NHIAA State Division Championships!
Campbell (G), Mascenic (B) Take D3 Titles!
Sougegan (G), Oyster River (B) Win D2 Championships!
Pinkerton (G) Repeat, Concord (B) Wins 1st title in over 30 years!
Congrats to Individual Division Champs:
Dube (D3 Girls), Allen (D3 Boys), J. Robitaille (D2 Girls), Tanguay (D2 Boys), Gaughan (D1 Girls), MacKenzie (D1 Boys)
All results courtesy of LancerTiming!
Starting the day, the Girls Division 3 Championship Race got rolling with a strong push up front by Delaney Swanson of Monadnock followed by a a strong group of 9th and 10th graders looking like they might have gone out too fast. Mya Dube of Kearsarge was lurking near the front, appearing to stay close and kick over the second half. Returning champion Alice Riley of Belmont sat in about 7th place around the mile mark with Mascenic’s Samantha Bilodeau right with her. Expectations were that the veterans would work their way through the field as they circumnavigated the reservoir loop and the early pace would come back to haunt those who had stepped on the accelerator early.
However that was not the case as Dube would drop the field up on the reservoir, opening a gap on Monadnock’s Swanson. Ninth and tenth graders filled the top eight spots with Cassie Hemming of Campbell in third, Maya Wiel Cooley of Inter-Lakes in fourth and Margaret St. John of Hinsdale finishing fifth. The rest of the top ten were Liza Corso of Portsmouth Christian, Jenna Bears of Kearsarge, Emma Rothe of Hopkinton, Sarah Ciotti of Bow and Sydney Stockwell of Hopkinton.
The Campbell Cougars came into the 2017 Championship as the reigning champions and the highest ranking D3 team having graced the NH top ten rankings earlier in the season and they did not disappoint. Running four strong all season and performing well at Jamie Martin Sanborn Invitational (winning) and Manchester Invite (top D3 team), the Cougars made it two straight by putting all five of their scorers in the top twenty five. Led by Hemming’s third place finish, the Cougars scored 74 to Hopkinton’s 92. Hopkinton had two in the top ten, and all five in the top 27. Kearsarge finished third aided by Dube’s low stick up front and supported by a top ten finish of Bears (6th.) Rounding out the top five continuing on to Meet of Champions were Mascenic (145) over Monadnock (146) by a single point.
In the individual race there was no question that Jeffrey Allen of Campbell was the man to beat and he ran like it. Alone and at the front 400 meters in, Allen controlled the race but never getting all the way away trailed by Tyler McLaughlin of Moultonborough and Mason Benedict of Kearsarge at the mile. More curious however was the duo rolling behind them, the two freshmen from Mascenic in Landen Vaillancourt and Josh Movsessian. With a horde of Mascenic and Kearsarge runners behind them, it looked as if these freshmen had bitten off more than they could chew and would be paying the price to more savvy racers over the final two miles. Ian Daly of Inter-Lakes, Caleb Richmond of Derryfield and Kyle Mann of Winnisquam were also in this chase pack and the race was definitely on.
As they came back down the grassy downhill for the last time, Allen still had his lead, but the battle for second was raging between McLaughlin and the freshman Vaillancourt. As the bodies started to accumulate a stampede of red and royal blue began to flood the final 800 meters. Movsessian battled with Daly for fourth, while some hard moves were being made in the battle for team supremacy.
Allen would win this one in 16 minutes, 29 seconds with Vaillancourt taking down McLaughlin over the final 400 meters. Daly would win the battle with Movsessian to round out the top five. Rounding out the top ten were George Gowdy of Fall Mountain, Caleb Richmond of Derryfield, Aidan Brooks and Trevor Pauling of Kearsarge, and Michael Fappiano of Mascenic.
The team race was a shoot out with Mascenic putting two in before the first Kearsarge runner. As the racers piled up in the chute, Kearsarge had their first five in before Mascenic’s fifth man, but the strength of Mascenic’s top guys won out, with Mascenic winning 56 to 78. Campbell was the next team in, with three in the top twenty (89), with 156 points back to Bow and 205 points back to surprise Winnisquam. In the end the teams of Campbell, Mascenic and Kearsarge made up thirteen of the top twenty five spots.
The dichotomy of this race was amazing. While West’s Julia Robitaille was cruising to her Division 2 title in a blazing time of 17:52 (only a 11 seconds behind Jackie Gaughan BTW), an unexpected battle for D2 supremacy was waging between three schools behind her. Coming into the weekend, defending champion Souhegan was the favorite with Coe-Brown and Oyster River having built valuable momentum over the last several weeks.
The start of the race saw Robitaille dart out to the front with Souhegan’s Jane Leighton, Arielle Zlotnick and Oyster River’s Danielle Slavin in tow. Coe-Brown’s Addison Cox joined the fray soon after and the front runners of all the top team combatants were in place. Further in the pack and throughout the second mile, leading through McIntyre, Souhegan was clinging to a slight lead over Coe-Brown with Oyster River making their presence felt. It seemed as if Coe-Brown was building momentum for a final mile assault on the defending champions, while Oyster River had similar designs on the Lady Bears.
