Quincy/North Quincy girls run to third at Dick Atkinson Invitational

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NORTHFIELD — The Northfield Mountain setting in Western Mass. is a brutally tough course on a good day with its notorious three-quarter mile grind that has brought several elite harriers to their knees over the years.

Throw in abysmal weather like the harriers faced in Saturday’s Dick Atkinson Invitational and it was downright harrowing.

The Quincy/North Quincy girls wound up thriving in the downpour and slick conditions to finish a strong third place with 124 points. Bromfield ran away with the team title with just 46 points and Hamilton-Wenham took second. Q/NQ head coach Geoff Hennessy wanted the girls to get used to a hilly course because the Div. 1 class meets are slated for the hilly Gardner Golf Course layout in November.

“Now we know they can handle anything,” said Hennessy after the soggy race. “It was impossible to get any traction. It was very difficult. We thought the kids needed to get on a hilly course before Gardner. We did well.”

Salma Boukhtam was just out of the top 10 with her 11th-place over the 5K course and her time of 22:18.32 wasn’t indicative of how well she ran. Last Saturday, Boukhtam clocked a 19:17 for 24th place at the Twilight Invitational in Barnstable.

“I know what she’s capable of on a dry course,” said Hennessy.

Eastern Mass. had several strong performances in the tough conditions. Norfolk County Agricultural’s Madelyn Germain was a solid third in 20:30.60 and Hamilton-Wenham’s Grace Richard (21:53.70) and Charlotte Madden (21:57.23) were seventh and eighth respectively. Julia Parsons of Amesbury was 12th in 22:18.45 and Aluna Coogan-Coyne of Q/NQ was 13th in 22:22.20. Megan Moran of Westfield was the winner in 19:54.07.

Ben McWaters of Bromfield captured the boys varsity race in 17:32.94, while a slew of Eastern Mass. runners finished in the top 15. Hamilton-Wenham’s James Regan was second in 17:44.28 and teammates Ben Rich (fourth, 17:52.86), Clark Glidden (eighth, 18:19.53) and Cole Regan (13th, 18:38.67) cracked the top 15. Ben McCarthy of Millis was sixth in 18:18.17, Zach Lyon of Triton was 14th in 18:39.77 and Q/NQ’s Ryan Aitsaid took 15th in 18:50.99.

Hamilton-Wenham was second to Bromfield (39 points) with 47 points.

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