Claudio Rocha finished first in the boys race at the Northeastern Conference Cross Country Championships.

Rochas make their marks in cross country championships

For the Rocha family of Peabody, life just doesn't get any better than what happened Saturday. Former Peabody High track and cross country standout Catarina Rocha, a graduate student at Providence College, pulled away over the final 3,000 meters at the Big East Cross Country Championships in the cold and wind in Kenosha, Wis., to win the women's title in 19 minutes, 59 seconds. Rocha became the second member of her family to win a Big East Cross Country title, joining her father Joseph Rocha, who won a title in 1987 while running for Boston College.

But the family affair doesn't stop there. While Rocha was wrapping up her title, her younger brother, Claudio, cruised to a first-place finish at the Northeastern Conference Championships at Bradley Palmer in Hamilton, leading the Peabody High boys cross country team to a dominant team win.

Catarina Rocha became the ninth Providence woman to win the individual Big East title, after having finished seventh in 2013, second in 2014, and sixth in 2015.

Villanova won the team title with 39 points, while Providence was runner-up with 46 points.

"I am especially proud of Catarina for winning the individual title," Providence coach Ray Treacy said. "She has been a standout runner for us and she continues her family's success in the Big East."

By finishing in the top 10, Rocha earned All-Big East First Team honors. Rocha's brother Marcelo, a freshman, is a member of the Friars' men's cross country and track teams but did not compete in the men's race. Marcelo also has a NEC cross country championship title under his belt, winning last season as a senior at Peabody.

While Rocha was working her magic in Wisconsin, Claudio, a junior at Peabody, was winning the NEC boys individual title in 16:21.

The Tanners' top four runners finished within 27 seconds of each other and took the top four places.

Peabody cruised to the team title with 31 points, outdistancing runner-up Marblehead, which finished with 86.

Tanners Shane Braz (16:40), William Aylward (16:45) and Marc Alperen (16:47) finished second through fourth, respectively before fifth-place finisher Joseph Lauretti of Danvers.


The Tanners were dominant, winning the NEC title with 31 points. Marblehead was the runner-up with 86 points.

The Magicians had a good day with four runners in the top 20: Oliver Glass (10th, 17:16), Ethan Snook (17:32), Austin Lavender (19th, 17:52) and Harry DiBartolo (17:57). Swampscott's Oliver Daniels-Koch finished sixth (17:04), with teammates finishing 24th (Patrick Doucette, 18:01) and 30th (Christopher Figueiredo, 18:23). English's Abrar Jalal raced to an 11th-place finish (17:23), while Classical's Kevin Durant finished 26th (18:09).


In the girls' race, it was a tight competition between the Magicians and the Tanners, with Marblehead (58) earning the win over Peabody (62). Beverly's Ashley Foley (19:50), Malden's Jasmine Gray (20:20) and Gloucester's Christina Jones (20:28), but then Marblehead took the next three spots, with Kristy Twaalfhoven (20:37), Alix Livermore (20:47) and Caroline Johnson (20:48) wrapping up spots 4-6.

Peabody's top finishers were Lillian Brennan (21:24) and Sarah Enes (21:36). Other notable finishers were Swampscott's Caroline Kinne (28th, 23:07) and Elizabeth Green (37th, 23:29) and English's Jackie Ramirez (46th, 24:29).

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