The Berlin girl's cross country team finished fourth overall at the state meet and became the first Berlin team (Boys or Girls) to qualify for the State Open as a team.
"We have had many individuals qualify over the years but this marks the first time an entire team from Berlin made the cut," Berlin coach Steve Soucy said. "It took all seven runners to make it, and they all stepped up to the plate and made it happen. The girls were led by Nicole Grieco's 21st place finish. She was followed closely by Kristen Madeia in 28th, Paige Young in 31st, Stef Parillo at 33rd, Taylor Lupini in 37th, Brittany Sullivan in 40th and Nicki Sylvain at 60th.
"The girls made it into the Open by two points. So, if anyone got passed they most likely would have missed out. Many of our girls passed three or four people in the final 50 meters.
"We had talked about this type of race all year. Our team is built around all seven runners needing to perform. Many teams start with a low number from one really fast girl and just hope that their fourth and fifth runners can finish high enough to keep their team score low. Our team needs not only our fourth and fifth runners to do well but our sixth and seventh runners to push every other team back places by finishing so high.
"The girls really bought into this philosophy and it really worked in our favor today. Our seventh runner finished before many team's fourth. I couldn't be happier for the girls, they worked really hard throughout the season, stayed focused as a team and deserve the chance to run at the Open."
The boy's team hit goals they have been working on for over three years. The boys finished in the Top 10 in Class MM. They also set a new BHS cross country team record for team time. The old record was 1:34:19 and they were able to lower the mark to 1:33:56.
Junior James Dwyer was the team's top finisher in 35th overall in 18:20. He was followed closely by Brendan McLarty 40th, Lawrence Betterini 53rd, Sam Papacoda 57th, Matt Kall 73rd, Ryan Kliszewski 89th and Connor Ladd 101st.
"This was also the first time all seven of our runners were under 20 minutes," Soucy said. "The record meant a lot to the boys and they really deserve it. Last year they missed it by 11 seconds. Over the summer they put in a tremendous amount of work with that specific goal in mind. They were able to forget about all the distractions and other teams running and just focus on their own time and what each of them needed to hit to make it happen."
Weather permitting, the Open will be held at Wickham Park Saturday with the Girls' race starting at 2 p.m.