WRENTHAM — “Nothing special, they’re just city kids with the will to win,” said Lowell coach Phil Maia.
Living up to their legacy, the Red Raiders edged Cambridge by 1 point, securing 80 points to Cambridge’s 81 at the Wrentham Developmental Center to win their third consecutive MIAA EMass Cross-Country championship.
“Everyone’s coming after you,” Maia told his team before the race. “We have a target on our back.”
Working as a team, the Red Raiders remained together in a tight-knit pack for the first 2 miles. “When we run as a group, we run successful,” said Maia. “We were a little broken up at first, but we found each other at the end.”
Red Raiders senior Larry Carney explained: “In that third mile, you’ve got to give it your all.”
Carney and his teammates began to pick off the competition one by one.
With a lead-from-the-front philosophy, Xaverian senior Lucas Taxter began with a fast 4:46 mile.
“I knew it was a big pack and I didn’t want to be pinned down by the turns,” Taxter said. “I wanted to get away from the mess.”
Taxter placed first in the Division 1 race, covering the 3.1-mile course in 15:23.5.
Peabody sophomore Marcelo Rocha (15:35.9) was second and Methuen junior Jeff Reddy (15:36.8) finished third. Carney (eighth, 15:56.5), Anthony Rodriguez (ninth, 15:57), and Sean Bryan (16th, 16:14.0) led the Lowell contingent.
Despite the narrow loss, Cambridge remains a threat as coaches begin to ready their teams for the All-State meet Saturday at Franklin Park.
“We’re going to come in confident and win our race” said Cambridge coach Scott Cody.
Senior Quinn Cooney of Chelmsford kicked hard with 600 meters left in the Division 2 race to cross in 15:37.2, edging Billerica’s PJ Garman (15:49.1). Mansfield senior Mike Dugan was third (15:52.9) to lead the Hornets to the team title (79 points).
In Division 3, senior Matthew Dynan of Reading kicked hard to the finish to win in 16:00.7. He was pursued by Hingham junior Michael Durkin (16:08.3) and Winchester’s Jacob Zuck (16:13.6). After a hectic finish, with many runners hitting the dirt, Walpole emerged as the team winner with 88 points.
Senior Austin Scola of Medfield took first place in Division 4 in 15:43.2, closely followed by Tewksbury senior Mike Famiglietti (15:46.3). Junior Andrew Ernst led Marblehead to a comfortable 63-point team win with his third-place finish (15:51.6).
Senior Nick Carleo of Newburyport won the Division 5 race with an effortless 15:36.9, leaving plenty of space before Pentucket’s Alex Demeule (16:20.3) and Seekonk’s Nick Accardi (16:27.8) crossed.
Despite Carleo’s victory, Newburyport and Hamilton-Wenham tied with 72 points, with the team title being decided by H-W’s sixth man, senior Jack Blatchford (17:36.5).
In the Division 6 race, senior Adam Petti from West Bridgewater finished strong in 16:09.8, followed by Coyle-Cassidy’s Scott McCluskey (16:26.0) and Nicholas Passarelli of Innovation Charter (16:41.7). Manchester Essex won the team title with 42 points.