McConville turns out lights at McIntyre meet

FALMOUTH — The second annual Bob McIntyre Twilight Cross-Country Meet at Barnstable Fairgrounds drew more than twice as many applicants as the 2011 race and forced administrators to double the varsity races to accommodate 2,756 participants. There were four races featuring 79 teams.

Seekonk coach and Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association executive director Frank Mooney couldn’t have been more pleased.

“For me, the more the merrier,” Mooney said. “The more kids we’re giving a healthy, positive opportunity or experience, the better off [the MSTCA] is as an organization. We’re really excited that last year’s reputation really spread this thing.”

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The event is named for McIntyre, a MSTCA executive director who died from cancer in 1996.

The Division 1 girls’ race — the first of the meet, and run under the lights — was won by Newton South freshman Rebecca Grusby (18 minutes, 22.27 seconds). Her closest competitor was Lauren O’Neil, a Falmouth sophomore (18:39.14), followed by Needham’s Margie Cullen (18:47.43).

Needham took home first place in the team division with 47 points, followed by Newton South (78) and Notre Dame of Hingham (83).

In the Division 2 girls’ race, Julie McConville of Hingham outpaced her competition by a wide margin. The senior finished in 17:30.6, far ahead of Kerri Keohane of Tyngsboro (18:06.03). McConville said her coaches’ positive attitude last week and along the course made the difference.

“The coaches were along the way and told me to stay calm, so I just listened to them,” McConville said.

Nolan Parsley of Weymouth took first in the Division 1 boys’ race, finishing in 15:49.43, quickly followed by Owen Gonser of King Philip (15:50.43) and Mike Hanley of Bishop Feehan (15:53.65).

The night’s final event, the Division 2 boys’ race, belonged to Weston senior Matt Herzig (15:48.33), who placed fifth in last year’s meet and almost dropped to the back of the pack after a fall in the first 100 meters this year.

Despite tripping, tumbling a few times, and skinning his left knee, Herzig got back to his feet and persevered. He was followed by Melrose’s Christian Gentile (15:56.31) and Michael Wyman of Old Rochester (15:57.90).