McGrath kicks off soph campaign in big way – Boston Herald

ATTLEBORO — Greg McGrath knew all summer that there would be two open slots at the top of the B.C. High cross country roster, and the Eagles’ sophomore made a big move Saturday to fill one of them.

Racing at the MSTCA Cross Country Relays in oppressive humidity, McGrath, the winner of the Coaches Invitational freshman race last fall, tore through his 1.5-mile leg on the grassy Highland Park layout. When the smoke cleared, McGrath and teammates Owen Geagan and Colin Kurtz combined for an impressive 25-minute, 31.7-second win over the 4.6-mile course to take the freshman/sophomore event. Parker Charter had a strong race, taking second in 25:46.6 and Hopkinton was third in 26:27.1.

“He was determined to train hard this summer and grab one of those two places,” said B.C. High head coach Seth Kirby of McGrath.

McGrath, who was the lone freshman to qualify for the All-State 2-mile in the spring — knew the Eagles’ lineup would be very much in the battle against the other quality teams. “We knew we really had a good shot for first or second,” he said.

Kirby wanted his athlete to give a hard effort over the shorter distance. “The emphasis is on getting a good effort and competing rather than going for time,” he said. “I knew Burlington and Parker (Charter) had strong teams. We knew we’d be in the mix.”

B.C. High made it a clean sweep on the boys’ side as John Wilson took the lead in the junior/senior race and Shamus Larnard lengthened it for the 23:28.9 victory. Chris Larnard put the Eagles in strong position on his first-leg effort.

“We’ve been training for a couple of months and this one was on the calendar,” said Shamus. “We wanted to get the lead and maintain it.”

Sharon took second in 23.59.6 to edge out Hopkinton (24:00.2) at the tape.

Two of the best girl harriers in the state looked to be in fine form on the way to leading their teams to wins. Greta Hammer of Needham, who was a strong second in the Div. 1 race last November at the Meet of Champions but missed the entire outdoor season with injuries, teamed with Madison Roach and Katie Burns for the freshman/sophomore win in a runaway over Westwood, 30:27.8 to 30:50.9. Weymouth finished strong to capture the bronze medal in 30:56.

Two-time defending Div. 2 Meet Meet of Champions champion Carmen Luisi had a huge lead when she took the baton on the final leg of the junior/senior race and preserved the win for Holliston. Luisi, along with teammates Maggie Kuchman and Annabelle Lynch, combined for the win in 27:17. Weymouth was a distant second in 28:07 and Hopkinton took third in 28:11.8.

“I felt pretty good,” said Luisi. “I haven’t been out there in a while in my spikes. I wanted to use it (relays) for a speed workout and find what my cross country pace is.”

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