BSC cross-country: Needham’s Greta Hammer avenges loss to Werner

WRENTHAM — With decisive victories at the Frank Kelley and Twilight Invitationals, Brookline’s Lucia Werner went to the starting line of Saturday’s Bay State Conference Championships as the heavy favorite in unseasonably warm conditions at the Wrentham Developmental Center layout.

It was Needham’s Greta Hammer, though, who shook free of Werner and Weymouth’s Gracie Richard after the 2-mile mark and extended her lead. Hammer was well clear of the field as she crossed the finish line of the 5k course in 18 minutes, 16.6 seconds. The always-consistent Richard powered home for the silver medal and 18:39.8 ahead of an exhausted Werner, who took third in 18:55.4

Hammer exacted a little revenge over Werner, who defeated the Needham harrier on her home course in a dual meet on Sep. 20, winning by six seconds over 3.1 miles, 18:40 to 18:46.

A pack of six passed the first mile in 5:50 and that was whittled down to Hammer, Werner and Richard at 2-miles. Hammer put in a big move shortly after and the race was over.

“The mile felt good,” said Hammer, who was third last year. “It was definitely hot. I wanted to run with the leaders and work my way up a little bit into the lead. I was just hoping I could stay in front once I took the lead.”

Weymouth and Needham finished with identical scores of 67 points, but it was the Wildcats who came away with the win in the tiebreaker as their sixth runner finished one place ahead of the Rockets’ No. 6 girl. Ciara Evans of Newton North was a strong fourth in 19:03.8 and Bridget Reidy of Wellesley rounded out the top five in 19:10.1. Framingham’s top runner, Sasha Lamakina, was eighth in 19:16 and Braintree’s Caitlyn Chang ran well for ninth in 19:18.8. Emma Tuxbury of Wellesley finished 10th in 19:21.7.


WRENTHAM — Newton North’s Gabriel Grove considers himself very lucky to be running in the Bay State Conference.

“It’s a privilege to run in this conference,” said the senior. “There are a lot of great runners and Brookline is the best team in the state and one of the best in the country.”

Most of Grove’s competitors probably wished he took Saturday’s BSC Championships off.

Grove, a 4:26 miler and 9:21 2-miler, was brilliant.

Racing on the rolling Wrentham Developmental Center layout under bright skies in warm temperatures, the Tiger senior passed the mile in 4:49 with Wellesley’s Stephen Goehringer and Eli Merritt in tow. Grove made a strong move halfway through and put daylight between himself and the two harriers. He extended his lead and leaped across the finish line in a quick time of 15 minutes, 47.8 seconds for the win. Goehringer was also under 16 minutes with a second-place finish in 15:58.

Altamo Aschkenasy led Brookline’s juggernaut with third in 16:00.6. The Warriors’ top-five scoring harriers finished within 31 seconds of each other to take the team title with 39 points. The Raiders were a strong second with 41 points.

Grove, who has made the leap into the group of elite harriers in the state, was confident coming in that he’d be among the front runners. “I knew I was going to be in the front pack,” he said. “As soon as I got to halfway I knew I had it. I felt more relaxed (with a 4:49 first mile) than a lot of other races. This is the first race we’d tapered for all season.”

Along with Grove, Sean Kerin was the lone harrier in the top 10 who wasn’t from Brookline or Wellesley. The Walpole runner had a great day with ninth in 16:20.3.

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