WRENTHAM — Tewksbury sophomore Mike Famiglietti woke up Saturday morning knowing instantly that he was sick.
Fearing his coach would stop him from competing in the EMass cross-country finals slated for the afternoon at the Wrentham Developmental Center, Famiglietti kept quiet.
Sixty-nine of the 168 runners finished the 5-kilometer course before Famiglietti — including five of his teammates — making his finish the first alternate in the event of a tie.
So when the final team scores came in and the Redmen found themselves deadlocked with Wellesley atop the Division 3 leaderboard with 114 points, it was Famiglietti’s finish that gave Tewksbury its first boys’ EMass championship.
Famiglietti finished in 17 minutes 54.1 seconds, good for 70th in Division 3, but more important, nearly 10 seconds ahead of Wellesley’s sixth-place finisher.
“Mike’s one of the toughest kids I’ve ever coached,” said Tewksbury coach Peter Fortunato. “He’s been our most consistent all year. I found out after the race that he was sick and I asked him why he didn’t tell me and he told me: ‘No excuses, Coach.’
“He had the right attitude and he was the reason why we won.”
The top four teams from each division and one wild-card team (BC High) qualified for the state championship next weekend, an honor Tewksbury missed out on by one place last year.
“It hurt,” said Fortunato. “But we learned from it and a year ago today we said, ‘You know what, things are going to be different next time.’ ”
Thanks to Corey Thomas (sixth overall, 16:19.3), Brian Amaral (10th), Joseph Darrigo (19th), Anthony Darrigo (24th), Nick Souza (55th), and Famiglietti, they were.
“Over the summer they were running upwards of 70 miles a week,” said Fortunato. “I couldn’t ask for a better team. Today’s my birthday and they just delivered me a championship, unbelievable.”
Lowell placed four runners in the top 10 to run away with its third Division 1 EMass title in four years, with 47 points. Newton North (122) placed a distant second.
“The boys were feeling a little pressure to do well because they’ve been looked up to be the team to win it all, but I think we ran relaxed today,” said Lowell coach Phil Maia. “I just told them that they didn’t need to do anything other than what they’ve been doing all season.”
Methuen’s Mike O’Donnell turned in the fastest time of the day, finishing the course in 15:27.
Division 2 went to Chelmsford (53) for the first time since 1988. The Lions had six boys turn in sub-17-minute finishes and needed it to top Cambridge (87), who had freshman Sam Stubbs (15:59.9) surprise the field and take the division’s individual honors.
“It means a lot because it’s been almost 25 years since the last time they’ve won it,” said Chelmsford coach Brian Crane. “We’ve always said that if we can get five guys under 17 [minutes] on this course, we’ll be mixing it up with the best of them. Today, we did that.”
Pembroke took home the Division 4 title, placing all five of its runners in the top 15 to turn in the lowest score of the day (36).
Division 5 was won by Newburyport (81) and Division 6 went to a deep Seekonk team (66), which won despite failing to place a runner in the top five.