This article was submitted by Swampscott Cross-Country Coach Jeffrey Bartlett
Earlier this season, another Massachusetts coach gave Swampscott senior Peter Hale the nickname of "The Storm." On Saturday at the Eastern Massachusetts Divisional Cross-Country Championships, "The Storm" blew into the Wrentham Development Center with full force.
Hale continued his impressive senior campaign in the Eastern Massachusetts Division 5 race by running a perfect race with near perfect execution. Hale, who placed second last year, was battling the top four returning runners in addition to a newcomer from Newburyport. Despite the recent snow, conditions were almost perfect for a fall morning of cross-country with a dry course and little wind.
Hale, taking the advice of "You have to be in the race to win it," spent the majority of the race slightly behind the leaders, keeping them in sight and never letting them get more than a few seconds ahead. In the last mile, with under a half mile to go, Hale made a move to pass the front runners and never looked back.
After moving to the front, Hale put nine seconds on the second place finisher; Hale's time of 15:46 over the 3.1 mile course is a lifetime personal best and his victory is the first Eastern Massachusetts individual title for a Swampscott runner since 1991. His finish also qualified him for the All-State Championships on Saturday.
Hale led the Big Blue to a seventh place finish out of the 32 team field. Junior Matt Mahoney had a fantastic race to place fifth overall with a time of 16:23. The junior showed that he is an up and comer on the cross-country scene for next year and qualified as an individual for the All-State Championship meet. Senior captain Sam Crimmins, who has bounced back from two separate concussions this season, ran a strong race to finish with a time of 17:49 (53rd overall).
Sophomores Robert McLaughlin (70th, 18:15) and Bennett Smith (84th, 18:36) continue to improve with their performances, showing that the future of the Big Blue is in good hands. Juniors Marco Scibelli (130th, 19:28) and Noah Conti (144th, 19:44) also competed for Swampscott. Conti ran a full six minutes faster on the Wrentham course than he did last year; his performance is a reminder that with hard work, anyone can improve in cross-country.
There were many positives to be taken from the race on the girls side as well. The girls team racing at Wrentham contained no seniors; all will be returning next year.
Freshman Isabella Kornitsky continued her impressive first season of racing cross-country, placing 14th overall with a time of 20:14 over the 3.1 mile course. Kornitsky was the top freshman finisher in the Division Five race, and her place qualified her for the All-State Championship meet on Saturday.
Behind Kornitsky, the girls worked within two separate packs; the first pack being led by junior Alison Carr. Carr (63rd, 21:54) stepped up in a big way for the Big Blue and sophomore Miranda Nocera was close behind (77th, 22:18). Junior Abigail O'Connor (115th, 23:23) and junior Meg Mahoney (116th, 23:24) ran together the majority of the race and were followed closely by junior Michelle LaConte (120th, 23:34) and junior Sarah Kelley (125th, 23:52). The girls placed 15th out of 28 teams in the race, and the girls have already discussed plans for next season.
Hale, Mahoney, and Kornitsky will represent Swampscott High School at the All-State Championship Meet this Saturday at Northfield Mountain.