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St. John’s boys stay the course to win Division 1 championship

The St. John’s Prep cross-country team rolled to the Division 1 All-State title at Gardner Municipal Golf Course on Saturday, edging runner-up Wellesley by 14 points. SCOTT SOUZA

GARDNER – When St. John’s Prep boys’ cross country coach John Boyle watched his team jog away on a warm-down run about 15 minutes after the end of Saturday’s Division 1 State Championships he was thinking about what he was going to tell the runners in a consolation speech.

When the Eagles came racing back down the Gardner Municipal Golf Course to bring Boyle news of a team championship, it was pure elation for the coach who has been with the program as an assistant or head coach since 1969.

“I probably made a fool of myself screaming and yelling because it feels so good,” Boyle said. “This is so hard to have happen. You have to have so many things go right. We had something go wrong. To have something go wrong, and still be able to pull it out, it brings a low to an incredible height.”


St. John’s lost senior No. 5 runner Connor Hughes to an ankle sprain around the second mile, but still edged second-place Wellesley (122) by 14 points with the help of three runners in the top 22. Senior Steven Jackson led the Eagles in fourth in 16:24, freshman Nathan Lopez was 14th in 16:36 and junior George Nikolakopoulos was 22nd in 16:47.

King Philip senior Mike Griffin, who recently committed to run at the University of Tennessee, won the Div. 1 race in 16:06 with Concord-Carlisle senior William Chaffin second in 16:13.

“I could see his shadow when I looked down,” Griffin said of Chaffin entering the stretch run. “So I kept pushing and pushing. Then I put up a final surge in the final straightaway and that just broke it.”

Arlington Catholic junior Sean Kay was the runaway winner in Div. 2 with a first in 16:03 that was 15 seconds faster that second-place Newburyport senior John Lucey.


Martha’s Vineyard (148) won the first Div. 2 team title in program history as it beat second-place Parker School by 12 points behind a sixth-place finish from senior Peter Burke in 16:50, sophomore Zach Utz finishing 37th in 17:37 and senior captain Vito Aiello — who had been MV’s No. 5 runner all season — finishing third on the team, and 52nd overall, in 17:46.

“They had a plan to go out conservative in the first mile and let the race come to them,” said MV coach Joe Schroeder, who watched Burke surge from 30th after the first mile all the way to sixth. “That’s exactly what happened.”

MIAA Division 1 Championship

at Gardner Municipal Golf Course

Individual — 1. Mike Griffin, King Philip, 16:06; 2. William Chaffin, Concord-Carlisle, 16:13; 3. Loeden Rodrigues, Marblehead, 16:22; 4. Steven Jackson, St. John’s Prep, 16:24; 5. Mike Norberg, King Philip, 16:26; 6. Tobias L'Esperance, Northampton, 16:28; 7. Jason Norris, Wellesley, 16:29; 8. Myles Liss-Riordan, Brookline, 16:29; 9. Nicholas Calitri, Franklin, 16:31; 10. Joe Young, Boston Latin, 16:32; 11. Stephen Carvalho, Belmont, 16:33; 12. Bobby Carew, Milton, 16:34; 13. James Johnson, Burlington, 16:34; 14. Nathan Lopez, St. John’s Prep, 16:36; 15. Tommy Li, Longmeadow, 16:36.

Team results — 1. St. John’s Prep, 112; 2. Wellesley, 126; 3. Concord-Carlisle, 128; 4. Acton-Boxborough, 134; 5. Lexington, 156.

MIAA Division 2 Championship

at Gardner Municipal Golf Course

Individual — 1. Sean Kay, Arlington Catholic, 16:03; 2. John Lucey, Newburyport, 16:18; 3. Joseph Thumann, Whitinsville Christian, 16:21; 4. Oliver Fried, Dover-Sherborn, 16:30; 5. Andrew Cabral, Seekonk, 16:41; 6. Peter Burke, Martha’s Vineyard, 16:50; 7. Strickland Davis, Plymouth South, 16:51; 8. James Krueger, Parker Charter, 16:55; 9. Taban Manyok, St. Mary's, 16:58; 10. Ted Yee, Lenox, 17:00; 11. Alex Craig, Old Rochester, 17:01; 11. Chris Vayda, Hampshire, 17:01; 13. Graham Steadfast, Triton, 17:05; 14. Joe Korhonen, Parker Charter, 17:10; 15. Chris Pacino, Hanover, 17:14.


Team results — 1. Martha’s Vineyard, 148; 2. Parker Charter, 161; 3. Hopedale, 175; 4. Wilmington, 177; 5. Newburyport, 180; 6. Triton, 183; 7. Seekonk, 185; 8. Plymouth South, 189.

King Philip senior Mike Griffin raised his hand in victory as he crossed the finish line in the Division 1 race Saturday in Gardner. SCOTT SOUZA
St. John’s Prep coach John Boyle was ecstatic when learning from his runners that the Eagles had won the D1 title.SCOTT SOUZA

Scott Souza can be reached at ScottSouza@journalist.com.