The 2015 season has been one for the ages for the boys cross country team as they finished the season undefeated at 14-0. An amazing group of student-athletes form the boys and girls teams. On the boys side, Senior Captain Cody Murtagh has been the number 1 runner all season haven’t not lost a CCL dual meet and in the process being voted the league’s MVP. He did extensive training this summer which showed all season. To be a successful cross country runner, summer training is imperative. The miles put into during the summer is like an annuity. You get out what you put in and more. Cody has been a part of a team that has gone 36-1 over a three year period. In 2013, in only the 3 season of program that was revived after there had not been a team in over 13, the boy’s went undefeated in 2013 and won the CCL League meet with a young group of student-athletes. I do say student because the cross country team consists of some of the brightest student’s in the school. Cody is a true winner and was a part of the spring baseball program that won state title. In all of his races, he led from start to finish. This team felt the sting of losing to Cardinal Spellman last year for their only blemish in 3 years. Cardinal Spellman has won 3 titles in a row until the Spartans beat them in 2013. So this year’s did not like the feeling of losing last year and came back with a vengeance.
Right behind Cody, Senior Co-Captain Tony Mwangi, also did his summer homework. In the spring, Tony was the league 2 mile champion leading from start to finish at the CCL Championships. I would see Tony training after the outdoor season in the heat running down Route 1A until travelled to Louisiana to attend a summer program at LSU. Tony obviously trained extensively this summer running on the heels of Cody and only losing to 1 other runner in our league.
In cross country, pack running is also crucial to a team’s success. And this year’s team had a tremendous pack. Senior Co-Captain Matt McManus and Junior Co-Captain Mike Cerulli were right behind Tony and Cody. McManus is a true blue collar worker, bringing his lunch pail to work each day and pushing the team in practice to improve as did Mike Cerulli. He has battled a mystery illness that affected his oxygen intake. It started sometime in his freshman year in outdoor track. Mike would struggle and go into oxygen debt well before he should of in longer races. I had to drop Mike down to the 400 and 100 meters because he had difficulty in any event over 400 meters. In his freshman hear he ran a 5 minute mile so it was baffling. In cross country his freshman year he was one of our top 2 or 3 runners having run an amazing 18:24 as a freshman for 3.1 mile (5kilomoters). Not until his mom accidently spoke to a women at the Lynn Mayor’s office where Mrs. Cerulli works for the Mayor did she find out that the women’s daughter had a condition called vocal cord disorder did they uncover his problem. Mike had been to numerous doctors none of whom determined the problem. Some nurses even commented that of course you can’t breathe, you are trying to run fast. Once the problem was diagnosed and the appropriate medication administered, Mike has been steadily improving and getting back to his old fast self. Mike and Matt are a strong force. Matt is a talented athlete who could well play any sport. He is also the Captain of the Tennis team and an accomplished tennis player. He was a starter on the soccer team until he decided to run cross country his sophomore year and he has helped solidify the team. Matt has done some great off the course making an amazing team videos of the team for the past two years and he is a top student. Mike Cerullis has thrived this season again. Mike is a varsity basketball player and one of the best students in the school and either the 1st or 2nd student in his class. He hates to lose and he always wants to be the best. This quartet has had an amazing run so to speak over the last several years. They have brought this team from the bottom of the CCL to perennial contender. At the CCL Championships the all four were league All Stars.
Cross Country is a great sport in and of itself and/or to get in shape for other sports. It is also a team sport, as there are 7 runners who comprise a cross-country team, five of which factor into the scoring. Sophomore Jack Carroll also worked this summer at training. He is the quiet assassin who has been instrumental in rounding out our top 5. He is young and talented and continues to improve. He improved over 1:30 seconds from last year. Jack has done everything he can to try to stay with our quartet of runners. With his progress, Jack has helped our team finish undefeated. Eight grader Finn Lacy has been running with the high school team since he was a 6th grader. He has run with the big boys since he came to St. Mary’s. He is a talent and has tried so hard to run with the top kids, although I try to hold him back since he is very young. In our top 7 runner are Junior, Brendan Morris, who trained this summer also and it showed all season as Morris made huge strides. Junior Kordell Henriquez is a baseball player and played summer ball this summer. He is just rounding into condition and it came at the right time as in the CCL Championship, Kordell finished 22nd and was our team’s fifth man to help the team win the CCL Championship.
Also on the boy’s team is Senior Cam Marr and inspiration to our team and to athletes of any kinds. He received the MIAA Award last spring for runner who have overcome adversity. His courage and hard work is second to none. Senior Dan Lang has been a great addition to our team and he is training to get in shape for the hurdles for indoor and outdoor track where he is one of the top hurdles in the CCL. Last but not least is Zach Ouellette who is only a 6th grader. He is a hard worker and very talented and will be one of the bright stars at St. Mary’s if he continues to work. This senior group will be sorely missed but the future looks bright with such a talented group of underclassmen.
On the girls side, Senior Captain Sarah Corbett, led the way as the girls finished the season at 8-4. Sarah has been the teams no one runner all season and has been one of the team’s top runners for 4 years. She is one of the hardest workers. She obviously does her summer training and it shows. Sarah was a CCL League All Stars again this year finishing 10th. Sarah had some big shoes to fill as last year’s star, Tia Foglietta, moved on to Merrimack on a scholarship to run for them. The team has a young group of athletes which bodes well for the future. Junior Morgan Pappas came out for the team after having played soccer the last 2 years. She was a top middle school runner in Peabody and she was a welcome addition having been the team’s number 2/3 runner all season. If she does her summer training she should be one of the top runners in the CCL. Morgan stepped up big after Junior Captain Elizabeth Weisse went down with an old knee injury. Weisse was having a great season early on until she was forced to miss the rest of the season. Senior Captain Larissa Bogomolov has been a steady cog in the middle of the pack all season. In the spring she was the CCL league champion in the discus and also plays basketball in the winter. A pack of runners has emerged for the 4 and 5th spot. With freshman Izzy Mereno rounding into shape and making huge progress the last several meet. Izzy is very talented but young and will continue to improve. Right with Izzy is a talented sophomore, Kate Bromery and her sister, Senior Olivia Bromery. Olivia has been a solid contributor for 4 years. Kate has talent and has been consisting getting strong all season. Right behind this group has been Senior Erin Mahr. Erin came out for the team for the first time this season and has said she wishes she had done so sooner. She has improved dramatically all season. Also coming out for the team for the first time is Junior Bridget Cushing and Senior Mikayla Mahoney. Bridgett is a talented sprinter on track team but has made a nice transition to cross country. Mikayla is improving leaps and bounds. Showing huge improvement from last year has been Juniors Kellie Powers and Anna Marie Chaput. If they put in the work next summer they could help a very young team do some big things in the CCL. Also running well for the Spartans this season is 7th grader Kaleigh Marr. She has a lot of talent and will be a strong performer as she continues to develop. A new wave of runners also has shown progress. Freshmen Lauren Casey, Abigail Morris, sophomore Lexi Finelli and 6th grader Luna Ni have done remarkably well this season. Ni has shown flashes of brilliance the last several weeks and actually was running with Sarah Corbett in one of the team’s workouts. Rounding out the team are Seniors Rebecca Kirby and Ellie Martin. They give the team plenty of team spirit and have worked extremely hard.
Assistant Coach Mike Cerulli Sr. has been a great help and leaves his law practice each day to spend time assisting the team.
It has been a pleasure coaching the cross country teams this year. We will truly miss the seniors.