Cross country, 1971

  • Cross country, 1971
  • "In 1921, cross country was referred to as 'one of the older sports of the school.' From 1910 to 1921, several runners made their mark in cross country both at the high school and collegiate levels. George Goodwin was the New England Interscholastic Cross Country Champion in 1916, winning the world school boy record for the mile and breaking the records for the one and two mile. As a student at Bowdoin, he held the record for the Maine Intercollegiate Mile and was a member of the 1920 United States Olympic Team. 1918 graduate William Burke captured the Western Conference record for the mile when he ran a 4 minute, 20 4/5 second mile while a student at Notre Dame. In 1953, the cross country team captured the Mass. State championship, and in 1955, WHS moved into Class A. Throughout the 1960s and most of the 1970s and into the 1980s, the WHS cross country team was among the most powerful in the state. Coach Squires' team captured the state championship in 1961, as did later teams (1972 and 1973). During the 1964-1965 school year, Coach John DiCommandrea's first year as coach, the team posted a 7-1 record, losing to Stoneham by a score of 30-25. By the 1970-1971 school year, the WHS cross country team had amassed 55 consecutive wins, a streak broken in 1971 at 60 consecutive wins. In 1973, the team's perfect 9-0 record gave Coach DiCommandrea his ninth league championship in 10 years, and a state Division II championship, repeated the following year. The winning ways continued, and by 1976, the team had 104 wins and four losses. League titles were won in 1981, (runner-ups in Division III states), and 1982 (Division III champions). In a fitting tribute to the current coach John DiCommandrea, at the time a shop teacher at the Junior High School, a September 1955, Wakefield Item column noted that he was the third American to cross the finish line in the 1955 running of the Boston Marathon. ' His steadfast training practice of running 10 miles each night and his unyielding efforts in any race from 3 to 26 miles have reaped John a harvest of some 150 trophies, cups and medals.' The girls' cross country team began in 1977 under the direction of Coach DiCommandrea. The team won the Middlesex League championship in its first year of competition (1977) and retained the title the following year. In its first five years, the girls cross country team won three league championships. They brought the title home again from 1983 through 1985, and were state Division II champions in 1983 and 1984." -- Text from calendar.
  • The 1971-1972 WHS Cross Country team had an 8-1 record. (Front row, left to right) Co-captain Shaun Beasley, John Crowley, Ed Haladay, Larry Tortorici, Kevin Crowley, and Mark Constantino. (Back row, left to right) Bob Foley, Bill Barker, co-captain Joe Maher, Brian Whicher, Paul Fahey, John Flood, and Coach John DiCommandrea.
  • Image from the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department annual calendar, 2002
  • 1971
  • [Wakefield, Mass.] : Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department


“Cross country, 1971,” NOBLE Digital Heritage, accessed May 7, 2021,


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