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Saugus sets pace out East

Girls team wins race, boys take third place at national cross country invitational in N.Y.

Posted: October 4, 2009 12:45 a.m.
Updated: October 4, 2009 4:55 a.m.
It appears that the boundaries of Saugus cross country's dominance are expanding.

The Centurions won the girls 3-mile varsity AAA race, led by junior Kaylin Mahoney's individual victory, while the boys team placed third in its respective 3-mile varsity AAA race on Saturday at the 45th McQuaid Jesuit Cross Country Invitational in Genesee Valley Park, Rochester, N.Y.

"We did a lot for California cross country," said Saugus head coach Rene Paragas. "We are a good team in California but not the best in the nation. We faced two of the top schools in New York here and we competed with them close. That said a lot not just for Saugus cross country, but California cross country."

According to the event's official registration Web site, 7,500 runners and 244 teams competed in the boys and girls races combined.

Led by Mahoney's first-place time of 17 minutes, 2.19 seconds, the Centurions won the race with a team score of 21 points with five runners in the top 10. Karis Frankian finished second (17:12.40), Stephanie Bulder fourth (17:18.99), Danielle Hernando eighth (18:12.31), Merissa Kado ninth (18:16.12) and Alex Hampton 14th (18:28.71).

"If you took all the other teams in our race and combined them into an all-star team, we could have defeated all the other schools together," Paragas said.

The Saugus girls are currently ranked No. 2 in the national DyeStat Elite/ESPN RISE FAB 50 rankings.

The girls team's showing is all the more impressive considering several of its top runners were not present.

Senior team captain Amber Murakami traveled but did not race because of a lingering ankle injury. Nicole Penick, who finished sixth at the first Foothill League meet of the season on Wednesday, did not travel due to prior obligations.

Honeoye Falls-Lima was second with a team score of 65 points, followed by Hilton with 157.

Saugus' average time of 17:36.41, was nearly a minute faster than Honeoye Falls.

The boys were paced by Robert Pion, who finished eighth with a time of 15:17.65.

Cody Pelliccioni, of Morgantown High in West Virginia, took first in 14:53.19.

Centurion Alex Ruther placed 14th (15:50.99), followed by A.J. Hebert in 20th (15:56.62), Alec Nelson in 25th (16:06.16), Logan Smith in 29th (16:12.40), Zach McGraw in 47th (16:34.99), Kurt Lutz in 50th (16:37.55) and Alan Gately in 51st (16:38.47).

Liverpool High took first overall with a score of 78 and Burnt Hills-Ballston was second with 85, followed by Saugus with 86.

Paragas said that traveling across the country may take away from his teams' competitiveness during the league season, but the experience was worth it.

"It was a competitive meet and we really enjoyed it," Paragas said. "It was rainy and muddy, not during the race but leading up to it. We got to experience true cross country. It's not on a man-made track or a paved road, but mud and grass and hills."


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