” Connors said. “I had those guys, I just tried to stick on their backs. They ran real well. They were pacing it very well so I was to just stay on them and run a good second mile.”
Picklus took second in 16:48.5. Hopedale teammates Paul Maurais and Matt Doran rounded out the top four with times of 16:49.1 and 16:57.1, respectively.
Division 2 girls’ sophomore — Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, only two days separated the Tri-Valley League Championships and Saturday’s invitational, but for Dover-Sherborn’s Michelle Alessandro, it wasn’t a problem.
She broke away from the pack just before the first mile and shocked her coaches, having shaved 30 seconds from her fourth-place league finish on Thursday (20:04).
“Two days ago she was dropping some times there,” coach Toni Milebourn said. “We just came in here to get some exposure to the course for divisional next week . . . her posting that time was a shock to her, as well as to us.”
The 19:34.3 was 55 seconds ahead of No. 2 Lauren Bird from Hopedale (20:29).
“I felt good. It was supposed to be a tempo pace,” Alessandro said. “But I felt really good in the first mile, went a little fast but I was able to maintain it so I felt controlled.”
Division 2 boys’ sophomore — Hopedale had three top three finishes on the day, including Yaroslav Borodenko’s bronze medal performance of 17:05.6.
Bromfield School’s Price Day won the race by 13 seconds, finishing at 16:47.4. Jamison Koeman of Whitinsville was second in 17:00.9.
Division 1 girls’ junior-senior — Through the first mile and half, Haverhill’s Riley Gilmore and Katrina Shepherd of Dracut were neck and neck, but by the last turn, Gilmore had a sizable lead.
“We started off together. I really like running with people, it really pushes me,” she said. “Once I started putting distance between us, I just tried to make it much as possible.”
That gap totaled 11 seconds at the finish line between her finish of 19:09.9 to Mansfield’s Sami Carey’s 19:28.0. Shepherd finished in fifth at 19:47.2.
Division 1 boys’ junior-senior — Newton South’s junior Allen Shiu posted the best time of the day at 16:22.0, finishing 21 seconds ahead of Mike Schlichting of Newton North (16:41.4).
Shiu wasn’t sure when he pulled ahead but credited the noise level along the course to keep him going.
“The cheering really helped the atmosphere,” he said.
Division 1 girls’ sophomore — With a lead of 14 seconds, Falmouth sophomore Lauren O’Neil easily took first place in 19:01.1.
“I went out a little too fast,” she said. “I just kind of ran my own pace, and did my own thing and didn’t really worry about anyone else.”
Emily Bryson of North Quincy was second in 19:15.5. Natick’s Sarah Lagan finished in 19:19.0.
Division 1 boys’ sophomore — Esitya Elemseged of Cambridge said he wasn’t trying to run fast.
But his one-mile split of 5:10 would prove otherwise, although he said his hard mile pace is 4:54. He crossed the line at 16:33.6, just three seconds ahead of Billericas’s P.J. Garmon (16:36.2).
“I wasn’t running that fast,” Elemseged said. “It wasn’t that hard.”