By Ian French
It was a beautiful day on Friday for the D1 JV State Meet. After many years at Mines Falls, the course found a new home on Alvirne’s winding wooded course. In the past bunch of years, Pinkerton has shown incredible depth on both the boys and girls sides. Neither squad had lost since both were taken down by Londonderry in 2011. Would a move to a new home end in a different result or would the Pinkerton JV dynasty continue?
The boys started the day and Keene early on looked like a team ready to take down the repeating champs. Their quick start may have come back to haunt them as the Alvirne course is most definitely not Mines Falls. While still not a hilly course, the solid footing on the trails and manicured fields for most of Mines Falls results in it being fairly quick. The new course is mild on the hills but has loose footing throughout which is considerably more draining than it would seem. The miles in the woods in particular take their toll with soft sand on a number of the turns. By the time the runners exited the woods for the first time, at about 1.75 miles, the race had really changed with the battle clearly being between Pinkerton and Londonderry. Pinkerton’s Zach Aham and Zack Plaza had moved to the front of the pack and were being closely chased by Kyle Hoglund and Levi Nezballa of Londonderry. At the final exit of the woods, it was clearly between Aham and Plaza who battled right to the line with Aham just barely holding off his teammate. Pinkerton freshman Nate Letallier also moved up through the last mile to take fourth place right on Hoglund’s heels. Round out Pinkerton’s top five with a sixth and twelfth place had Pinkerton easily defending their championship with an incredible 25 points. Londonderry took second with an excellent 38 points, but everyone will have to wait till 2018 to try and knock off Coach Mike Clark’s JV dominance.
While the boys race may have been a battle to the finish, Katelyn Griese of BG made sure there was no question who the top runner was on the girl’s side. She dominated the race right from the start quickly running to the front and just pulling away from the pack as it went on. She ended up winning the race by a sizable 23 seconds over an excellent second place run by Merrimack’s Kiara Bedard. Shortly after our leaders came the entirety of Bedford’s top five girls who ran as a pack early on and saw only a minimal gap form through the final mile. Their top runner, Niamh Russell, took fourth place and with Holly Souter taking fifth, Emma Chisholm taking seventh and Allison O’Neil taking eighth. When Amanda Weddleton took ninth, the race was over and the returning champions had been dethroned. The Bulldogs had an amazing 28 second gap between their JV top five and scored an outstanding 30 points beating second place Merrimack, who scored 59. They also had three freshman in their top five, so Bedford is clearly a team to keep an eye on over the next few years!
It was a really fun day and congratulations to everyone who participated!