WRENTHAM — What may have changed into a catastrophe for Marrietta O’Connell at Saturday’s Frank Kelley Invitational merely grew to become solely a slight inconvenience for the Marblehead harrier.
Racing within the small college junior/senior occasion on the Wrentham Developmental Center, O’Connell constructed a 40-yard lead and was in full management.
And then got here a freak incidence that has proved devastating for runners much more skilled than O’Connell. She misplaced a shoe with three-quarters of a mile left within the 3,000-meter race. Running on the moist, spongy grass with one shoe didn’t rattle the sophomore one iota, however solely reaffirmed her toughness in competitors.
She continued to bear down on the tempo to the tip, profitable simply in 10 minutes, 51.2 seconds.
O’Connell broke up the pack early on as she tore by means of the opening mile in 5:30 and was by no means threatened even with one shoe. She completed comfortably forward of Whitinsville Christian freshman Abby Flagg (11:10.2) and Medfield’s Ella Kane (11:43.6). Natalie Martin of Norwood completed fourth (11:45.4) and Newburyport’s Blake Parker took fifth (11:47.2).
O’Connell simply shrugged off the mishap and stated the hardest half was working over a brief stony part of the course.
“It felt a little different running without a shoe but it wasn’t too bad,” she stated. “My shoe got untied early, early and then it just came off. It felt a little weird but I got used to it.”
Marblehead additionally had a winner within the junior/senior race on the boys’ aspect as Isaac Gross went to the entrance aggressively – he handed the mile in 4:45 – and saved proper on going for a powerful 9:21.4 victory. The senior completed properly forward of the runner-up, Jonathan Garraway of Bedford, who completed in 9:37.2. Gross’ teammate, Nate Assa, captured third in 9:47.8.
Gross was sick all week, however recovered sufficient to maintain the sector in his rearview.
“When I race now I’m in a zone,” stated Gross. “I don’t have the best kick, but I can get out quick. I don’t have anxiety before races anymore. I just race.”
The freshman/sophomore boys’ race went to Norton’s Sean Parham, who completed in 9:48.7. Nathan Gartner of Falmouth Academy was a robust second in 10:05.4 and Tewksbury’s Steve Oppedisano sprinted house to assert the bronze medal with a ten:10.9 effort.
Westwood has a terrific sophomore in Tea Pagnotti and there was no stop in her as she waged a ferocious battle during the last 100 yards with Grace Rich of Hamilton-Wenham. Pagnotti gave one ultimate burst for the win in 11:34.1, with Rich two steps again in 11:35.
Pagnotti was all smiles after the race and happy together with her technique of retaining the leaders in touch earlier than shifting laborious.
“I was hoping to stay connected with the front pack and I just kicked with 400 to go,” she stated. “I wanted to do my best. It’s early in the season and I wanted to see where I’m at. Today was a great challenge.”