WRENTHAM – Two close friends, who are both talented athletes and runners, finished up their terrific seasons and careers this weekend for the Tewksbury Memorial High School Girls Cross-Country team.
On Saturday, seniors Molly Cremin and Maci Chapman finished 48th and 56th overall, respectively, at the State Championship Meet held at the Development Course.
Cremin finished the 3.1 mile course with a time of 19:59.8 and Chapman was right behind at 20:07.8.
“Overall, it was a great race for Maci and Molly. It was a beautiful day out, mid 40's and basically no wind, which made for some very fast times across the board. Molly ended up running 19:59 for 48th overall and Maci was 20:07 for 56th overall out of about 200 runners,” said head coach Fran Cusick.
For Cremin, this performance meant a lot, not just because it was her final one in high school, but she got a little redemption.
“On September 25th, she raced at this very same course for the Frank Kelly Invite and had a disastrous day, running a time that I'm not even going to mention. She was very frustrated at this point in the season as we had a dual meet earlier that week that didn't go great either. And yet, rather than hanging her head or giving up, she just kept working hard,” said Cusick. “Two months later, she is out here at the state meet running her best race ever and breaking twenty minutes, something that had been a years long goal.
“I'm very proud of her for sticking with it and trusting the training plan, even when things weren't going the way she wanted them to be going. I really think we are just scratching the surface of Molly's potential; with how well this cross-country season has gone, I see her having a fantastic track season, which is in truth her favorite season anyway.”
Chapman has made giant strides since coming back from an injury, which kept her on the shelf for about a month.
“Her season had three distinct phases. From the beginning of the year to the Billerica meet, Maci was in great shape and was crushing races and workouts. She beat Emily Burdick from Billerica in a dual meet (as did Molly) and looked like she was poised to dominate,” said Cusick. “Then disaster struck, she had a tendon injury in her foot that made every step, even when walking, painful. Maci had to take about a month off from running and her cross training was limited as well because pressing down on the bike increased the risk of aggravating her tendon.
“After four plus weeks of little to no activity, she was able to gradually return to running, but she missed most of our dual meets and lost a lot of fitness. So needless to say, there was a ton of uncertainty as to whether Maci would even be on the line for our championship meets, let alone be competing at All-States So to see her running her best time and competing so well, was a great moment for our program.”
Overall, Cusick was thrilled with the performances of both girls, putting it all out there on their last run in a Redmen uniform.
“Both Maci and Molly just had the misfortune of being in the densest, most packed section of the race. There were 25 runners in the girls D2 race that finished between 19:50-20:10. By comparison, there were only ten runners who finished between 19:20-19:40. So they were right in the middle of it, there was a lot of elbowing and people cutting each other off. Despite this, they both ran very intelligent and gutsy races,” he said.
The coach wanted to publicly thank his coaching staff, now that the season has come to a close.
“I want to thank my assistant coaches, Lauren Polimeno and Carina Berglund, for doing such a great job. I think it's very important for the girls on the team to have positive role models and Lauren and Carina are two of the best in our program's history. I also want to thank the boys coaches, Peter Fortunato, Fred Doyle, and Conner Bourgoin as well as the TMHS Boosters Club for all the support.”