By Mike Smith
The Granite State Conference Championships will take place this coming Friday, pitting the Division 4 teams against each other in a battle for the small school division’s top dog. Last year saw Moultonborough, Epping, Hinsdale, Canaan Memorial, Newmarket, Portsmouth Christian, Gorham, Pittsburg, and Derryfield do battle over the Newmarket cross country course. As the championship rotates every year, the Derryfield school will play host the those same schools on their newly renovated, hilly and challenging course.
Leading the way in the girls race should be Portsmouth Christian’s Liza Corso. Putting up a solid season which rates her as one of D3’s best, Corso blazed a 20:31 on the very same Derryfield course for the championships; almost three minutes in front of her nearest competitor. Anticipate Hinsdale’s Margaret St. John to take up that second position, either leading the chase pack or trying to hold onto Corso. However, there should be a close battle for that third between PCA’s Lily Kjendal, Newmarket’s Isabel Pentony and Derryfield’s Emma Pyles. Pentony got the best of them last week, finishing two seconds up on Kjendal and more than ten on Pyles. After that expect plenty of Newmarket and Derryfield runners filling in those top ten spots.
Last week Newmarket finished eight up on PCA but the Eagles were running without one of the Kjendal sisters. If Delany’s running, look for this one to be even closer. Derryfield looks to be the next likely team to find itself in the top three.
Last year the GSC title went to Moultonborough’s big man Tyler McLaughlin. Third at D3’s and NH’s #16 in 2017, his graduation has left a void at the top of D4. The top two returnees are Derryfield’s Matt Michaud and Newmarket’s Alex Kumph from last year; however, Derryfield’s Eric Dechapdelaine and PCA’s David Brackett finished between the two just last week at the Cougar Classic. Potentially there could be someone from Moultonborough that steps in to upset the apple cart, but with no obtainable results to work off of we’d be unable to predict.
Last year Moultonborough won the title, and while there’s no evidence to believe they aren’t a strong team, there is nothing to support it either, so expect Newmarket to be in the top spot. Second last year and the top team behind Mascenic last week at the Cougar Classic they should be in the driver’s seat. Derryfield stands to be the next team in but with results from meets being scarce, these things are hard to predict.