On an unseasonably warm, yet rainy Thursday afternoon, the best junior varsity harriers in Division 2 and 3 faced off at Coe-Brown Northwood Academy. The girls led things off, and as in recent years, a couple of Coe-Brown athletes took the top 2 spots. Megan Spainhower and Eleanor McDonough led from gun to tape, but it was Spainhower pulling away on the back woods loop to take individual honors 21:05 to 21:21.
However, that is where the similarities to recent years end. For the first time in 6 years, a team other than Coe-Brown took home the team title. Although the Bears took the top 2 spots, it was Souhegan placing 5 in the top 11 claiming the state title with 36 points over Hanover’s 54. Led by Allison Roberts placing 3rd, the Lady Sabers benefitted from a 59 second pack time to take home the championship. Hanover, led by Johanna Bandler 4th place and Perrin Milikin’s 5th place, also benefitted from a 1:01 pack time to take home the runner-up plaque. Souhegan countered with Jenny Ladd and Rylee Noorda placing 6th and 7th respectively. Portsmouth’s Julia Adler, Souhegan’s Madeline Barretto, and Portsmouth’s Skyler Raines rounded out the top 10.
Last year, Oyster River overcame a Coe-Brown 1-2 effort to win the state title on a tiebreaker. This year, Coe-Brown still took the top 2 individual spots, with Zach Flanagan winning in 18:06 over teammate Tristan Jardon’s 18:21, but it was the Bears who claimed the title for the 1st time since 2010. With junior Chris Pratt unleashing a furious kick, CBNA took 3 of the top 4 spots to total only 7 points through their top 3 scores, defeating Oyster River 25-30 despite the Bobcats’ 21 second pack time.
Led by Reed Gibson’s 3rd place, OR placed 5 in the top 9 to garner runner-up honors. OR’s Max Stenslie, Ben Stone and Kendal Brant took places 5-7 with CBNA’s Jacob Spainhower placing 8th. Rounding out the top 10 were Cameron Casella (OR) and Gabe Deely (CBNA).