Updated 10:26 pm
Lightning did strike twice for the Vineyarder cross-country team. The boys won the Division 5 state South Sectional championship for the first time in school history, early Saturday afternoon at the Wrentham Development Center.
A gutty performance by an injury-hampered girls varsity squad got them a sixth-place finish and a wild-card invitation to the all-state meet next Saturday in Gardner.
This is the second consecutive record-setting performance by a Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) cross-country team. In 2018, the girls team won it all in the sectionals for the first time in history. Earlier this week, MVRHS Coach Joe Schroeder said, “We’re hoping lightning will strike twice.”
The boys team and their fans were whooping it up under the Purple team tent at 1:45 pm when news of the boys’ win came down. “A great performance by everybody! I am psyched for you guys,” Schroeder shouted to his grinning troops.
The grins and hugs continued when news came that the Vineyard’s girls’ sixth-place time in D5 topped performances by all other nonplacing schools in Eeastern Massachusetts, earning them one of two wild-card spots in the states.
Senior captain Peter Burke finished sixth overall, and first for the Vineyarders. Sophomores Zach Utz (personal record) finished 10th, and Borja Tolay was 15th, good for second and third for the Purple; junior Isaac Richards was 17th, and fourth for the Vineyarders.
Senior captain Vito Aiello at 26th, Kieran Karabees 41st, and Nate Portferfield 46th sealed the deal, with all seven runners in the top 50 of several hundred runners. Cross-country scoring rewards teams with the most runners in the best finishing times, so every runner counts toward a win.
The girls finish was fueled by the Christy sisters, who finished sixth (Wren) and 11th (Eloise) in the 156-runner field. Yayla DeChiara (48th), captain Catherine Cherry (51), Amber Cuthbert (80th), Kaitlyn Freeman (98th), and Margaret Sykes (113th) completed the varsity effort.
The order of finish was a mirror image of 2018, when the girls won the sectionals and the boys qualified as a wild card.
Updated to correct the boys Division 5 win and Zach Utz results. —Ed.