WRENTHAM — King Philip High’s Mike Griffin and Foxboro High’s Abby Hassman are the best cross country runners in the Hockomock League.
Griffin, a KP senior, captured first place in the boys’ division by an 18-second margin at the Wrentham Developmental Center, while Hassman, a Foxboro senior, finished first by 49 seconds.
In defending his Hockomock League championship, Griffin was clocked at 15:37.6 time, outdistancing Franklin High’s Tyler Brogan (15:55) as coach Chris Elgar’s Warriors finished second only to Oliver Ames in the team standings.
Hassman, who won the Hockomock League title as a sophomore — while finishing third as a freshman and as the runner-up in 2018, produced a meet winning time of 18:52.3, racing the wind to such an extent that her nearest rivals, both from Sharon were 49 and 53 seconds behind her.
The KP boys positioned themselves for a potential team title as senior Mike Norberg took third place at 16:05), while Dan Botte and Jovan Joseph finished within two seconds of each other to break into the top 20.
“Griffin and Norberg both went out together, they were the front-runners,” Elgar said of their race strategy. “Mike (Griffin) was just running at another level, he had a serene look on his face.”
Griffin broke away just after the mile and a half mark. “Mike (Norberg) tried to stay with him, but what he did was very unselfish. “Mike (Griffin) was running really fast and Norberg sacrificed himself or he might have been second or third place.”
Botte, a senior and Joseph, a junior, both ran strongly to put the Warriors (82 team points) just ahead of Franklin (93). Oliver Ames, the team titlist, had five runners finish with 1:24 of each other, all within the top 20.
Hassman, meanwhile, delivering a jaw-dropping performance, the closest local rival being King Philip High’s Maya Evans, who broke the 20-minute mark by taking fourth place (at 19:51).
“We talked about what she was planning to do,” Foxboro coach Joe Cusack said of Hassman’s strategy. “She said that she wanted to go out fast and push it. I couldn’t argue with that,” Cusack said after Hassman broke away from the field after the first mile. “She got the lead and it got bigger,” the Warrior clocking a personal best time on the 3.1 mile course.
Foxboro was the second finisher among the area’s teams, placing sixth with 151 points behind meet champion Sharon (74).
“With Abby, it’s all about having excellent training habits,” Cusack said. “She does everything that you want her to do, she’s a really unique runner.”
The Mansfield boys finished fourth with 119 points as the brothers Mullahy — Owen (a personal best 16:17) and Mike — crossed the finish line within 22 seconds of each other to break into the top 10 with the No. 6 and 9 spots respectively. Ben Giffen, the Hornets’ No. 3 runner (personal best 17:41) and Collin Stevens finished within two seconds of each other to put the Hornets into the upper echelon among the teams
The Mansfield girls had three runners among the top 22 with Tessa Lancaster taking sixth in 20:04.
Attleboro junior Kelley Neuendorf claimed a top 10 position by finishing in the No. 9 spot (at 20:28) and Kim Esteban also medaled, taking the No. 15 spot (20:51) as the Bombardiers finished 10th.
Minus an ill-ridden Nathan Seybert, the AHS boys’ team received a strong No. 19 spot from senior Francis Wenner (personal best 17:31), overcoming a hip injury.
Both the North Attleboro High boys’ and girls’ team finished ninth overall. Senior Dan Nobrega was the first Rocketeer male across the line, taking 23rd in 17:37, while junior Melissa Sapini was the first Rocketeer female to finish, claiming 20th (21:11).
Hockomock League Championship Cross Country Meet
At Wrentham Developmental Center
Boys’ team scores: 1-Oliver Ames 66, 2-King Philip 82, 3-Franklin 93, 4-Mansfield 119, 5-Taunton 123, 6-Milford 129, 7-Sharon 148, 8-Attleboro 167, 9-North Attleboro 244, 10-Canton 292, 11-Foxboro 301, 12-Stoughton 361.
Girls team scores: 1-Sharon 74, 2-Franklin 90, 3-Oliver Ames 139, 4-King Philip 140, 5-Taunton 147, 6-Foxboro 151, 7-Mansfield 158, 8-Milford 158, 9-North Attleboro 182, 10-Attleboro 187, 11-Canton 229, 12-Stoughton 314.
Attleboro placements: Boys — 19-Francis Wenner 17:31.5, 30-Ethan Sylvia 17:43.6, 35-Zach Martin 17:52.2, 36-neil Bowie 17:55.2, 50-Zack Stromfers 18:13.4, 60-Lee Casstevens 18:26.3, 62-Josh Tiews 18:31.7; Girls — 9-Kelly Neuendorf 20:28.3, 15-Kim Esteban 20:521.0, 47-Jazyl Miller-Villaneuva 22:32.8, 49-Dana Blouin 22:36.9, 67-Juliana Parsons 23:55.7, 69-Moregan Coleman 24:05.3.
Foxboro placements: Boys — 8-Ryan Proulx 16:35.5, 68-Jake Parkman 18:53.1, 74-Nick Olson 19:21.9, 75-Liam Cody 19:22.1, 76-Connor Callahan 19:32.7, 79-Jared Ciroa 19:58.7, 83-Jack Sylvestre 21:22; Girls — 1-Abby Hassman 18:52.34, 14-Jenn Yeomans 20:49.6, 37-Emily Steele 22:13.7, 41-Anya Doherty 22:22.8, 58-Amy Conley 23:06.3.
King Philip placements: Boys — 1-Mike Griffin 15:37.6, 5-Mike Norberg 16:05.1, 14-Dan Botte 17:13.8, 15-Jovan Joseph 17:15.3, 46-Nathan Farkash 18:05.1, 48-Ryan Andrews 18:12.2, 49-Brendan Weddleton 18:13.1; Girls — 4-Maya Evans 19:51.5, 21-Meg Sherwood 21:17.8, 29-Ava Pisani 21:44.7, 33-Dayna Aubin 22:07.1, 53-Abigail Simmons 22:43.5, 56-Erin Regnier 22:59.9, 57-Abigail Meader 23:02.8.
Mansfield placements: Boys — 6-Owen Mullahy 16:17.6, 9-Mike Mullahy 16:39.9, 28-Ben Giffen 17:41.1, 31-Collin Stevens 17:43.6, 57-James Schlenker 18:24.4, 67-Ryan Rispoli 18:46.9, 70-Dan Kipp 18:590.5; Girls — 6-Tessa Lancaster 20:04.9, 16-Jessica Alestock 20:52.2, 22-Emma Lamson 21:24.2, 55-Devin Anderson 22:57.8, 59-Hayley Windvogel 23:08.0, 64-Anne Riley 23:28.0, 71-Sam Greco 24:22.1.
North Attleboro placements: Boys — 23-Dan Nobrega 17:37.3, 39-Chris Galligan 17:57.7, 53-Griffin Gouck 18:14.1, 73-Will Bradley 18:44.1, 74-Mark Carlson 18:44.8; Girls — 20-Melissa Sapini 21:11.5, 32-Natalie Kaiser 22:05.3, 34-Shruti Srinivasan 22:08.7, 47-Emily Manning 22:29.3, 53-Olivia Forbes 22:38.8.