Sports Editor

GARDNER — The Bromfield girls cross country team has become used to having a target on their backs as they have been the pre-eminent program in the state for some time. But entering Saturday’s State Division 2 final, there was a special pressure on the Lady Trojans as they searched for their third consecutive championship against the best the Commonwealth has to offer.

Junior Emily Jones was looking to defend the individual championship she won last year. But standing in her way was the challenge of Triton’s tough Keely Maguire, who defeated Jones at the Brown Invitational earlier in the fall.

Led by Jones, who turned the tables on Maguire, the Lady Trojans stepped up and answered the challenge. On a day when all Bromfield runners rose to the occasion, the three-peat was accomplished. Bromfield finished with 67 points, edging a talented Oliver Ames squad that finished with 76 points. Bishop Feehan (97), Wellesley (100) and Holliston (168) rounded out the top five.

Jones came up big, crossing the finish line in 16:06. That time was 50 seconds faster than her C. Mass. winning clocking of a week ago, but more importantly 15 seconds better than Maguire, who was second.

“Emily ran a great race, the best she has ever run,” said Bromfield coach Henry Phelan. “She wanted to win this race badly and she really stepped up and met the challenge. She took the lead around the mile mark and never looked back.”

While Jones led the way, the other four Bromfield point scorers also turned in better times than a week ago on the raw and blustery day.

Senior Liz Lee notched a tenth place finish with a clocking of 17:32 after running a 17:38.2 last week.

Junior Emily Reedich was 25th in 18:09, 20 seconds better than last week.

Senior Bo Dunn was 31st, knocking a second off last week’s time by finishing in 18:21.

Junior Lisa Reedich’s 36th place finish iced the championship. She improved 27 seconds from a week ago as she crossed the finish line in 18:29.

“It was a tough day for running and the wind was really whipping,” said Phelan. “We won because everyone went out and ran faster than last week. Oliver Ames ran very well and this was a very competitive race. Liz ran well again, Emily Reedich just gets better every week, Bo finished off a very strong season, and Lisa ran her best race of the year.”

How does the third championship rank against the other two?

“This one was the hardest of them all,” said Phelan. “There was no room for error and the girls didn’t make any errors. There is a lot of satisfaction to win three State Championships in a row. This might be the most satisfying of the three.”