By Dave Dyer
---- — BOSTON — The Catholic Memorial Invitational girls meet turned into a Merrimack Valley Conference duel yesterday.
Haverhill’s Riley Gilmore finished first in 19:32.2 over Franklin Park’s 5K course, eight seconds ahead of Methuen’s Marwah Haq. Five seconds back in third was Central Catholic junior Tiffany Simione.
This was Gilmore’s most impressive performance to date and by far the best race for Haq, who was out all of last year with a broken leg.
“It was a great race for Riley,” said Haverhill coach Mike Maguire. “I hope this will give her confidence and a springboard for the big races we have ahead starting with the MVC meet next week.”
As a team, Haverhill placed fifth, one spot ahead of Methuen and two in front of Central. The Hillies had four runners from 33rd (Haylee Krenzer) to 38th (freshman Jenna Solimine), the latter of whom is starting to come on strong.
Impressive for Methuen were juniors Jordan Hanson and Hannah Wunderlich in 25th and 27th respectively.Astro boys in 4th
Led by Phil Parent, Pinkerton’s boys came in fourth at Catholic Memiorial, just two points back of runner-up St. John’s Prep and not far behind champion Lexington.
Parent finished third overall in 16:25.8, getting nipped for the runner-up spot and only three seconds behind the winner, Medfield’s Ian Robertson.
“It was nice to see Phil get tested by the best runners around and respond like he did,” said Pinkerton coach Mike Clark. “He went out with a 5-minute first mile and challenged the leaders all the way.”
Showing the depth of the “Long Red Line,” Pinkerton put its next five runners between 20th and 28th with just 18 seconds separating them. Junior Owen Clark, showing he’s recovered from a bout of bronchitis, was 20th.
Methuen, missing junior Matt Marchand, was fifth. Sophomore Jeff Reddy led the Rangers, in ninth, with a 16:41.2.
Haverhill’s Chris White was the third local finisher, taking 19th in 17:05.8.