2018 NHIAA Divisional State Championships Recap & Results

NHIAA Divisional State Championships Meet Hub – continue to checking for interviews, pics and videos as they are completed

Full Results @ LancerTiming

Division 1 Girls

Pinkerton Edges Upstart Exeter by 3 Points to Win 4th Consecutive Title!

BG’s Caroline’s Fischer and Towle go 1-2!

The girls of Division 1 did not waste their opportunity to take advantage of the best conditions of the day as they shrugged off the early start to drop some incredible performances and wage an incredibly tight team battle that was not settled until the final straightaways!  The first surprise of the day came when South’s Calli Coffin was noticeably not racing.  Unfortunately, according to her coach, she is out 6 weeks with an avulsion fracture.  While as a sophomore she has plenty of opportunities in her future, we wish her a speedy recovery!  It would have been interesting as Bishop Guertin’s Caroline Fischer wasted no time establishing the lead with teammate Caroline Towle in tow.    Matter of fact, although Towle would cut into Fischer’s lead, that is how it would end, with the Cardinal teammates going 1-2.  Fischer taking the D1 girls title in 18:48 to Towle’s 18:51.

Making up the chase pack was a microcosm of the epic team battle which would ensue over the entire course as Exeter’s Violet Sullivan and Pinkerton’s Meghan Cross joined South’s Lydia Matson, and North’s Arianna BraccioExeter definitely had the early lead at the mile as Grace Mercier and Allison Kelly applied pressure behind their leader Sullivan.  However, what has become a Pinkerton signature is their patience displayed over the first mile to hang back, regardless of the course challenges, preparing to pounce.  And pounce they did as they drew even with Exeter over the hills to battle on the descent and fields.  As Cross eventually placed 3rd in 19:16, outstriding South’s Matson’s 19:20, Exeter’s Sullivan would place 5th in 19:24.  While North’s Braccio would claim 6th in 19:49, Sullivan’s teammate Mercier would give the Hawks the lead finishing 7th in 19:53.  Concord’s Morgane Orcutt would claim 8th in 19:56 with Salem freshman Bethany Graham outkicked Keene’s Mikayla Randall for 9th 20:04 to 20:05 to round out the top 10.

The pendulum would swing in Pinkerton’s favor as they countered Exeter by placing Mariesa Preble 13th (20:11) and Ciara April 15th (20:15).  Exeter would make it three in for both teams as Kelley placed 18th (20:29), but the TrailBlazers had Riley Sweeney placing 22nd (20:36). The Lady Hawks would battle back placing their 4th scorer Grace Jordan 24th in 20:41.  Both team’s 5th scorers were separated by a mere 2 seconds with Pinkerton’s Molly McGaffigan edging Exeter’s Hadley Raymond 20:50 to 20:52 and a few places.  A three point victory for the 3 time defending D1 champs 81 to 84.  Exeter should not hang their heads as the runner-up plaque is the first team hardware collected in cross country in 40 years (runner-up, 1978)!  Supporting the Trailblazer staunch defense of their title, were Jordan Vaillancourt and Olivia Welch.

With strong packing of their 2nd through 5th scorers (21 seconds), Concord claimed 3rd place honors by only 10 points over Bishop GuertinSalem took fifth by only 8 points over Central, which held off 7th place Bedford 169-179 to round out MOC qualifying teams from Division 1.


Division 1 Boys

Concord and MacKenzie Repeat!

The Division 1 boys race went relatively according to predictions as NH #1 Concord and Forest MacKenzie claimed their 2nd consecutive D1 titles; however, the race was still full of drama and stories representing the strength of NH Cross Country.  The race progressed over the first mile as expected with Concord, Londonderry, and Pinkerton hanging back while Winnacunnet and Keene applied some pressure.  Early race leader Keene’s Jake Velasquez pushed the first mile.  Velasquez is the first of the stories, and perhaps the most impressive, as he did not compete at last year’s D1 race due to a fractured hip!  Kudos to Velasquez as he became yet another example of NH resiliency after a completing what was certainly a long rehab process.

As expected, he not only toed the line, but made the top runners, defending champ Concord’s MacKenzie, teammate Eli-Boesch Dining, Exeter’s Jake Winslow, Pinkerton’s Joseph Gagnon, North’s Joseph Curran, Winnacunnet’s Colin Donnelly, and Londonderry’s Will Heenan all work the climb to the 2 mile mark.  Winslow and Heenan represent the other prime examples of 603 resourcefulness as both harriers overcame injuries which caused them to miss significant time this season.  Both have strong resumes of course, and both made their presence felt, especially Winslow who has only been back training full time for 3 weeks.