Over the final mile and despite some exciting back and forth, the order would remain essentially the same, as Souhegan closed the race like the defending champions they are. Led by Leighton’s 2nd place (18:49) gutsy performance, they won most of the closing battles. Zlotnick wound up 12th (19:52) and Marissa Romano placed 15th (20:14), but it was their 4th, senior Elise Lambert (19th, 20:35) and 5th Mackenzie Hayden (23rd, 20:45), who came through to seal the deal for the now repeat champs of D2 totaling 62 points to win by 10.
And that became one of the final 2 questions of the race. While Coe-Brown, led by Cox’s 4th place (19:08 – fastest NH freshman), placed three in front of Oyster River’s second, the Lady Bobcats led by Slavin’s 3rd place (18:50) finish, placed all of their scoring 5 in the top 25, with their fifth beating CBNA’s fourth. It came down to the math, and the Bears tallied 72 points to OR’s 80 (Great cross country!). Also scoring for the D2 runner-ups were Abigail O’Connor (11th, 19:47), Eleanor McDonough (13th, 20:04), Ella Malone (26th, 20:55), and Sarah Dupuis (27th, 21:00). Also scoring for Oyster River were Lily Doody (17th, 20:25), Sophie Sullivan (20th, 20:35), Kadence Murphy (24th, 20:47), and Olivia Lenk (25th, 20:54).
Which brings us to the final question to be answered. Leading into this race, our preview noted 8 teams vying for 6 MOC slots. Led by Clare Veverka (7th, 19:34), Con-Val finished a strong fourth place with 127 points, which left 4 teams battling for 2 spots. A hearty congratulations goes to Milford, who amassed 144 points to claim 5th and qualify for the school’s first-ever MOC berth. A true measure of a team since their number 1, Rebecca Durham placed 10th while battling bronchitis. One remaining qualifying slot would come down to a 7-point difference among three teams, including Hanover, who has an MOC qualifying streak of…forever. In the end it would be Hanover scoring 170 points to Portsmouth’s 174 and Kennett’s 177. Congrats to all.
As the preview stated, coming into the D2 Championships, as NH’s #2 ranked team Oyster River were the heavy favorites because at full strength it seemed no one in D2 could touch them. Although they were three-time defending champs, Coe-Brown with only 1 returning member and three freshmen, Coe-Brown came in as the inexperienced underdog. However,they also had the luxury of taking some risks as they were picked to take home the runner-up plaque comfortably. The risks almost paid off. The Bobcats felt the Bears nipping at their heels the entire race led by Evan Tanguay’s calm, cool, collected and calculating approach. Tanguay hung back in the second pack for much of the first mile (5:17) to unleash an attack through the hills of the second mile. Looking relaxed as ever, like he was doing a tempo run, Tanguay went on to claim his first state title in 16:19. Second was Oyster River’s senior Kieran Murphy in 16:40, third was Windham’s Spenser Sawyer (16:41), and fourth was Merrimack Valley’s David Reynolds (16:44).
Following Tanguay’s lead, the rest of the Bears made their move over the second mile led by fab frosh duo of Luke Tkaczyk and Wyatt Mackey as they rolled up on Oyster River’s Parker Spinney and Myles Carrico as well as Kingswood’s Cameron Stinchfield and Wyatt Pooler. As this battle was waging, CBNA’s Dawson Dubois and Gavyn Lewis were gaining on Oyster River’s own fab frosh Andy O’Brien and Owen Fleischer. Spinney (5th, 16:46) and Carrico (6th 16:50) would hold off Tkaczyk (7th, 16:54), who would be the 3rd fastest NH freshman on the day. Mackey would wind up a close 12th in 17:02. O’Brien (18th, 17:13) would hold off a hard charging Dubois (19th, 17:14), while Fleischer would place 20th in 17:16 and Lewis would take 22nd in 17:28. In the end, Oyster River would claim the title by 10 points over upstart Coe-Brown.
Stinchfield and Pooler would place 8th and 9th in 16:56 and 16:57 respectively while HB’s Kenny Corsetti ran 16:59 to round out the top 10. Jim Huckman’s 13th place (17:03) gave Kingswood 4th place only 3 points behind third place Hanover, which had a scant six second pack time between their second through fourth runners. Placing 5th and returning to the MOCs was Souhegan with 183 points. But kudos to Sanborn, as like Milford girls, qualified for their first-ever MOC birth by only 3 points finishing with 207 points.
