By Nick Curcuru
---- — Today’s All State Cross County Meet at Northfield Mountain features the best teams and individual runners from all over the state, so Gloucester’s Noah Mondello and Manchester Essex’s Fiona Davis will feel right at home.
Mondello, a senior, and Davis, a junior, are no strangers to competing against the best cross country runners the state has to offer.
Mondello will be making his third appearance in the All State meet after a seventh place finish at last week’s Division 3 State Meet in Wrentham with a time of 16:24. Davis will be making her third straight trip to the All State as an individual placing fifth at last week’s Division 6 State meet with a time of 19:34. Davis and Mondello qualified as individuals because they were both within the top 10 individual times of runners on non-qualifying teams.
The Manchester Essex boys team will also be competing today, it’s first trip to the All State meet.
Gloucester’s lone representative Mondello has been getting stronger as the season has wore on. The senior, who helped lead Gloucester to a 7-0 regular season record and the Northeastern Conference Small championship, finished fifth at the Northeastern Conference Cross Country Championships helping the Fishermen to a second place finish, nearly pulling off a huge upset and knocking off favorite Peabody falling just two points shy. He followed up his strong performance at the NEC Championship Meet with another strong performance last Saturday in Wrentham in the Division 3 meet with a time of 16:24 and a seventh place finish. Mondello’s time and place topped his mark in last year’s Division 3 State Meet, where he finished eighth with a time of 16:36. He also competed in the All State in 2010 when the Fishermen qualified as a team. Gloucester just missed qualifying for the All State as a team with a sixth place finish at the Division 3 Meet.
According to head coach Dave Dunsky a strong finish for Mondello today would be a top 25 finish.
Davis is also no stranger to competing on the big stage as her fifth place finish in the Division 6 State Meet almost single handedly propelled the ME girls into the All State. The Hornets, however, fell three spots shy with a seventh place finish. But Davis’ stellar finish was good enough to get her into the All State as an individual.
She may only be a junior, but Davis will be competing in the All State meet for the third straight season. It’s easy to see Davis’ improvement since her Freshman season. As a Freshman Davis qualified as an individual with a 15th place finish in the Division 3 State Meet, last year Davis placed ninth with a time of 20:57. This season Davis improved her place by four spots and time by nearly a minute and a half.
The Manchester Essex boys will be the lone Cape Ann team competing today thanks to a fourth place finish in last week’s Division 6 State Meet. The Hornets will be sending seven runners to compete against the states top teams and individuals and they are riding a wave after a strong performance last week and in the regular season, where a 5-5 record placed them second in the Cape Ann League Small.
The Hornets will be led by eighth grader Spencer Feuerbach, who was the team’s top finisher at the Division 6 meet with a 24th place finish, and Cam Holley, who finished right behind him in 26th. Nathan Evans, Parker Malarky, Erik Rajunas, Eric Fossa and Charlie Davis round out the Hornets lineup for today’s meet.