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As hoped for, the 17th Battle of the Border was filled with phenomenal competition throughout all of the races! Not only was the competition fierce in the traditional sense, but the added interstate friendly rivalry between NH and Massachusetts added that something extra special to the day. Both states sending ranked teams and top individuals created great racing. With the weather perfect for fall XC racing, and the course firmed up, thanks to the dedication of Alvirne’s coaching and maintenance staff, times were as fast as the competition fierce. In the end, NH teams proved to be strong as granite.
The Needham, MA squad took control early in the Girls JV race and never relinquished control as Jane Villa, Mia O’Neill and Hope Galovski swept the first 3 places respectively posting times of 20:56, 21:03, and 21:13. NH’s Winnacunnet countered with their top 3 of Kaylee Rafferty, Ava Burness and Sophia Ravencraft placing 4th, 6th and 7th. But sprinkle in Marshfield’s Catherine Robbins in 5th along with Needham’s Gina Wu, Laurel Palli and Carly Rochford taking places 8th-10th, Needham would score a scant 21 points to Winnacunnet’s 39 taking this one for the Bay State. Nashua South, Londonderry and Alvirne were the next 3 JV teams to place.
The Boys JV Race flipped the script as a NH team this time flexed its muscle with Bishop Guertin establishing position early with their pack of 3 to lead the Cardinal to a 42 point total and the win. Micah Dunsmoor, Carson Fischer, and Alex Girata took control from the start. NH’s deepest team, would eventually take places 1, 2, and 4 with Dunsmoor winning in 16:49, and Fischer 2nd in 17:18. Windham’s Cooper Flenniken would actually overtake Girata in the final mile to snag 3rd in 17:40 to Girata’s 17:52. Pinkerton’s Noah Daigle placed 5th outkicking Needham’s Sam Billante and Pinkerton teammate Cooper Michaud who placed 7th. Rounding out the top 10 individually were Windham’s Charles Sette, BG’s Emerson Warren and Londonderry’s Aiden Oljey. D2’s Windham would take 2nd nipping Needham by 2 points 74-76 with Pinkerton placing 4th with 144 points and Coe-Brown 5th with 153 points.
The Girls Varsity Race held true to form as Mass #1 Marshfield employed the pack mentality to win this one with 39 points. Led by freshman Eleanor Angeles-Whitfield, senior Olivia Langlan and junior Ava LoVuolo, who took places 4th, 5th and 6th, Marshfield achieved a 1-5 pack time of 52 seconds. Their fourth and 5th scorers, Charlotte Henning (11th) and and Ava Brunswick (13th) ran 19:58 and 19:59 respectively.
Winnacunnet’s Miley Bletzer needed the full 5k to hold off Needham’s Olivia Hunninghake for the win 18:55 to 18:56. Haverhill’s Finleigh Simonds was 3rd and also broke 19 minutes with an 18:59. Bletzer’s win certainly helped Winnacunnet which was in a battle with Pinkerton for 2nd. The Trailblazers countered with 7th place Contessa Silva and 9th place Isabelle Groulx to lead Pinkerton to the 5 point edge over Winnacunnet 80-85. South’s Meghan Conway split the Astros placing 8th in 19:38 and Conant’s Kylie Aho placed 10th in 19:54 to complete a nice day for the D3 team. Needham would take 4th with Nashua South rounding out the top 5 teams.
With the top 7 all breaking 16:00 along with close finishes, the boys race was a simply barnburner with a little bit of everything. As forecasted in the preview Bishop Guertin’s Nate Fondakowski provided the early punishing pace while a second pack formed with Needham’s Kyler McNatt, Sanborn’s Jared Khalil, Windham’s Michael Killian, CBNA’s Lars Hogne, Pinkerton’s Luke Brennan among others. Midway, McNatt and Khalil began to give chase on Fondakowski and with about a half mile to go overtook him. McNatt would power away from Khalil in this one to win in a blazing 15:22 to Khalil’s 15:29. Fondakowski held strong just a few seconds back for 3rd in 15:33. Killian won the second pack battle placing 4th in 15:38 to Hogne’s 15:42. Brennan would hold off BG’s Sean O’Keefe and Londonderry’s Ryan Fortin for 6th as the three were separated by only 2 seconds 15:53 to 15:55. Right behind them was another battle with Sanborn’s Tyson Khalil edging Greater Lowell Tech’s Ryan Plowman for 9th with both clocking 16:03.
NH#1 Bishop Guertin proved their supremacy scoring 63 points placing their 5 scorers in the top 23 as Matthew Giardina placed 11th, Joshua Rivers 19th and Sebastian Zeman 23rd in 16:49. Pinkerton would win a close battle for 2nd edging Coe-Brown by 6 points with Needham placing 4th. Places 5th-7th will certainly have an impact on this week’s rankings as Sanborn edged Windham and Londonderry 173-174-177. Three teams separated by only 4 points! What a day!
Congrats to all who competed and a hearty thanks to the Alvirne community for hosting another successful BoB!