The Chelsea High girls cross country team made history last Wednesday by winning the Commonwealth Athletic Conference championship meet which was held at the Essex Agricultural School course in Danvers.
The Lady Red Devils, who finished 8-1 in dual meets this season, won the title in style, not only avenging their lone regular season loss to Shawsheen Tech (which was the result of an ankle injury to CHS top runner Suzanne Mikalixen halfway through the race), but doing so by a wide 30 point spread over Shawsheen.
“Going into the meet we knew we had a good chance of defeating Shawsheen and Presentation of Mary, who won the league championship last year,” said CHS head coach Don Fay. “We were as healthy as we could get and the girls had had some good workouts in the last couple of weeks.
“In a meet which involves a number of teams, it’s important to have a close pack of runners,” the coach continued. “If you have a big gap between runners it will be more pronounced with more runners in the race. In the first mile of the race we had five girls in the top 20. At that point we just needed to maintain and make sure we stayed on our feet. We pretty much stayed consistent in the second half of the race.”
The first two Lady Red Devil runners across the line were Mikalixen in fourth place and Duska Cvjetan in fifth. The next runner for Chelsea was Tatyana Almedia, who ran her best race of the year and finished 13th, a ranking that earned Tatyana a CAC all-star. (The top 15 girls are designated as all-stars.)
Just 22 seconds behind Almedia to clinch the meet for the Lady Red Devils were Jesenia Contreras in 16th and Patricia Guardado in 17th. Chelsea finished with 52 points, 30 points better than runner-up Shawsheen Tech.
“This more than makes up for our dual meet loss to Shawsheen Tech,” said Fay. “The girls showed today that they were clearly the best team in the league. We had our top five girls across the line before Shawsheen’s third runner finished.”
Also running well for Chelsea were Paola Claros, who was 21st overall, and Arandeni Ramos, who was 27th.
“The girls ran a terrific race and should be very proud of their performance,” added Fay. “Two years ago we went most of the year with just two runners (Suzanne Mikalixen being one of them) and were winless for the year. Last year we were 7- 2, but we knew we needed to do more to win the league title.”
Looking ahead to next season, Fay noted, “We’re losing Suzanne and Jesenia to graduation and we certainly will miss them. But we have five of our top seven runners back for next year, so we’ll be looking forward to another great year.”
This Saturday at 1:00 the girls will compete in the Division 2 State Meet at Franklin Park in Roxbury.