In spite of these incredible comeback stories, MacKenzie emerged from the woods loop in first with a lead over Winslow.  True to his well earned reputation, MacKenzie ran a superior intelligent, measured race applying the pressure over the final mile to keep Winslow’s gutsy performance at bay to win in 15:52 to Winslow’s unbelievable 15:59.  Both were able to successfully navigate the increasingly treacherous course.  MacKenzie must have had his Manchester Invitational fall on his mind as he approached the approach towards the door.  That fall possibly cost him the individual title that day.

What the crowds in the fields did not see, was the first major fall of the day as Velasquez feet slid from underneath him when attempting to make a turn on the descent. Velasquez recovered to battle with Boesch-Dining over the final mile to place 3rd in 16:21, and is NH’s top D1 returner for 2019. Stay tuned to that one. Unleashing a strong kick, North’s Curran over took Boesch-Dining in the final strides to nab 4th, 16:26 to 16:27.  The third comeback story, Heenan finished a strong 6th in 16:30 outkicking Pinkerton’s Gagnon.  The Kindopp brothers of Keene, Torin and Aidan, finished 8th and 9th respectively as Winnacunnet’s Jack Taylor rounded out the top 10 in 16:38.

As expected Concord repeated as champs rather comfortably posting a score of 48 to claim their 23rd state title in school history; the first was in 1930!  Placing 3 in the top 10, Keene  claimed the runner-up plaque with 91 points.  Pinkerton would edge Winnacunnet for 3rd 104-106 with Londonderry placing 5th amassing 113 points.  Nashua North and Exeter would round out the D1 MOC berths placing 6th and 7th respectively.


Division 3 Girls

Hopkinton Wins 1st D3 Title Since 2013

Kearsarge’s Mya Dube Repeats as Individual D3 Champ!

In the preview, the nod was given to Campbell and Mya Dube as returning champions with Hopkinton and Kearsarge, and Portsmouth Christian’s Liza Corso as potential spoilers.  What wasn’t written was the biggest spoiler might have been Mother Nature for giving us a Nor’Easter making the course wet and muddy. Slipping their way around Derryfield Park, the D3 girls saw the light rain turn into freezing rain and then hard rain just as the starter’s pistol fired.  Dube and Corso fronted the lead pack from the start, with members of the Hopkinton, Campbell and Kearsarge teams in hot pursuit.

By the mile mark, Corso and Dube had gapped the field highlighting the shoot out everyone was expecting.  Shoulder to shoulder up the hill to the reservoir, the duo had a 60 meter gap back to the chase pack. Delaney Swanson of Monadnock and Alice Riley of Belmont fronted the chase pack which included Campbell’s top two in Cassie Hemming and Megan Whitnell, Gilford’s Cat Snow, Prospect Mountains Veronica Dowd, Winnisquam’s Faith Gosselin, Hinsdale’s Margaret St. John, and the trio of Cailey Stockwell, Emma Rothe, and Anna O’Reilly.  With plenty of racing left, time would tell which team and which runner would emerge victorious.

With 800 meters left of running, a solo figure emerged across the tennis court parking area.  Dube had broken Corso over the second half of the race and enjoyed an eighty meter lead at this point.  Thirty meters behind Corso, Riley and Swanson were in a fierce battle for third, with Stockwell and St. John giving chase.  Riley would stretch out Swanson over the final 300 meters.

Dube would cruise to the finish in 19:50, with Corso 26 seconds behind.  Riley would keep the gap, nine seconds down on Corso. Swanson (20:30) would hold fourth while Stockwell (20:47) would get the better over St. John in the final stretch.  Rounding out the top ten would be Prospect Mountain’s Veronica Dowd (7th, 20:51), Gosselin (8th, 20:52), Zoe Utton (9th, 20:52) of Fall Mountain and Rothe (10th, 20:54).

Hopkinton would win this one rather handily, with three in the top 12 and the scoring five in the top 26, 52 to 81 over defending champ Campbell.  Campbell was 20 points up on Kearsarge and 50 points up on Lebanon. Monadnock would surprise by grabbing the final Meet of Champions spot over Newmarket.

Hopkinton’s return to the top of the podium was their first D3 title since 2013 which marked the end of 7 year reign.  Joining Stockwell, Rothe and O’Reilly were Sydney Stockwell (16th, 21:27), Lily Sabol (26th, 22:21), Lilia Klingler (33rd, 23:12), and Cate Westbrook (48th, 24:04).

-Mike Smith

Division 3 Boys

Mascenic Survives Scare from Campbell to Win by 2!

