By Michael James LeClair
On Tuesday afternoon the Nashoba Regional cross country teams welcomed North Middlesex Regional to Bower Springs Conservation Land looking to remain perfect on the 2015 season.
The Chieftains pulled off the sweep on Tuesday as both the boys and girls teams pulled out victories over the visiting Patriots. The boys earned a 20-41 win while the girls came away with a 19-42 triumph.
“I’m pleased with this one today,” said Nashoba boys’ head coach Steve Beckwith after his team improved to 3-0 on the campaign. “I think it was expected but I really like the way the kids ran the course today.”
Leading the way for the Nashoba boys’ squad was the junior duo of Kyle Cloutier and Ryan Gillooly. The Chieftain captains placed first and second respectively on the 3.08 mile course. Cloutier finished with a personal record of 16:03 with Gillooly clocking in at 16:27. Not far behind him was teammate Travis Wold who finished fourth with a time of 17:06.
Both Cloutier and Gillooly have been fighting illness for the past week. Immediately following Monday’s race, Beckwith advised Cloutier, who was suffering from major fatigue, to head home, making him unavailable for comment. However, Gillooly was able to talk about his performance on Tuesday afternoon.
“I felt pretty good on the course. I’ve been fighting a cold the past week but I don’t feel it affected my race or my performance,” said Gillooly following the race. “I was pretty happy with my time today. I thought the course was a little washed down from the rain so there were a lot of roots but other than it was fine and a non factor.”
Beckwith talked about Cloutier’s effort on Tuesday. “Kyle has been sick for the last four or five days; I think he had a little dehydration going during the race today,” said Beckwith. “He really ran out hard and that shows how competitive he is.”
Nashoba (3-0) placed four runners in the top six and eight runners in the top 10 against a Patriots squad still looking for its first win of the season (0-5 overall).
Other Chieftain runners that earned the home team points on the score sheet were Matt Buttiglieri (18:03), Ivan Muchiutti (18:07) and Owen Hunter (18:31) finishing sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.
On the girls’ side of things, Rylee Gillen (20:29), Alexandra Bettez (21:32) and Michaela Bettez (22:13) claimed the top three spots for the hosts. North Middlesex’s Kim Dilorenzo (22:21) and Aleshia Bouchard (22:27) rounded out the top five.
“We had some runners perform really well but a couple of the times were a little slower than I’d have liked to see,” said Nashoba girls’ head coach Dan Glover. “I have a crew of girls that really work hard and enjoy working hard and they’re a pleasure to be around and work with. We have some real talent but we were hit hard this year because three of my top six runners from a year ago are not back due to injuries. The girls we have this year have done a great job stepping in and filling the space.”
Alexis Muchiutti (22:53) and Jessie Duggan (22:55) rounded out the Nashoba top five runners with sixth and seventh-place finishes respectively.
For Rylee, one of five seniors on this year’s Nashoba team, the first place finish comes in the girls’ final home race of the season. Prior to the race, the Nashoba seniors were honored with flowers and gathered for several photos. The five seniors this year are Gillen, Duggan, Emily Suleski, Muchiutti and Maggie Quinn.
“I felt OK out there today. The course was in good shape. There are a few roots out there that I had to contend with but other than that things went well today,” said Gillen. “We have a decent team this year. We have a pretty strong top five and then the next three or four runners are right there as well. We have some depth on the roster.”
The boys return to action on Saturday at the Mid Wach B Invitational at Wachusett Regional in Holden. The girls will join the boys on Tuesday, Oct. 13 when the two squads travel to Quabbin Regional in Barre.