As predicted, the team title chase was a close one between defending champ Pinkerton and Bishop Guertin. Both had their full complement of runners with Pinkerton’s Britney Johnson running her second cross country race and BG’s Caroline Fischer returning from injury. Fischer’s heart was on full display as she gutted her way to 2nd place in 18:56. She led the Lady Cardinal’s super sophs as Caroline Towle (19:28) and Haley Schmitt (19:40) placed 4th and 6th respectively. Pinkerton countered with Meghan Cross (5th, 19:35), Ciara April (7th, 19:44), Johnson (8th, 19:47) and Jordan Vaillancourt (12th, 19:58). With BG’s freshman, Kate Messer placing 11th (19:57), BG had the lead through the top 4, 23-32. However, Pinkerton’s new found depth would win out as dependable senior Maison D’Amelio was their 5th scorer who placed 17th in 20:04 sealing the 6-point victory over BG 49-55.
The drama of D1 did not end here! Late season upstart Nashua South proved they belonged in the rankings as they took 3rd off the strength of their front runners Cali Coffin who placed 3rd in 19:10 and Lydia Mathson (16th, 20:03). They were five points ahead of the always pack-minded and Bailey Carrillo-led Merrimack team which scored 152 points. Talk about ‘upstart’, Central was just 1 point behind Merrimack as both Pepin sisters, Katelyn (19:48) and Keegan (19:49), threw down to place 9th and 10th respectively, leading their team to a strong 5th.
Despite losing two of their top three to injury this year, Exeter hung on to place 6th with 166 points edging the final MOC qualifier Alvirne’s 172 points.
As expected, Notre Dame-bound Jackie Gaughan (Exeter) cruised to victory in 17:41. With D2’s Julia Robitaille rolling out a similarly comfortable 17:52, could we be in for a battle at next week’s MOCs?? Regardless, cross country is strong in the Granite State!
The last race of the 2017 New Hampshire Divisional Cross Country Championships felt like it took 365 days to get here for the Crimson Tide of Concord. In 2016 Concord learned there are no better lessons in life than being on the receiving end of a disappointing loss. This season Concord was ready for redemption. Undefeated this year against all New Hampshire opponents, Concord was the overwhelming favorite to capture the Division I Title and snap the streak of four straight titles won by the Pinkerton Astros.
After final official instructions, the starter’s pistol fired and the tightly packed runners made their way up the first straight away vying for position. Co-race favorite senior David Vorbach of Nashua North and sophomore Jake Velasquez of Keene led the race through the first mile all the way to the bottom of McIntyre Hill. Vorbach pushed the pace gaining about a 15-20 second lead at the top of the ski slope. As the rest of the chase pack approached the top, one of the race favorites senior Andrew Derry of Keene dropped out after suffering an asthma attack and moments later Keene’s Velasquez dropped out when he felt a pop in his hip flexor reported by the Keene Sentinel.
Concord juniors Forest MacKenzie and Eli Boesch-Dining were running in second and third pounding down the hill and closing the gap significantly on Vorbach by the hedges, At the gazebo split trail, they had reeled Vorbach in. As they reached the door, the Concord duo matted the gas pedal to the floor pulling away. As they made their way to the finish, MacKenzie pulled away for the win in 16:12. Boesch-Dining finished 2nd in 16:18 and to spice things up even more, teammate Oliver Spencer made it a 1, 2, 3 sweep for Concord by placing 3rd in 16:27! The first sweep in Division I since the JFK administration in 1963 when Concord last achieved that mark.
Senior Nashua North’s Max Ireland ran a smart race placing fourth in a time of 16:33, Jake Winslow 5th 16:38 of Exeter just outkicked Londonderry freshman phenom Will Heenan 6th 16:39. Joe Gagnon was Pinkerton’s first finisher placing 7th in 16:41, North’s Joseph Curran 8th 16:47, Concord’s Matt O’Brien 9th 16:50, North’s Vorbach gave it his all and finished in 16:52 in 10th place.
By virtue of their 1-3 sweep along with Nate Nichols (17:04), David Cook (17:06) and Ryan Devine (17:11) placing 13th-15th, Concord scored an historic low of 28 points. Concord is the first team to place all seven of its runners in the top 15 for Boys Division I in over 30 years. Its team score of 28 points is also the lowest in that time period. It is also only the second time since 1999 that the winner of this race led his team to victory.
In a battle of teams with youth on their side, and somewhat a surprise, Pinkerton captured the runner-up plaque by two points over Londonderry. The Astros were led by Gagnon, Nathan Steiger (16th 17:12), Jeff Mize (17th 17:12) and Nolan Preble (18th 17:13). The Lancers were led by Heenan also had seniors Nathan Seeley (19th 17:14), Jeff Cieslikowski (21st 17:16), freshmen Ryan Young (22nd 17:16) and Matthew Griffin (23rd 17:18) scoring.
Qualifying for Meet of Champions next week were Nashua North (4th 101 points), Winnacunnet (5th 165 points), Keene (6th 174 points) and Exeter (7th 179 points).
Congrats to all and see everyone at Nashua South High School for the 2017 Meet of Champions!