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Boys head to state cross-country championships after third-place district showing

Bromfield’s boys cross-country team punched its ticket to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s divisional state championships in Wrenthem this weekend by placing third at the MIAA’s Division 3C sectional meet Nov. 13.

The Trojans’ score of 91 points put the team third out of 20 schools, falling to Parker Charter Essential School and Lenox Memorial School. The boys bested the fourth-place team by 87 points.

The team traveled to Stanley Park in Westfield to compete against 19 schools of similar size from across the state. The meet was broken up into nine “waves” based on enrollment, which will be redivided into three divisions for the all-state meet.

The boys took advantage of a fast course, with three Trojans posting personal records. Senior captain Julian Iverson finished first for the team with sophomore Jack Stahl by his side. Iverson ran the 5-kilometer course in 17 minutes, 1 second—a 16-second personal record—for seventh, and Stahl came through the line in 17:03, shaving 3 seconds off his previous best time, for eighth.

Eighth-grader Harrison Binnick ran 18:09 for 24th, followed by freshman Ethan Russo who clocked a 20-second personal record with his time of 18:11 and placed 27th. Just behind him was senior Nick Russo in 18:14 and 28th. Eighth-grader Christian Johannsen ran 18:21 for 31st, and seventh-grader Ben McWaters finished in 19:38 to clinch 71st.

“We had a solid performance,” Coach Marisa Steele wrote in an email to the Press. “Not our best day overall but very balanced as a team.”

Steele said she sees room for improvement going into next week. Parker Charter and Lenox Memorial remain the favorites approaching the all-state meet, but a few top teams from wave 3B will join the mix as well. Littleton and Tyngsborough high schools, each of which proved to be a close match to Bromfield in dual-meet competition, were first and third in their wave. Uxbridge High School, which was second to Littleton, will also be on the Division 3 starting line Saturday.

“On paper, it looks like we should be in the top 8 next week, but on a good day with some luck thrown in, we could potentially place a lot higher,” Steele predicted.

The Trojans will approach the race with the mentality that “every place counts,” said Steele. It will be especially important for the team’s third through seventh runners to fight for each spot, since the density in the middle of the pack means that points can rack up quickly. “Sometimes in championship races it’s so close in the middle of the pack that 10 guys can cross the finish line in 2-3 seconds. Giving that extra bit can sometimes swing a score by 10 points,” she explained.

She’s also hoping for the team’s two senior members to go out with a bang by setting personal records in their final cross-country meet as Trojans. That would mean dipping below 17 minutes for Iverson and besting 17:46 for Russo. “If the two of them could pull that off, I think as a team we could surprise a lot of people.”

The boys team is scheduled to race at 1 p.m., Nov. 20, at the Wrentham Development Center.

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