35 Years ago Today (My senior year of Cross-Country at Billerica high school) 09-21-81 we suffered a tough loss to Chelmsford on our home course, losing by a scant point 27-28. I lowered my course record to 15:07 on this day over what I recall was an XC course in name only. I'd estimate that at least half of the course was paved. The loss was especially tough as this was our only loss of the year.
1 15:07 Dave Dunham Billerica2 15:47 Mike Busnach Billerica
3 16:03 Scott Spence Chelmsford
4 16:26 Dave Kelts Chelmsford
5 16:28 Keith O’Brien Chelmsford
6 16:40 Bernie Brown Billerica
7 16:53 Dave McCarthy Chelmsford
8 16:58 Dave Willman Chelmsford
9 17:12 Jim Sullivan Billerica
10 17:31 Kevin Healy Billerica
At the time the Merrimack Valley Conference was split into a West and East division and the winner of each division squared off. Methuen was crushing the competition in the East by taking the top 3 spots in each meet. If you take the top three you cannot lose in a dual meet (even if the other team takes the next 7 spots you still win 29 to 30). Methuen’s squad of Frank Lemieux, Chris Cameron, and Jim (?) Donahue consistently took those top three spots as they racked up a 6-0 season. Billerica was the only squad that could take down Methuen but we never got the opportunity.
WestChelmsford 6 0
Billerica 5 1
Methuen 6 0
Scott Spence recalled the race against Methuen: “Painful memories that will never fade. Race was at Chelmsford. I went out knowing I had to break up their top 3 and we would win. Every time I moved into third position, the guy behind me would pass me, I would pass again and a different runner was now behind me. I'd pass again and it would continue. Bad strategy on my part, I should have hung back till the last 1/2 mile. I was totally spent by mile 3. They got top 3 and won. I think I did PR though.
I did get my revenge in the winter 2 mile where I out kicked Cameron twice in the same race to win ( and secure the dual meet win). We ran together for 22 laps and I out kicked him for the win, then as we had our hands on our knees, both coaches came running up to us and said that the official had miscounted the laps and we had one more lap to go. We raced around again with the same result”.
Some other notes on the 1981 XC season:Billerica’s 7th man was Freshman Gary Disarcina who went on to play professional baseball for the California Angles from 1989-2000. His career stats: Batting average .258, Home runs 28, Runs batted in 355.
I still run with Scott Spence on random weekends and Keith O’Brien still puts on an alumni XC race at Chelmsford that is always a lot of fun.