Jeffrey Allen and Landon Vaillancourt Wage War Through the Rain

In the boy’s preview, the nod was given to Mascenic and Campbell’s Jeffrey Allen, and while this held true, it was only by the smallest of margins.  It took very little time for anyone to realize Mascenic’s Landen Vaillancourt and the Campbell boys were looking to wreak havoc on the form charts and steal these races.

At 400 meters, the front of the boys race was crowded but soon after Vaillancourt and Allen who were keenly aware of where each other was during the mass start made some moves to put them at the front of the pack.  By the top of Reservoir Hill, the two had gapped the field and were working on each other as they headed into the backwoods. Danny Donovan of Trinity and Logan Thibault of Mascenic were slightly ahead of the chase pack that was loaded with Campbell jerseys.  The Cougars got out well and were looking to establish themselves at the front of the race making other teams have to chase them to the finish. The Mascenic #3 – #6 were behind Campbell’s top five at this point and it was either team’s race.

Coming back down the grass hill to the tennis courts Vaillancourt was pressing Allen with no one in sight, the mud slickened course was both runners’ biggest enemy.  Donovan was next to emerge from the downhill with Fall Mountain’s George Gowdy and Thibault in pursuit. Tyler Hebert of Monadnock and Cody Davis of Lebanon were chasing, along with a group of Kearsarge, Campbell and Mascenic boys.

Vaillancourt and Allen would push each other all the way to the hairpin turn at the tree, where Allen was able to pull away for a five second victory in 16:23 to repeat as D3 Champ.  This was a type of duel which left each athlete utterly exhausted and depleted as they both gave absolutely everything.  NH Cross Country at its best!  Third in was Gowdy, a minute back of Allen’s winning time. Donovan (17:25), Thibault (17:38), Hebert (17:42) and Davis (17:42) took the next three spots with the top ten being made up of Kearsarge’s Ben Boulton (17:42) Trinity’s James Barrett (17:45) and Winnisquam’s Rick Fournier (17:49).

Winning most of the battles being waged over the final 800 meters of the course, Mascenic would eek out a win, 63 – 65 over the gutsy Campbell.  Usually when your top 5 are in the top 21 you win easy, but when your nearest competition puts theirs in the top 22, it’s going to be close.  The win was the Viking’s 2nd consecutive D3 title and 7th in school history with all titles coming since 2005.  Joining Vaillancourt and Thibault on stage were Dakota Somero (16th, 18:03), Connor Traffie (19th, 18:06), Josh Movsessian (21st, 18:10), Robert McClain (32nd, 18:44), and Zack Allen (51st, 19:23).

Coincidentally, the top five teams of Kearsarge (78), Trinity (103) and Winnisquam (151) finished almost 100 points in front of the next team and had 19 of the top 25 spots in the race.

-Mike Smith

Division 2 Girls

Coe-Brown Returns to the Top of the Podium

MV’s Sophia Reynolds Wins her 1st Individual Title

With the course deteriorating into a muddy slip and slide, the girls in the DII Championship took to the line for a memorable battle against weather and competition.  At the starter’s gun, a giant “thwack!” was heard as most runners slipped off the line. Once recovered, the racing began and the girls were off on the first of the many Derryfield hills.  

By the 600 meter mark West’s Julia Robitaille and Merrimack Valley’s Sophia Reynolds were clear of the field with Corinne Robitaille of West just behind. Coe-Brown’s Addy Cox and Souhegan’s Arielle Zlotnick led the chase pack.  By the top of the first hill, Reynolds had seized a small lead while back in the pack, the big three of Con-Val, Claire Veverka, Rachel Hurley, and Schuyler Michalak, began their march toward the front. At the two mile mark, Reynolds had a gap and looked to be on cruise control while J. Robitaille still looked strong herself.  C. Robitaille was comfortably in third while the pack behind began to shift and string out. Milford’s Lauren Robinson and Souhegan’s Chloe Trudel were now in the hunt for a top ten finish.

Seemingly unaffected by the harsh conditions, Reynolds ran to victory in the fastest time of the day, 18:32. J. Robitaille took runner-up honors 16 seconds back.  C. Robitaille finished a strong third, running solo the entire race. With a strong third mile,Cox regained her early positioning to finish fourth while Veverka and Hurley placed fifth and sixth respectively followed by Robinson in seventh. Trudel and Zlotnick gave Souhegan two in the top ten, while Coe-Brown’s Ella Malone ran the race of her life to take the tenth spot and the final time under 20:00.

