Cross Country favorites
The Mass State Track Coaches Association released its latest statewide cross country polls last week, and several local teams ranked among the best in the state. For the boys, Newburyport is ranked No. 2 in the state among small schools, behind only Seekonk. Pentucket ranks No. 5, Triton is No. 9 and CAL rivals Hamilton-Wenham and Ipswich are both just outside the top 20. On the girls side, Triton is ranked No. 3 in the state behind Mt. Greylock and Lenox Memorial, Newburyport ranks No. 7, Hamilton-Wenham is No. 14 and Pentucket is No. 17.
Within each team’s respective divisions, the Newburyport boys are the favorite to win Saturday’s Division 4 EMass title, and in the Division 5 EMass meet Pentucket ranks No. 3 and Triton at No. 5. On the girls side, Triton is the favorite to win the Division 5 EMass title and Newburyport ranks second in the Division 4 EMass field and Pentucket seventh.
Salisbury’s Marissa Farago, a former Triton distance standout and now a junior on the Franklin Pierce women’s cross country team, has earned Third Team All-Northeast-10 recognition after placing 15th overall at last weekend’s Northeast-10 Conference Championship meet. Farago was the Ravens’ top finisher, running a 6K time of 25:04.7 to notch her first career All-NE-10 accolade. Farago and the Ravens will return to action on Saturday when they travel to Philadelphia for the NCAA East Regional.
CAL approves Masco’s exit
The Cape Ann League’s athletic directors voted unanimously to allow Masconomet to leave the conference and join the Northeastern Conference in all sports starting in the fall of 2020, league commissioner Les Murray said Thursday morning. According to league bylaws, schools are normally required to give two years notice before leaving, but everyone involved agreed the best thing for everybody would be to move forward quickly.
Masconomet, which consists of students from Boxford, Topsfield and Middleton, accepted an invitation from the NEC to become the conference’s 12th member in mid-October. The school’s move must now be approved by District A and the MIAA, but assuming that goes forward without a hitch, the Chieftains will join Beverly, Salem, Danvers, Peabody, Marblehead, Swampscott, Gloucester, Lynn Classical, Lynn English, Saugus and Winthrop in their new conference.
Masconomet is the fourth school to leave the CAL this decade. Wilmington left to join the Middlesex League in 2011, followed by North Andover to the Merrimack Valley Conference in 2012. Saugus was also briefly a member of the league, joining for one year in 2013 before immediately going back to its former home in the NEC to following year.
Mirageas’ strong start
Newburyport’s Ben Mirageas is off to a great start to his junior year with the Providence College men’s hockey team. The defenseman has tallied three assists through his team’s first eight games, including one in last weekend’s 3-3 tie against Colgate. Overall the Friars are 4-3-1 and are ranked No. 11 in the country in the latest USCHO.com poll. They will play a home-and-home against Boston University this weekend.
If the season ended today, Merrimac’s Pat Freiermuth and the Penn State football team would be among the four teams to qualify for the College Football Playoff field. The Nittany Lions jumped Clemson to reach No. 4 in the all-important CPF rankings, coming in behind Ohio State, LSU and Alabama. Penn State is currently 8-0 and has games remaining against No. 17 Minnesota (8-0), Indiana (7-2), No. 1 Ohio State (8-0) and Rutgers (2-7). Should the Nittany Lions survive that gauntlet undefeated and then win the Big Ten championship game, they will almost certainly remain in the playoff field.