MVRHS cross-country girls finish fifth

Boys finish 10th in state as young Vineyarders withstand nerves and weather at Westfield.

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The Vineyarders magical running tour concluded this weekend as the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School girls cross-country team finished fifth in the state, and the boys team finished 10th, competing under ghastly conditions at Westfield State University.

The girls’ fifth-place finish is the best in school history. In the past, the boys have finished sixth and the girls ninth in the state. Last week, the girls team won the Eastern Massachusetts meet outright, setting another MVRHS record.

Peter Burke led all Vineyarder harriers, placing 22nd in a field of 177 runners despite persistent leg cramps on a course that featured packed snow, slush, and mud and, alas, no firm footing. Owen Atkins finished 65th. Kieran Karabees (88th), Owen Portfield (89th), Isaac Richards (93rd), Nathaniel Portfield (115th), and Zack Utz (165th) powered MVRHS to the Top 10 finish.

The girls squad ran as a group in the same fashion as they did last week in winning the EMass title. Adrienne Christy finished 51st, followed by Catherine Cherry (60th), Eloise Christy (63rd), Yayla DeChiara (64th), Amber Cuthbert (67th), and Margaret Sykes (156th), who ran a personal best last week at the EMass meet.

Sunday would not be a day for personal bests. The difficult course and competing against the state’s elite meant that one second faster or slower could be a swing of 15 positions.

Joe Schroeder, MVRHS coach, put it all on the character of his team. “I am just so proud of them. This is the first state championship event for most of them.” Pearl Vercruysse (MVRHS 2017), now a sophomore strider at Emmanuel College, was at the meet with her coach on a scouting/recruiting visit.

She offered an insight: “This is a good team (athletically), but they also do it because they care about the sport and each other. When people care as a group, you get these kind of results,” the former Boston Globe and Eastern Athletic Conference (EAC) all-star said while visiting the MVRHS team tent before the girls’ meet.