New Hampshire Victorious at 2016 Battle of the Border
Julie O’Brien’s Pics Soon! – 1000+!!!!
Alvirne High School put on the 13th Annual Battle of the Border Invitational featuring teams from New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The vibrant green fields and well-maintained woods trails winding through a stand of majestic white pine and red oak trees made for a cross country runner’s paradise. Again the weather was perfect for running fast times and setting new pr’s for some.
In the Girls Varsity race, first year runner and former volleyball player Rebecca Durham of Milford absolutely stole the show. The junior toured the course in 18:48 to win by a comfortable margin over the always-tough senior Kelly Arsenault of Winnacunnet (18:57). After a slight pause, a pair of Alvirne seniors made their way up the gravel road to the finish. Shaylyn Saunders (3rd 19:06) and Katie Bellomo (4th 19:10) both ran strong enough to finish just ahead of the first Massachusetts finisher Emily Wilson of Groton-Dunstable, who came across in 19:10.
Three out of the next four places went to Manchester Central, led by freshman twins Keegan Pepin (6th 19:15) and Katelyn Pepin (7th 19:24). Jessica Fontaine of Alvirne (8th 19:25) was sandwiched in between another Little Green runner Kaitlyn Tanguay (9th 19:26). Rounding out the top ten was Amber Bardsley (Alvirne)coming across in 19:27.
With five scorers in the top 18 places, host team Alvirne won handily with a low score of 43 points to hold off Merrimack (2nd 100 points) and Manchester Central (109 points). Massachusetts took the next two team places with Andover finishing in 4th with 146 points and Tyngsborough 5th with 153 points. In all 14 teams fought it out for the team competition. NH girls won the state battle this year.
Alvirne’s 2016 Battle of the Border Team Champion was Saunders, Bellomo, Fontaine, Bardsley, Jenna Bradish (18th 20:03), Haley Summers (27th 20:33) and Keanna Smigliani (67th 22:34).
After a stellar freshman debut, following a spectacular middle school racing career, Londonderry’s Chris Zaino kind of disappeared off the radar. A battle with various health problems had him down on his luck. Through hard work and perseverance, he’s back and he is on a mission. He has a Division 1 Title in now his sights. After a fast start to the race, a large pack built up after brief two minute slow down to nearly a crawl heading into the woods. Once in the woods, Zaino took control as he zoomed to the lead and never looked back. Zaino’s impressive time of 15:47 is the second fastest time ever in the 13 year history of this invitational.
Much improved Cameron Starr (2nd 15:55) of Pelham unleashed a fine finishing kick to hold off Marshfield, Massachusetts Derek Holmes (3rd 15:57). Campbell sophomore sensation Jeffrey Allen turned in another fine performance placing 4th in 16:08 edging the formidable Concord twosome of Forest MacKenzie (5th 16:10) and Jamie Wilkes (6th 16:10). Alvirine hometown speedster Noah Bellomo ran solid to finish 7th in 16:12. Concord’s Oliver Spencer (8th 16:21) ran tough throughout the latter half to fend off North Andover’s Patrick Kitchen (9th 16:26). Concord’s Eli Boesch-Dining continues to impress placing tenth in 16:40.
With 5th man Concord freshman Ryan Devine placing 12th in 16:45, the team competition was a done deal. Placing five runners in front of Marshfield’s #2 runner proved to be the real difference. Concord scored 41 points and ran the second fastest team average ever (16:25) on this course. Marshfield placed a respectable 2nd with 91 points to finish well ahead of the rebuilding Londonderry squad which totaled 130 points. Alvirne finished 4th with 163 points, in front of Nashua South’s 182 points. In all, 16 teams competed with New Hampshire again holding strong, defending the border over the Commonwealth.
Concord’s 2016 Battle of the Border Team Champions were represented by MacKenzie, Wilkes, Spencer, Boesch-Dining, Devine, Alex Duncan (19th 16:59) and David Cook (17:16). Concord showed its team depth with Matt O’Brien also winning the Junior Varsity Boys’ race in 17:14.