The West Newbury pipeline continued for St. John’s Prep this fall, and that was definitely a good thing for the Eagles.
Liam Dow, who was the No. 1 man for St. John’s last year as a junior, returned and was as good as ever and, with junior Tim Loehner of Danvers, there was a solid one-two punch.
Another West Newbury resident, Scott Atwood, was a scorer for St. John’s, but he suffered an injury late in the season.
With or without Atwood, another West Newbury resident emerged to help save the day for St. John’s, which lost three of its top five from last year’s team that finished fourth at the Division 1 All-State meet. That would be sophomore Luke Bugler, who was only on the freshman team last year, but surged to No. 3 and at the EMass. Division 1 meet, was the first Eagle to finish, taking 21st in 16:23.1 to qualify for this week’s All-State meet as an individual.
“Luke was definitely the surprise of the team,” said St. John’s Prep coach John Boyle. “We were searching for a fifth man and he emerged as our No. 3 guy. He wasn’t even our best freshman last year, but he worked really hard at it and just made amazing improvement.”
With the boost from Bugler, the Eagles were right in the thick of the best competition all year. They captured the Catholic Conference crown, came in fourth at the rugged Ocean State Invitational in Rhode Island and won its division at the Manhattan Invitational.
The leader until last Saturday was Dow, who has been in the front of the pack almost every meet and is also a terrific student. He’s taking five AP classes and hopes to attend Dartmouth next year.
Unfortunately, St. John’s didn’t reach its goal of making All-State as a team, finishing sixth in what was one of the strongest fields in years. The Eagles got a solid effort from fifth man Evan MacMullin of Haverhill, but they weren’t quite fast enough in the front.