Results Courtesy of Lancer Timing
Race Recap by MV Coach David Irving
Plenty of sun greeted runners today at Oyster River’s Bobcat Invitational. The summer heat hung on for at least one more race, yet the temperature didn’t seem to slow the times very much. Fast, competitive races for both genders, with hometown favorites prevailing in each.
In the Girls’ Junior Varsity Race, Monadnock’s Joelle Lafreniere ran a gun-to-line race to win convincingly in 21:58, and depriving Oyster River of a “Grand Slam” of 4 individual wins on the day. The Boys JV Race was won by OR’s Parker Spinney in 18:55, with a race that was not really in question after the halfway point. In the JV team battle, OR boys won a squeaker over Kennett, 36 to 39, while the Souhegan girls showed off their depth with a low 19 points; 34 points ahead of second place Winnacunnet.
Onto the Girls’ Varsity Race, where after the mile, the primary question was if OR’s Maegan Doody could run a home course record. The race started fast, with a lead pack of Doody, Exeter’s Jackie Gaughan and 9th-grader Violet Sullivan, and Merrimack Valley’s Kristie Schoffield. The large pack behind included runners from all divisions: DIII Hopkinton’s Sarah Nadeau, DII Windham’s Susan Poore, 4 of DII Souhegan’s runners, led by Maddie Hunt, and DI Winnacunnet’s Kelly Arsenault. Shortly after flying through the mile on sub-6 pace, Doody began to separate and the lead pack began to string out, with Gaughan followed by Sullivan and Schoffield not far behind. By the time they came out of the woods with 800m to go, there was no one in sight of Doody, and she pushed (very smoothly!) for home to finish in 18:20, tying the course record. Gaughan held on to second place 44 seconds back, while Schoffield overtook Sullivan to score in bronze position, 5 seconds behind and 3 seconds in front of the Exeter duo.
Interesting factoid, the top four positions represented all grade levels. Arsenault, Poore, and Hunt all broke 20 minutes in that order, while the top ten was completed by Nadeau, Winnacunnet’s Mercedes McCoy, and Souhegan’s Arielle Zlotnick. With all 7 runners in the top 25, Souhegan easily won the girls race with 56 points, well ahead of Winnacunnet’s 91. The race for third was tight, with Windham (139) prevailing by four points over Exeter.
The final race of the day, the Boys’ Varsity, was a great race between divisions.
Race Video by Brian Reynolds
DI was represented by Exeter’s Justin Carbone, DII was represented by OR’s Patrick O’Brien and Kennett’s Nick Brown, among others, and DIII was represented by Inter-Lakes Cam Daly, Hopkinton’s Dom Repucci, and Monadnock’s James Elmour. From the starting horn (gun malfunction) the boys didn’t seem quite as blazing as the girls, allowing a much larger pack to form. Approaching the mile mark all the favorites were still together in a pack of approximately 10 boys. Although they started to string out on the first loop around the woods, it wasn’t until the second time through the back neighborhood that things up front began to clear up. By the time they raced out of the woods with a half mile to go, O’Brien was clear of the field enroute to a comfortable win in a sub-16 effort. Daly and Carbone battled all the way to the line to finish only a second apart. When the dust settled, it was DII’s O’Brien for the win, DIII’s Daly for silver, and DI’s Carbone for bronze. Behind the top three it was an interestingly spaced-out field, with every runner between 5 and 15 seconds apart. Brown, Repucci, and Windham’s Peter Caron each managed to break 17 minutes, while spots 7th through 10th was taken by Goffstown’s Jackson Brannen, Elmour, Kingswood’s Owen Gwizdala, and Merrimack Valley’s Walker John.
The team race was easily won by Oyster River (75), 98 points ahead of second. In an interesting twist, Dover demonstrated the effectiveness of pack running by placing second, despite the fact that 15 teams had runners in before Dover’s #1, who finished in 31st place. But their 5th runner was in 9 places before any other teams’ 4th runner (besides OR), for a time compression of only 21 seconds. Exeter took third, only two spots behind Dover, to give DI two teams in the top three.