Sydney Masciarelli wins girls’ cross-country national title
As a freshman, Sydney Masciarelli scored 21 goals for the Marianapolis Prep girls’ soccer team in Thompson, Conn.
As a sophomore, the 15-year-old Northbridge resident is the best high school cross-country girls’ runner in the country.
Masciarelli capped a remarkable fall season Saturday morning at the Foot Locker Cross-Country Championships, edging Katelynne Hart (Glyn Ellyn, Ill.) by .7 seconds in a dramatic finish for the national title at Balboa Park in San Diego. She covered the 5K course in 17 minutes, 00.3 seconds, surging past Hart with 100 meters to go.
“I started out toward the back, and I just started picking people off,” said Masciarelli.
“On the first hill I made a move to second or third, and on the second hill I closed the gap with the first-place runner.
“I restored my energy coming down the second hill, and the last 100 meters was a sprint.”
Natick High senior Grace Connolly, who will run collegiately at Stanford, finished eighth in 17:42.
In the boys’ race, Brookline High senior Lucas Aramburu (15:57) placed 18th. The winner of the boys’ race was Cole Hocker (15:13.7) of Indianapolis.
Connolly, the MIAA Division 1 All-State champion, said she didn’t feel her best.
“I just kind of got tired early on,” Connolly said.
“It’s kind of a bummer I couldn’t finish even better, but I’m definitely happy with it. If I could’ve finished higher, I would’ve been super happy.”
One of her goals was to beat her ninth-place finish from 2016 at the nationals.
Aramburu said of his 18th-place finish, “It’s not what I dreamed of, but it’s certainly within what I had hoped for. I expected Top 20, and I dreamed of Top 10.
“I’m happy that I finished strong, and I’m just grateful to everyone at Foot Locker and my coach for all his time taking me to meets and everything.”
In advance of her trip, Masciarelli watched videos of the course, which consists of two major hills and some other smaller ones. Temperatures were in the upper 60s.
“I liked [the course] a lot,” Masciarelli said. “It looked different in person than on the videos.”
Connolly said the course was tough. “You think there’s just two massive hills, but you underestimate the smaller hills. Those hills come up quickly.”
Masciarelli played soccer her freshman year with some success, and ran indoor track last winter.
“Coming off of track reminded me how much I love to run,” she said. “I started running in third grade, so it was really easy to go back.
“I’m excited and happy. It’s just great to see my hard work pay off.”