Young, Braz-Rocha lead USATF-NE XC fields

A combined total of 408 runners, the largest USATF-NE meet in history, met spirited racing at the USATF-NE Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park on Sunday. Seasonably cool temperatures with minimal wind on a leaf-covered but firm course produced fast times. A combined  runners completed the races. 
Men's winner Jesse Young (NE Distance) was fourth a year ago, but recorded a 30 second improvement on Sunday to give him tape-breaking honors.  Teammate Henry Sterling, looking forward to the Cal International Marathon next month, was steps behind with Ryan Smith in third.   Smith led Tracksmith to a 36-48 team win over the B.A.A. in a 13 team field.
Pacing the women's field from the gun was Catarina Braz-Rocha (Ocean State AC/New Balance). Moving up from third in 2018, her winning time of 20:54 was 30 seconds up on Brandeis grad Emily Bryson, competing unattached.  The B.A.A. edged Tracksmith 28-30 for club gold, with Battle Road third.   Masters women leaders were Kasie Enman (GMAA, W40, 8th overall), Holly Madden (HFC, W50), Brenda Ezigi (HFc, W60), Mary Sharkey (CMS, W70), and Carrie Parsi (Liberty AC, W80).
New England's strong masters programs makes a repeat win difficult in any race, but Michal Gordon was up to the challenge. The Dirigo RC 40+ ace outran Eric Blake (Unattached) and 110 other competitors in the masters men's race in 26:35.   Pete Hammer (B.A.A.) also repeated as winner, while new 60 year old Mark Reeder (Gr.Lowell RR) earned the division title.  Tom Derderian (GBTC, M70) and Peter Mitchell (GMAA/80+) completed the division winners.  
In a month, many in the field will head down I-95 to Lehigh University in Pennsylvania for the USATF Cross Country Championship