Lowell boys cross country team just keeps winning

Red Raiders run MVC winning streak to 98 meets

Lowell runners take off for the start of Wednesday’s cross country meet against Dracut and Andover. (SUN/Julia Malakie)
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ANDOVER – The Lowell High boys cross-country team’s long-running success story has spanned a decade and is showing no sign of slowing down.

Lowell raced past Andover, 16-43, and Dracut, 16-47, at Andover High Wednesday to finish the regular season with a 10-0 record and stretch its Merrimack Valley Conference winning streak to 98 straight races dating back to 2010.

The Red Raiders turned in a dominant performance, while completing their tenth straight undefeated season. Ricky Thyne (1st, 17:11) and Kelvin Santana (2nd, 17:11) ran at the head of the pack for Lowell for much of the 3.1 mile race course.

Juan Giron (3rd, 17:25), Patrick Coughlin (4th, 17:30), Ryan Courtney (7th, 17:36), Evan DeFronzo (17:41), Bun Hourt (17:42) and Mohammad Adam (17:46) also turned in strong runs for Lowell.

“I think the streak speaks to the kids we’ve had in our program over the past 10 years,” said Lowell coach Scott Ouellet. “Obviously, on a high school team it isn’t like we had a Tom Brady and we rode him for ten years. We’ve had to constantly turn over the roster, year after year. It’s a credit really to every kid we’ve had come through this team and we’ve had a lot of good ones. A lot of really good runners.”

This is Ouellet’s third season as the head coach of Lowell’s boys cross-country team. He was an assistant on former legendary Red Raider coach Phil Maia’s staff for the first seven-years of the winning streak.

“It’s always special to win,” said Ouellet. “You can’t let it not be special. I know that a lot of high school coaches are around a long time. But the kids aren’t. The kids were excited to win this. They put in a lot of work to keep this going this season.

“Running is so hard. So you have to try and enjoy at least a few moments along the way. This is one of those moments that we’ll enjoy. This is this team’s title. We’ve won 98 (straight) meets and everyone focuses on that. That’s a program accomplishment. The ten races this team won belongs to them and now they can be connected to all the great runners and teams that came before them.”

The Red Raiders took nothing for granted while putting the finishing touches on another undefeated regular season.

“It was really the alumni who set the winning foundation,” said Thyne. “We’ve just worked hard to keep this going. There’s no real pressure to win. We just trust our training, which is what coach tells us to do. We train really hard.

“We ran well as a team today. It just just shows how hard we work. All the work we put in over the summer and how much we run together showed today.”

Lowell has turned the most individual of sports into the ultimate team-competition, consistently relying on its superior depth and camaraderie throughout this incredible run to glory.

“It means a lot for the program,” said Santana. “We just want to keep the tradition going. We really push each other and work together in practice. We win as a team. I’m glad we were able to keep the streak going. Being part of this streak is something I’ll always look back at with pride.”

Lowell was able to win in impressive fashion even though several runners were held out, including junior standout Joeben Jacobs, who sat out as a precautionary measure with the big-year end races fast approaching.

“The seniors carried the day today,” said Ouellet. “We had a couple guys who are banged up and didn’t run. We held a few guys out just to be careful. Our seniors are strong and in shape. So we could afford not having a couple of really good runners in there.”

This next man up approach to winning has served Lowell well over the past ten seasons.

“It’s a very cool accomplishment because it shows how long this program has been successful,” said Coughlin. “It’s a testament to our coaches, too. They just keep building and building this program up every year. There are some talented underclassmen on this team. We have a real good freshman class. This streak could go on for a while. It doesn’t look like it’s going to end anytime soon.”

With another unbeaten regular season in the books, Lowell will focus it’s attention on putting together an impressive postseason run. Since the regular season winning streak began, Lowell has been a regular contender at the Division 1 All-State Meet, finishing first three times and second place five times.

“I give all the credit to our seniors,” said Ouellet. “They did an incredible job all summer. They organized themselves. They were in good shape. They took their training serious. They had high expectations.

“We had one little trick we did at the start of the year. We gave everyone a blank maroon T-shirt. There was no writing. No Lowell. No nothing. It was totally blank. The message was you earn the Lowell. You earn everything you want in life. So you had to earn the Lowell. In fact, our first race or two we raced in those T-shirts. It let them know that just because we’ve had so many teams that have done well, doesn’t mean you are automatically going to do well. You have to earn it.”

And the 2019 Lowell High boys cross-country went out and earned a perfect 10.

Follow Carmine Frongillo on Twitter @cwfrongi