Town Crier

TEWKSBURY – It's been sort of a rough season for the Tewksbury Memorial High School Girls Cross-Country team, especially trying to keep everyone healthy. The Redmen had their share of injuries throughout the last two months which never allowed them to really hit their stride.

On Saturday morning, facing poor weather conditions, Tewksbury was barely able to field five healthy runners to participate in the annual Merrimack Valley Conference Championship Meet held on its home course. Just recently, senior captain Maci Chapman returned from an injury, and then both Cassidy Paige and Maisan Nguyen have been running despite nagging/minor injuries, and then several others were not able to compete.

That being said, the five runners did gut it out, finishing in 9th place in the 9-team meet, as Dracut and Lawrence were not able to field at least five runners, therefore those teams didn't qualify for the team score.

North Andover won the meet, cruising with 52 points compared to 78 for runner-up Andover. Methuen was third, followed by Lowell, Central Catholic, Billerica, Haverhill, Chelmsford and Tewksbury.

The biggest highlight on the day belonged to senior Molly Cremin, who finished 11th overall with a time of 20:11, which was her personal best and also earned her All-Conference honors (top 12 make it).

Chapman finished 16th overall with her time of 20:38 for the 2.8 mile course.

“Maci was 16th and she had been out with an injury. She missed about a month of the season due to a foot issue,” said head coach Fran Cusick. “She could barely cross-train. She couldn't do much because it was a ligament issue and we didn't want to aggravate it further. It's not like she did four weeks where she was in the pool every day and on the bike every day, it was four weeks of very minimal physical activity, so for her to comeback from that, and really not do a lot, and finish 16th in the league is a huge accomplishment.

“I don't think she was completely happy with it – she's never really satisfied and always wants more, but it's a great stepping stone for her as we've got the state meet coming up in two weeks so she has time to train for that and I think she's going to be a lot better once she has some weeks of training under her belt.”

Cassidy Paige finished 54th at 23:42, Elyse O'Leary was 55th at 23:50 and Maisan Nguyen was 59th at 25:17.

“Cassidy Paige was not at one hundred percent as she has a hamstring issue,” said the coach. “She got out there and ran, and Maisan Nguyen, who was our fifth runner was hurting a bit out there and I really appreciate her running and being our fifth runner because otherwise, we wouldn't have had a team score.”

In the sub-varsity races, Grace Carroll was 50th at 29:52 and Skye Tambi was 53rd at 30:43 in the JV race. Then in the freshmen race, Riley Stevenson “had a real strong performance,” said Cusick as she was fourth at 13:48. She was followed by Teagan Claycombe, who was 20th at 16:12 and Audrey Mader, who was 22nd at 16:48.

Cusick, like boys coach Peter Fortunato, wanted to publicly thank those involved with all of the preparations that went into hosting the meet.

“I do want to thank all of the Coach (Peter) Fortunato, (Peter) Molloy, Lauren Polimeno, Carina Berglund, Fred Doyle and the entire staff for setting everything up. It's a lot of work. When you take on this hosting job, you realize that there's a ton of small things that you need to do. Just getting random some things done like flagging, spray painting and getting the cones, so it's a decent amount of work so I appreciate them all contributing. We got a lot of compliments on the course which was nice and things worked out well.”

Tewksbury will compete next in the state meet to be held in two weeks in Gardner.

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