The Town Crier started a new series, republishing or writing stories on TMHS Fall Athletic teams – minus football – that won championships or enjoyed deep state tournament runs. The series started three weeks ago with the 1988 TMHS Girls Cross-Country team, followed by a look at the 1982 Boys Soccer team and then the 2006 TMHS Field Hockey.
Below is a look at the TMHS Boys Cross-Country team, which won its first and only Eastern Mass Championship title back in 2012. Here’s the story that ran in the November 14th edition of the Crier.
WRENTHAM – For nearly 20 minutes, they were all hovering along the wall where the results were posted. The entire team stood very nervous waiting for the league official to bring over the pieces of paper and tape them up on the wall. The head coaches Peter Fortunato and Peter Molloy waited along with the entire boys’ team, as well as several handful of parents and key supporters, longtime TMHS track coach Steve Levine, and Jeff Oberg, a former captain of the cross country team and both made the long trip to join in on the festivities.
Then finally the league official came over and before he taped the sheets of paper on the wall, he noticed a large following of people awaiting the word. So instead, he announced the results. He said Tewksbury and Wellesley finished tied, therefore the tiebreaker went in favor of Tewksbury, whose sixth runner placed higher than Wellesley’s sixth runner.
From there the large Tewksbury contingent celebrated knowing that the 2012 Tewksbury Memorial High School Boys Cross Country team are Division 3 Eastern Mass Champions – the first time in the history of the program that Tewksbury has captured a championship of this magnitude.
“State Champs, just unbelievable,” said co-coach Peter Fortunato. “I’m speechless. This is the first time in school history that they did it. This is unbelievable and I don’t even know what to say right now. This was a complete team effort.”
Before this season, both the boys and the girls programs were headed up by Peter Molloy and the last several years Fortunato was an assistant coach. But this year the role for Fortunato expanded where he became a co-head coach of the program with Molloy, working mostly with the Boys team and Molloy going mostly with the girls. Molloy said the success of Saturday started almost two years ago when Fortunato became the boys distance coach with the two track teams and from there a group formed and expanded, and a large group of runners improved and logged a lot of miles during the track and cross-country seasons and especially in the off-seasons. Molloy said that’s one giant reason the team celebrated with the Eastern Mass trophy on Saturday.
“We lost four of our top six runners from last year and we replaced them with a converted hurdler in (Nick) Souza and three kids who barely weigh collectively 260 pounds. They are like 80 pounds each,” said Molloy referring to Anthony and Joseph Darrigo and Mike Famiglietti. “You think we’re intimidating to those other teams who didn’t give us any credit whatsoever? That speaks volumes.
“After the girls race was over, I ran over to the boys and I told them that the workouts they have been doing for the last year-plus was going to be the difference in them winning today and they were going to roll because of it. We needed every single kid today and we got that. Anthony Barinelli, our seventh guy, finished ahead of (Wellesley’s sixth guy) so even if we didn’t have Famiglietti, we had Barinelli so it was a true team effort from start to finish. And I’m just so proud of them and I’m so proud to be a part of this — just so fortunate to be a part of this.”
A total of 24 teams and 161 runners participated in this race and Tewksbury was the best team, and had two of the top ten runners, four of the top 24 and seven of the top 76, which all equals a team victory.
“This was a complete team effort,” said Fortunato. “(Brian) Amaral didn’t have the day that he wanted too, so Cory (Thomas) filled his gap and he filled his spot. The Darrigo Brothers (Anthony and Joseph) ran out of their minds. I didn’t know if (Mike) Famiglietti was sick because he is usually our third to fifth guy but usually our most consistent guy and I didn’t know he was sick today, he was sick as a dog and I didn’t find that out until after the race was over. He was sick yesterday and he didn’t tell us. We asked him after the race why didn’t you tell us and he said ‘coach no excuses’ and his parents then took him out of here and to the hospital. I don’t think he even knows it right now but he’s the reason why we won.”
Thomas was the team’s top overall finisher coming in sixth place overall with a time of 16:19. Arlington’s Daniel MacDonald Meteer was the race at 15:46, which was five seconds better than runner-up Owen Gonser of King Philip Regional. After the two of them, eight seconds separated the next five runners, before Amaral finished second for Tewksbury and tenth overall at 16:27. After that, the junior twins, Joseph and Anthony Darrigo came out of nowhere to finish 19th and 24th overall with respective times of 16:49 and 16:57.
“I always wanted to be on a state championship team,” said Anthony Darrigo after finding out that the team had won the title. “Words can’t describe it and I really just can’t believe this. It’s just unbelievable. We have been training all summer so it could come down to the states where hopefully we would win and I guess it paid off. All of those long days of running, all of those hot days, all of the early morning runs, all of that paid off today.”
Senior Nick Sousa finished 55th overall, before Famiglietti placed 70th overall, which ultimately decided which team won. Barinelli wrapped it up with a very impressive 76th place finish.
Fortunato, who on this special day said he aged a year, added that this day, the performance and the entire ordeal of being a part of the program’s first ever state championship, is something that will always stay with him for the rest of his life.
“This is probably one of the best days of my life and an awesome birthday present,” he said. “They gave me the best present anyone could ever give me.”
Anthony Darrigo was asked if he thought his finish would be a huge factor in the team’s chances of winning the title.
“I didn’t think of any of that,” he admitted. “I just went off and ran and just tried catching kids and hoped that we won and we did. Now I’m excited. I just want to go home and party.”