In their previous meet against Innovation Academy, the Shawsheen Tech Boys and Girls Cross Country teams had been blessed with near ideal running weather and both teams had rolled to victories behind a mountain of personal best times on both sides.
The Rams had no such luck in terms of weather on Monday afternoon when both teams traveled to Westford to take on CAC rival Nashoba Tech on a raw, cold and windy afternoon. But the conditions couldn’t hold back the Rams in this one, as both teams earned impressive victories, with the boys pulling out a 27-28 thriller, while the girls once again rolled to victory, powering their way to an 18-44 victory.
On the boys side, the Rams got some clutch performances to pull out their one point. Missing two of their top five runners, with Paul Tower and Damien Hadden of Tewksbury both unavailable, the Rams needed to rely on their depth to pull this one out and that depth came through to lead them to their most exciting win of the season.
“Both teams battled hard, and it was an excellent race,” Shawsheen coach Pat Kelly said. “What made it tough is that we ran without our true number two (Tower), and our true number five (Hadden), so when you are missing two people from your top five it really makes for a difficult race, but the kids held strong and won a lot of individual battles.”
Rams senior captain Alex Smith once again led the way for Shawsheen, battling the elements to take first place overall in a time of 18:41. With Tower, who has been consistently finishing right behind Smith this season, unavailable, Shawsheen junior Joe D’Ampolo stepped up and turned in a tremendous effort, taking second place in a time of 19:41.
D’Ampolo edged out a hard charging Nashoba challenger to secure the second place finish, sprinting down the home stretch to earn what turned out to be some very critical points for the Rams, beating his opponent by one second.
“At first I thought the kids was going to go by him, but I guess Joe slow played him a little bit,” Kelly said. “He had in his mind what he wanted to do and he executed it, so we were happy to see that.”
Nashoba took the next three spots after D’Ampolo but Shawsheen junior Andrew Stokes pulled out a clutch sixth place finish in 22:53 to stem the tide for the Rams. Nashoba would take seventh place, but the Rams then got some critical points at the back end of the top ten, when Gordon Noble took eighth overall in a time of 22:24.
Nashoba took ninth place, but Shawsheen junior Adam Ippolito earned the all important fifth Rams spot, finishing tenth overall time of 22:36, while Rams freshman Will Brinson grabbled the equally important sixth spot for the Rams, finishing eleventh overall in a time of 22:50, preventing a pair of Nashoba runners nipping at his heels from being able to score.
“That was big to have our number six come in and force some displacement for the Nashoba kids, so that was another huge point right there,” Kelly said.
The girls side featured much less drama, but showed once again just how deep and talented this girls team is. Despite a couple of Rams runners losing their way on the course, Shawsheen still rolled to their 18-44 victory.
The Rams were led by another great effort from junior Devin Sweeney who took first overall in a time of 23:04, while Sandra Watne of Wilmington took second in a time of 26:42.
“The girls had a great race,” Kelly said. “Devin ran really well. She is almost into the 22’s, and Sandra had a great race as well. Sandra really pushed for it today. She ran a great race. She was strong out there. She was hurt while she was out there, but she stayed strong and pushed through it right to the very end, and won her personal battle.”
Nashoba Tech took third place overall, but after that it was all Rams, with junior Kaylee Gaffney of Tewksbury taking fourth overall in 26:54, followed by junior Hannah Lyle in 26:59, senior Emily Pinto of Wilmington in 27:19 and Jade Kim in 27:57. Kelley DeLosh wrapped up the Rams top ten finishers with a ninth place finish in 29:22.
With the two victories, the boys improved to 3-1 on the season, while the girls pushed their record to 4-1, but their two most difficult meets of the season still lie ahead of starting with a road meet at Greater Lowell on Thursday, followed by a matchup with Essex in their season finale on Saturday, November 14 at home.