The Marblehead High boys cross-country team was a perfect 5-0 last year to secure the Northeastern Conference (NEC) Dunn Division championship. These harriers then went on to capture the Division 1C state title.
The Magicians are now back to work looking to defend their championship ways. Coach Brian Heenan welcomed 20 runners to the first day of practice recently, and that includes five seniors, eight juniors, nine sophomores and one freshman.
“We lost several key runners to graduation last year, but still return a strong group,” said Heenan. “Thanks to the captains (Ryan Blestowe, Will Cronin and Isaac Gross) organizing group runs over the summer, the boys seem to be poised for another good season.”
The team’s top returning runners to watch include juniors Will Cerrutti and Nate Assa, sophomore Will Cruikshank and the three aforementioned captains Blestowe, Cronin and Gross.
Sophomores Zach Pike and Thomas Svencer have also looked good so far, according to Heenan.
“Newcomers Henrik Adams, a sophomore, and Jonah Potach, a junior, also stand to make a big impact on the team this fall,” added the coach.
The Marblehead boys are scheduled to open up the regular season on Wednesday, Sept. 6, against Salem at Gatchell’s Park, starting at 4:30 p.m.
Overall, Heenan thinks that the NEC will be very competitive this year, with Danvers, Beverly and Peabody also returning solid teams.
“We have been in the NEC Dunn Division in the past, but with Saugus, Gloucester and potentially Winthrop not fielding teams this year, I do not know if we will have two divisions,” Heenan added. “At the state level, we will compete in Division 2A, and that championship meet is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 11. The top teams and individual finishers there will then qualify for the Division 2 All-State Meet the following Saturday.”