By Ian French
Pinkerton and Londonderry have had some epic show downs over the years and this year was no exception! Let’s dive into the meet and talk about how it went.
First, the weather. In 12 years of coaching this was possibly the most humid race start I’ve ever seen. While the temperature was comfortable it was like breathing soup. The course, which I expected to be faster than our normal course, was definitely not as a result.
The race started as a series of waves with five competitors from each team. Thanks to Lancertiming for the awesome timing work allowing us to start that way while still keeping everyone separate. This definitely presented a challenge especially for some of the athletes in the first group who weren’t in a place to stay with the top guys, but the rest of the race started a full 15 seconds behind them. Do you try and push to hang on the back or just accept that you might want to take the beginning a little easy and let the next group catch up and give you some competition. Tough decision.
On the girls side, with it being the first race of the season for both teams it was unknown what each team had. Londonderry graduated 4 of their top 7 from last year and Pinkerton was plagued with injuries. So going into the rivalry matchup it was very unknown. However, Pinkerton girls went right after it from the beginning and didn’t let up. Pinkerton Freshman Ginia Rufo led from the gun and took the Mack Plaque individual crown from Londonderry’s Grace McDonough who would have to settle for second this year. After that it was all Pinkerton. The Astros easily took the dual meet and will no longer be flying under the radar as a strong contender for the unusual 2020 season.
On the boys side, at the one mile mark the race up front was pretty close with Londonderry’s Ryan Young, Matt Griffin, along with Pinkerton’s Luke Brennan and Stephen Connelly all pretty close together. Ethan Charles (Pinkerton) was also not far off the group and really hung on pretty well to a fast group of guys. Things got a little tougher to piece together after this because you started to see some mixing of wave 1 and wave 2. Figuring out who was actually leading at this point proved to be a bit of a challenge. It seemed like some of wave 2 Londonderry guys had made up ground on the back of the wave 1 group, so time wise they were ahead despite looking like they were behind. It’s tricky and definitely something to look out for in races moving forward.
By the two mile mark, Young had started to establish a bit of lead and the lead pack had strung out a bit with Brennan shortly behind him while Connelly and Griffin were separated by 5-10 feet behind them. Young would spend the final mile continually dialing up the pace and by the time he hit the track for his final lap had a commanding lead and made sure everyone knew today was his day with a strong last kick. The next 3 were spread out enough that none of them were going to change place on a kick with Brennan and Connelly cruising in 2-3 and Griffin shortly after them. I’d keep an eye on Ethan Charles this season as a guy who looks poised to move up and compete with some of the top dogs.
After that, it was the Londonderry show with Sean Clegg, Ryan Fortin (who has shown a massive improvement since last year’s excellent JV state meet run) Will Plante and Cole Borovicka all coming in before Pinkerton’s fourth runner.
Londonderry takes the victory with 26 points to Pinkerton’s 32.
Takeaways are that Londonderry is really solid through five with a strong 1-2 punch. Pinkerton’s top 3 will match up with anyone in the state but they’re going to need their 4-5 guys to close the gap a bit as the season progresses.
Check out the race video and see what you think! Keep training hard and FIVE WEEKS to go! Be safe out there!