Even with Malone’s breakthrough race, and Abigail O’Connor’s gutsy 12th place finish, the title came down to the fifth runner as expected. Con-Val had the slim lead through four runners while Coe-Brown put their entire scoring five in the top twenty five to take the victory with 62 to 84. Defending champs Souhegan placed third with 100 points. Like the top three, the remaining MOC qualifiers finished true to the preview, with Oyster River placing fourth (122), Hanover fifth (131), and Milford securing the sixth and final spot (166).

The win is Coe-Brown’s 7th D2 title in 9 years.  Joining Cox, Malone, and O’Connor were Miranda Compton (23rd, 21:06), Amelia Edmonds (25th, 21:15), Tessa Millette (27th, 21:16), and Autumn Graham (45th, 22:04).

Good luck to all the DII girls next week at the Meet of Champions!

-Dave Irving

Division 2 Boys

Coe-Brown Wins 4th Title in 5 Years

MV’s David Reynolds Holds off Young Guns

Last race of the day.  Course torn up and footing questionable. Cold, rain, misery.  PRs out of the question.  This race was simply about who could perform the best under the worst conditions of the year. Outside of a handful of runners, this race was about only one thing: Team.

As the front runners hit the mile 1 mark, the typical and expected blurs of red (Coe-Brown) and blue (Oyster River, Sanborn, Merrimack Valley) passed by at around 5:20 pace. Slow for that particular group of runners in general, but given Saturday’s conditions that was understandable. As spectators, we truly now understood this championship race was (as it always is) about place, not time.  It’s so easy to marvel at how fast someone can run a 5K, but now we would need to think about how team construction and grouping would play out. Mental toughness was at a premium Saturday, and really it is the most important aspect of the sport.

Coming down off the hill and heading towards the lower fields, the lead group had thinned a bit, but David Reynolds (MV) had a lead and looked strong. Right behind him however and much closer than I think he and really any of us would have envisioned, was a chase pack of Andrew O’Brien (Oyster River), Dawson Dubois and Luke Tkaczyk (Coe-Brown) and a strong looking Dylan Khalil (Sanborn).  Over the next 800 meters Reynolds would stretch his lead a little over everyone except O’Brien and Dubois. In the end, Reynolds (16:44) had the strength and willpower to hold off O’Brien (16:48) and Dubois (16:49) to capture the Division 2 individual title.  Tkaczyk would be fourth in 16:55 and Khalil 5th in 16:59.

In Division 2, the top 6 teams from this race move on to the Meet of Champions (MOC) next week in Nashua. Here are those teams.

Coe-Brown placed a staggering 4 runners inside the top 8! This was more than enough to seal a team title. The only team to get 2 runners under 17:00 on badly chewed up course; the Bears had a mere 21 seconds between their top 4 guys, and only 53 seconds between their 1-5 runners. Coupled with the necessary up-front runners scoring low, this was Coe-Brown’s year.  Wyatt Mackey placed 6th in 17:08, Logan Mihelich 8th in 17:12.  Gavyn Lewis was Coe-Brown’s 5th scorer placing 24th in 17:42.  Patrick Hill and Carter Sylvester placed 33rd and 34th to complete the Bears’ state championship squad.

Last year’s team champion, Oyster River had excellent performances too and earned 2nd overall. The Bobcats were the only team in the race to put all 7 runners under 18:00! With great up-front runners here as well, Oyster River used a 60 second 1-5 gap to seal a runner-up plaque. Supporting O’Brien were Myles Carrico who placed 7th in 17:10 and Henry Keegan (11th, 17:25).  Both teams were in a class by themselves this year as the next few teams to place were significantly back a ways. Hanover took 3rd convincingly for the second straight year and displayed an impressive 30 second 1-5 gap. The Marauders placed all of their top 5 under 18:00; an amazing feat given the conditions. In 4th overall was Souhegan. With only one runner in the top 20, the Sabers used a tight 61 second 1-5 grouping to get the job done and punch their ticket to MOC.

In the 5th spot was Cov-Val. Using a potent 1-2 punch with two runners in the top 16, the Cougars needed some run support from their 3-5 guys. They got just that and came within 10 points of Souhegan.  Rounding out the top 6 was Sanborn. The Indians had established 1-2 runners that would definitely score low, but what about the 3-5 guys?  A big day for those runners, grouping within 4 places of each other was more than enough to hold off any of the other challenging teams.  Looking at what they have coming up over the next few years, Sanborn could very well be the team of the future.

Individually, MV’s Matt Reynolds placed 9th in 17:19 and Milford’s Caleb Korthals would round out the top 10 in 17:21.

Good luck and good health (and good weather?) to all teams and individuals.

-Mike Lyford


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