WRENTHAM — On a day in which temperatures barely reached 30 degrees, the St. John’s Prep boys’ cross-country squad warmed up to the task in the MIAA EMass Division 1 Championships Saturday morning at the Wrentham Developmental Center.
The Eagles (61 points) were able to round out their top five finishers within the top 30 spots. As a result, they were 28-point victors over second-place Acton-Boxborough (89), and 43 points ahead of third-place finisher Newton South (104).
“The guys followed the plan today,” said head coach John Boyle. “Every kid you pass is very important, particularly looking at those teams we were trying to beat.”
Boyle said his runners kept a note on their stiffer competitors during the race and, as a result, were able to surpass them.
“We know Acton-Boxborough and Newton South are very good and we knew Lowell is always hanging around, ready to jump on you,” said Boyle.
Senior Steven Jackson was the Eagles’ top finisher with his second-place overall finish (15 minutes 56.93 seconds). Jackson was just two seconds off from taking the individual title, which was won by Franklin’s Tyler Brogan (15:54.91).
“I felt pretty good,” said Jackson. “I knew my place would impact the rest of the team. They sort of run off of me, so I tried to put them in the best position I could.”
Jackson said his goal for the day was to finish in the top five individually.
“[In] the second mile, I actually took the lead, and I felt good from there,” said Jackson. “I worked with the kids around me and finished strong.”
Freshman Nathan Lopez, competing in only his third 5k at the high school level, opened eyes at the meet as the seventh overall finisher, and the second Eagle to cross the finish line (16:08.76).
“I’ve definitely been under the radar this season and not many people know about me,” said Lopez. “It’s also good, because I didn’t have much pressure on me coming in.”
The Eagles will look to continue their winning ways next week in Gardner as they gun for some All-State hardware.
In the most thrilling finish of the day, King Philip’s Michael Griffin (15:34.80) outlasted Concord-Carlisle’s William Chaffin (15:36.86) in the final stretch for D2 individual honors.
“This race was kind of revenge for the Twilight meet,” said Griffin, who was beat by Chaffin at that race.
Concord-Carlisle (59 points) took team honors for D2, nine points ahead of second-place Wellesley (68).
D5 winner Sean Kay of Arlington Catholic finished with one of the top times of the day (15:49.44), which was 15 seconds ahead of Seekonk junior Andrew Cabral (16:04.73). Martha’s Vineyard, with three top 15 finishes, took the team title (74 points).
In D3, Milton dominated in both individual and team honors. Senior Bobby Carew finished first (15:55.23), while his team finished atop the leaderboard by a 38-point margin over Walpole, 82-120.
Senior John Lucey of set the tone for Newburyport (68 points) as his invididual victory (15:56.96) helped his team cruise to a 16-point victory over second-place Wilmington (84).
Cohasset captured D6 team honors, barely edging Ipswich by five points, 104-109. Saint Mary’s senior Taban Manyok (16:27.72) took the individual accolade.
Joe Rice can be reached at email@example.com.