Cross Country Boys Crush Norwood, Lose To Brookline

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Walpole’s third runner is racing against Brookline’s 5th

Pat Connell

Walpole's third runner is racing against Brookline's 5th.

 

Last Thursday, September 11, Walpole High School’s cross country boys went to Coakley Middle School to race against Norwood and Brookline in a dual meet. Generally, Norwood is a weak racing team, and tradition followed as Walpole and Brookline collectively put 24 boys in front of their best runner. It was an undemanding win for both teams, as expected. However, the real motive for Walpole was not to defeat their neighboring rivals, but to overthrow the dynasty of Brookline who has reigned over the Bay State Conference for years. The dynasty proved insurmountable as Brookline overtook the rebels in the end, winning 45-17.

At about 4:00, the three teams were gathering at the starting line. Walpole was psyched up for they had just seen sophomore Mike Orsi win the JV race. He ran two-and-a-half kilometers in nine minutes and five seconds. Having Orsi set the precedent, the varsity squad craved to follow in his footsteps. As the horn was blown, Walpole sprinted out to the front, leading until the first mile until Brookline seniors Aaron Klein and Jesse Fajnzylber caught up to the Rebels top runner, senior Sean Herlihy. He and junior Anthony DiVirgilio were sticking with the elite Brookline runners, but in the final kilometer, a few more of the opposing team’s elite started passing them. Nevertheless, Herlihy did make up some ground in the final 100 meters, finishing in fourth. DiVirgilio fell to eighth, while sophomores Brendan Wohler and Joe Keoughfinished finished in eleventh and fourteenth, respectively. Walpole’s last scoring runner, senior captain Kevin Delaney, came in sixteenth. In cross country, the top five runners on the team get their places taken as the number of points they receive, and the team with the fewest cumulative points wins; however, the sixth and seventh runners could affect placing if they beat any of the opposing team’s top five. With this system, Walpole lost to Brookline 17-45, but beat Norwood 50-15.

When asked about his performance, Herlihy said, “I thought I had a pretty nice race —you know, having a big PR (personal record) — but I would have liked to break seventeen.” Herlihy ran 17:00 for his five kilometer time, and his previous best was during this year’s Labor Day Road Race with a time of 17:26, following behind DiVirgilio by just a second.