By Jim MacKenzie
The 2017 Southeast League Cross Country Championships hosted by Coe-Brown Northwood Academy featured two perennial team powers pitting 5 time NH State Champion Deerfield against 2016 State Champion Northwood. Individually the meet would see the 2016 USATF National Individual Champion Aidan Cox of Northwood seeking his second straight Southeast League Title and who keeps on rewriting the record books and the new crowning of the girl’s 2017 race winner after 3-time winner Addison Cox of Northwood now has graduated.
In the girls race 2016 State runner-up Deerfield looking to become the first ever team to win 7 straight Southeast League titles led by Sophie Hopkins went right to the front of the pack. She was flanked by a pair of Northwood runners Mary Joy and Libby White along with Mallory Taylor of Strafford and an army of Deerfield Dragons.
At the mile, 7th grader Hopkins opened up a 50 meter lead and held onto it all the way to the finish winning in 12:38. Taylor distanced herself from the other contenders placing 2nd in 12:50. Joy placed 3rd in 13:05 finishing just ahead of the hard kicking Ava Woodman of Deerfield (4th 13:08) and White (5th 13:14) who just made it in before the rest of the Deerfield scoring seven. Quincy Bolduc (6th 13:18), Bella Lemay (7th 13:26), Christina Mallette (8th 13:30), Rose Layton (9th 13:35) and Seven Doperalski (10th 13:35)rounded out the top 10 to ensure Deerfield the team title. Barrington’s Brianna Malone (11th 13:39) and Leah Parks (12th 13:42) finished just ahead of Northwood’s Alyviah Blad (13th 13:50) and Barrington’s third girl Cadence Howard (14th 13:50). Nottingham’s Natalie Sicard captured 15th in 13:52.
Deerfield easily won the team championship with 26 points. Barrington was 2nd with 74 points, Strafford was 3rd with 98 points, Northwood 4th with 101 points, Three Rivers 5th with 142 points, Nottingham 6th with 153 points, Epsom 7th with 190 points and Chichester was 8th with 193 points.
2016 State and Defending Southeast League Champion Aidan Cox left no doubt in everyone’s mind when the race began his only competition was the course and the race clock. Running all by himself and over a minute in front of his nearest competitor, Cox reached down deep and put on another record setting performance. As he charged to the finish the clock read 10:12 lowering his 2 week winning mark of 10:16 at the 2017 Black Bear Invitational.
Cox’s teammate Tyler Tkaczyk did not disappoint either running a fantastic 11:20 placing 2nd to complete the one, two punch. Strafford’s Lars Hogne took 3rd place in 11:25 just in front of the Deerfield version of the Fantastic Four, John Murphy (4th 11:36), Sam Hopkins (5th 11:51), Shaun Fifield (6th 11:51) and Trent Kinsvater (7th 11:56). Strafford’s Jamie Lano slipped under 12 minutes running 11:57 to place 8th. Northwood’s Max Heigis (9th 12:19) finished up tough just ahead of Deerfield’s Jacob Comrie (12:25). Colby Despres of Chichester placed 11th in 12:33 edging out Barrington’s Sam Guilimette (12th 12:33) and fellow Chichester teammate Mason Pillsbury (13th 12:35). Deerfield’s Will Pegnam made a strong showing placing 14th in 12:50 outdistancing Northwood’s Daymien Bonet (15th 13:01).
Deerfield won the 2017 Southeast League Championship with 32 points upending 2016 Champion Northwood 2nd with 48 points. Much improved Chichester placed 3rd with 82 points to surprise Strafford 4th 84 points. Barrington place 5th 141 points, Three Rivers 6th 157 points, Nottingham 7th 163 points, and Epsom placed 8th with 238 points.
CBNA will once again be hosting the Division III NH State Championships. The Southeast League should be well represented both team wise and individually next Saturday.