ATTLEBORO — The location was different, the safety protocols were new, but the feeling was just the same.
The Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association Frank Kelley Invitational took place Sunday giving 408 runners from across the state the chance to compete in a cross-country race.
“It was a big undertaking for a lot of different people. Everybody put their heads together and thought of different unique ways to make this happen. Just to give some kids some normalcy,” said Woburn coach and meet director James Fletcher.
The race, which is normally staged at the Wrentham Developmental Center, was held at Highland Park in Attleboro since the Wrentham location was unavailable due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the day, 41 different waves of runners (23 for boys and 18 for girls) toed the starting line. No more than 12 runners were allowed in a wave, allowing for plenty of space and distance between the competitors. The event, which normally sees team entries, only allowed for individual runners.
“In terms of meet management and officiating, it’s almost easier because they’re smaller groups of people to deal with at a time,” said Westborough coach and MSTCA cross country committee member Jeremy Nute. “We don’t have tons of people trying to come in at once.”
Prior to the race, masks had to be kept on and the runners were only allowed to take them off one minute prior to the race starting. Each runner needed to keep their mask during the race as they were required to put them on immediately following completion.
Once the race started though, it was business as usual.
“This was the perfect race for my level that I’m at right now. Some of our dual meets that we’ve been having are a little on the lower side of competition so it’s just really good to have somebody with you,” said Bishop Feehan junior Patrick Healy.
Seekonk High senior Andrew Cabral echoed the same sentiment.
“I’m ecstatic. I love running races and just to have this be open to me is a blessing,” Cabral said. “I feel very safe and I felt like they did a very good job with the waves.”
Despite the fact that the runners loved getting back out there, many challenges were still in play.
“You’re dealing with two things. Normally, you can warm up on the course. You couldn’t do that today. And normally, your races are bigger. So unless you plan on leading, you really don’t need to know the course,” Fletcher said.
Sydney Mascarelli, a senior at Marianapolis Prep (Conn.), had no knowledge of the course prior to running it. However, it didn’t prove to be a problem.
Mascarelli, a Northbridge native and University of North Carolina commit, set a course record with a blazing time of 17 minutes 56.5 seconds, which was more than a full minute faster than runner-up Molly Lashley, a junior at Whitinsville Christian School (19:09.2), and Groton-Dunstable senior Sydney Adams, who finished third (19:18.3).
“This year I haven’t had any real cross country races. I’ve just done two on the track and one on the road, so this was definitely a challenging course,” Mascarelli said. “It was definitely hard because you don’t know where the hills are and stuff like that.”
For the boys, Marblehead senior Loeden Rodrigues posted the top time, coming in at 15:54.8. Two other runners, Wellesley senior David Donahue and Oliver Ames senior Kyle Sarney cracked the 16-minute mark over the 5-kilometer course.
“I couldn’t be happier with how it’s gone," Fletcher said. “It was a big goal that we set out for ourselves, to create some experience for the student-athletes this year in cross country and I think we were able to do that.”
Results MSTCA Frank Kelley Invitational
Boys' Top 10
1. Loeden Rodrigues, senior, Marblehead, 15:54.8
2. David Donahue, senior, Wellesley, 15:55.1
3. Kyle Sarney, senior, Oliver Ames, 15:59.0
4. Sebastian Gilligan, senior, Masconomet Regionall,16:04.5
5. Nathan Lopez, sophomore,St. John’s Prep, 16:06.9
6. Kyler McNatt, junior, Needham, 16:09.3
7. Sam Burgess, sophomore, Framingham, 16:14.6
8. Noah Mooney, senior St. John’s Prep, 16:16.6
9. Andrew Cabral, senior, Seekonk, 16:18.4
10. Colin Caso, senior, Uxbridge, 16:22.8
Girls' Top 10
1. Sydney Masciarelli, senior, Marianapolis Prep (Conn.), 17:56.5
2. Molly Lashley, junior, Whitinsville Christian, 19:08.2
3. Sydney Adams, senior, Groton-Dunstable Regional,19:18.3
4. Isabelle Nobili, senior, Nauset Regional, 19:29.1
5. Mykenzie Black, senior, Hopedale, 19:42.3
6. Sonja Nagle, senior,Brookline, 19:43.1
7. Lauren Augustyn, freshman, Bishop Feehan, 19:43.4
8. Nicole Dunbury, senior, Brockton, 19:43.8
9. Riley Clark, junior, Littleton,19:48.2
10. Finleigh Simonds, sophomore, Haverhill,19:48.7
Holliston 4, Hopkinton 0 — The host Panthers (2-0-2) toppled the Hillers (0-2-2) in the Tri-Valley League matchup behind two goals and an assist from sophomore Ryan Foley. Junior Ben Siegel also added a goal and two assists, and senior Ben Kapno scored for the first time in his varsity career.
Medfield 5, Millis 0 — The Warriors improved to 4-0 with a senior day win over the Mohawks.
Medway 5, Bellingham 1 — Christian Perugini and Danny MacDonald tallied two goals apiece to lead the Mustangs (3-0-1) to a Tri-Valley League win.
Lincoln-Sudbury 7, Westford 1 — With hat tricks from junior Natalie Kennedy and senior Sarah Molloy, the Warriors cruised to a Dual County League victory.
Medway 7, Bellingham 0 — Aiden Murphy and Julia Berger each notched a pair of goals for the Mustangs in the Tri-Valley League win.
Holliston 1, Hopkinton 0 — Senior Megan Putvinski scored the only goal to put the Panthers over the Hillers in the Tri-Valley League matchup.
Medfield 5, Millis 0 — The Warriors improved to 4-0 behind five goals from five players.