Complete Results – Courtesy of Granite State Race Services
Race Videos at Bottom!
Finish Line Videos Courtesy of Granite State Race Services Below!
By Dave Irving
With the windstorm closing several schools in the Capital Region, most schools were able to make the switch to Friday for the 43rd Annual Capital Area Championship. The one big exception was Kearsarge, who were forced to cancel due to prior commitments of a majority of the team, depriving Maya Dube a chance to regain her Capital Area title from 2017. With one minor course correction necessitated by a hanging broken tree (a widow-maker, in loggers lingo), the course was clear, dry, and twisty as ever.
A combined JV race started the day off, and as JV races often do, hinted at the future with the top five girls all from Concord and the top 13 (!) boys also from Concord. The Concord boys pack included three who went sub-17 on the 5000 meter course, indicating some challenging team decisions in the near future.
In the traditional reverse-gender order, it was the boys who got things rolling in the varsity races. By the mile it was evident that this wasn’t going to be a paced, strategic race as the front pack went through in 5-flat. A trio of Concord boys, an under-the-radar Gilford freshman, and a St. Paul’s “fourth-former” made up the strung-out lead pack. After the quick down-up of the ravine, the top three began to separate and Eben Bragg of Concord, 9th-grader Patrick Gandini, and St. Paul’s newcomer Clemens Herfarth pulled away and would eventually finish in that order, in top-ten course times of 16:13, 16:17, and 16:18. It would be another 15 seconds before the next group finished, with three more Concord runners, Brayden Kearns, David Cook, and Ryan Devine leading another St. Paul’s runner, Alex Taylor. Ryan Ciesluk would seal the deal for Concord, finishing in 8th place, with Colin Lessard and Benjamin Neff of Bow wrapping up the top ten. As predicted, Concord once again ran away with the title with 20 points, with St. Paul’s nipping a Bow team looking to be in the DIII conversation, 64 to 70.
The girls race was a highly anticipated affair, with some of the top individuals and teams from all three divisions expected to toe the line. The absence of Kearsarge’s Dube promised to make the individual race a battle for home-course bragging rights between MV’s Sophia’s, Reynolds and Rebenciuc. With Rebenciuc taking the lead essentially from the horn with Reynolds hot on her heels, a pack never developed and movement within the top ten was minimal. One thing quickly became clear, however, Concord was firing on all cylinders. After the navy of MV’s top two, it was a line of crimson, followed by a long line of green as the Hopkinton pack worked it’s way along the course. While each team is similar in structure, with a solid pack led by a consistent leaders (Morgane Orcutt for Concord and Emma Rothe for Hopkinton), it was evident that in this race, at least, Concord was in a class of its own. Merrimack Valley has a front-heavy team, with a huge gap back to their 5th runner, making it tricky to figure out mid-race where they fall as a team. By the finish, things were pretty similar to how they were 4500 meters earlier, with Sophia Rebenciuc taking the win and dipping under 19 for the first time this season. Reynolds turned in her best performance of the year as well to take runner-up, while Orcutt stayed within sight to finish a solid third. Concord freshman Molly Nyham was just back in 4th, while Concord’s Sophie Hopkins (9th grade), Katherine Kennedy (10th grade), and Alexis Christie (9th grade) closed out the scoring for Concord in 5th, 6th, and 7th. This is a team to keep your eyes on in the future! Winnisquam’s Faith Gosselin finished 8th, while Emma Rothe got the scoring started for Hopkinton in 9th. MV’s Emma York placed 10th.
In the team battle, look for Concord to move up the rankings as they scored an easy win with 25 points over MV, who eked out a 4-point win over Hopkinton for runner-up honors (51 to 55).
Congrats to all and good luck at Divisionals!!!