Milton High School Girls Cross Country take MIAA Cross Country All State Division II, first place

Milton High School Girls Cross Country
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Update shared by J. Daly

Coach Thomas Shaw’s Milton High School Girls Cross Country take MIAA Cross Country All State Division II, first Place, at Stanley Park Westfield, MA – after 17 years!

The Milton Girls Cross Country Team performed beautifully on Saturday, November 21 at the MIAA All State Cross Country Finals, to bring home the highly competitive MIAA trophy title. Milton’s girls were not overly confident but were well-prepared and knew their jobs. Milton’s main competition to beat would be Lenox Memorial High School. It was a challenging course consisting of about two miles of tough wooded terrain. Milton’s Bridget Mitchell came fast out of the woods with good distance between her the chase field, with Collette O’Leary of Milton not far behind. Mitchell however, lost momentum with about 1,000 yards to go as and was passed by two last-minute sprints forward from Sarah Edwards of Bellingham and Phobee Von Conta of Parker Charter, who passed as they approached the finish line.

At the same time Milton’s Colette O’Leary kept her poise and moved up in position to make for an exciting photo finish between Milton’s 3rd and 4th (Mitchell and O’Leary) with times of 18:24:11 and 18:24:99, Colette O’Leary’s freshman sister also gained ground for a strong finish at 16th over the line, followed by the strong team of Naomi Negassi, Alexis Belash, Mairead Dambruch and Freshman Clodagh Corcoran. The placement of all of Milton’s seven girls secured the winning 58 points to Lenox Memorial’s 104 points to capture the team’s first MIAA Girls Cross Country All State title since 1998.

View a gallery of the Milton High School Girls Cross Country team:

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Team members share their thoughts below:

Coach Shaw: “This very young team came through when it mattered most. They didn’t flinch, they didn’t shy away and they most important, they didn’t take anything for granted. They did something on Saturday that required extraordinary courage, confidence, poise, faith, and fortitude. The rock of this team is their faith in each other to do their best for the team. On any given day they will all run their heart out for the team. They are a young team made up of two freshmen, a sophomore, two juniors and two seniors. They knew what they were getting into and they had a purpose to what they were doing, they had team motivation and were able to focus on what they had to do individually and as a team.”

Collette O’Leary (Co-Captain): “Coming into the beginning of this season of Cross Country we felt like we were the underdogs. The team didn’t qualify last year and this year we wanted it. We have been training since last June. I felt good in the last mile when I knew I still had energy left to be able step up the pace to finish strong in the race.”

Bridget Mitchell: “I knew I had to gain an advantage early in the race because our competition had a very good sprinter. I came out of the woods with a strong lead maintaining it until about the last 1,000 meters, but that lead provided me enough space to maintain the finish we needed for the team.”

Ali Belash, senior: “We trained hard all summer for this season; our hard work paid off. I maintained a strong position in the field and finished strong.  It was perfect teamwork. I am so proud to be associated with this team.:

Mairead Dambruch, senior (Co-Captain):  “Our coach TShaw had us well prepared, it was a perfectly executed race with everyone doing their team job, with great running conditions. I am so proud of this team. I am thrilled to be going “out with a bang” and will miss these girls.  I look forward to our next challenge in New York.”

Naomi Negassi, junior:  “The race was fast paced, we needed to keep our eye on the Lenox team, I felt strong and after the first mile when I passed Lenox 4th runner I felt that a good finish was in sight. The preparation, training and dedication paid off.”

Clodagh Corcoran, freshman: “This team was hungry for this title. Our coach prepared us for our job to do today. I felt very prepared and maintained my position in the team and in the field gaining placement at any opportunity I could find.  The competition was tough and we worked well and ran hard for each other. Each member of the team gave it everything and it paid off. I am so happy for our team and our school.”

Elise O’Leary: “The race was fast; we knew Lenox were our competition. I knew we had our two teammates ahead and kept Lenox within my sight throughout the race. At the half way mark I felt strong and kept Lenox’s third runner in my sight. It was an amazing experience as a freshman to be part of this Cross Country team and successful season.”

The girls were delighted to be representing their coaches, Town and school and were united in being grateful for the support from their team mates, supporters and families.

If you see any of these stellar athletes, please give them a high-five!


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