Martha’s Vineyard cross-country team finishes strong

Boys finish in seventh place, which is their best finish in four years.

Peter Burke, left, and Otto Osmers run in the divisional meet on Saturday. —Jonathan Burke

Before the fall cross-country season began, veteran Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) track coach Joe Schroeder said, “We might surprise some people this year,” despite scant numbers on a squad competing against schools with four to eight times as many runners.

Last Saturday, the 22-member cross-country team, comprised of 17 boys and five girls, proved their coach right as the MVRHS boys cross-country team ended their season by placing seventh in the Division 5 state championships at the Wrentham Developmental Center.

The Vineyard boys narrowly missed placing higher, finishing just two points and 25 seconds behind Bellingham, who placed fifth. MV’s achievement was the team’s best finish since 2012. Setting the pace for the Vineyard boys were Aivaras Gedvilas (13th, 17:04), Owen Porterfield (46th, 18:06), Otto Osmers (51st, 18:13), Peter Burke (54th,18:15), Kieran Karabees (86th, 18:44), Charlie Whalen (121st, 19:29), and Vito Aiello (136th, 19:44). Thirty teams competed in the event, which was won by Newburyport High School.

Senior and team captain Gedvilas ran a strategic race and finished strong. His placement qualifies him for the Massachusetts All-State Finals this Saturday at Gardner Municipal Golf Course in Gardner. “He has been our leader all year, and for him to qualify for the third year in a row is a tribute to his hard work,” Mr. Schroeder wrote to the Times in an email.

On the girls side, freshman phenom Catherine Cherry survived a rough start in which several girls, including Ms. Cherry, collided and fell. She rallied to finish in 29th place with a time of 21:20, the second fastest freshman time in a race dominated by juniors and seniors. “I was proud of the way she finished the race; she has had a great season, and for her to end it that way was tough,” Coach Schroeder said in the email, “but we know that Catherine has many great races ahead of her.” Pearl Vercruysse ran her best race in over a month, finishing 51st with a time of 22:10. Veronica Wendt was 124th with a time of 24:16.