By Mike Smith
Over the years, the participation in the Derryfield School Cougar Classic has ebbed and flowed, much like the mighty Merrimack that mirrors a section of the course. For a while the contest hosted upwards of a dozen or more of the smaller schools in Division 3. Over the last few years, with teams opting to participate in other events to tune up for the championship season, the field has shrunk but the competition has not. Mascenic, one of the more strongly consistent programs in D3 has raced there for more than a dozen years, makes the annual pilgrimage to the Classic to hone their team racing skills and take home the coveted pumpkin prize. Rest assured that the difficulty of the course and the strength of the competition will provide the appropriate challenge as teams sharpen their racing tactics.
Last year, PCA’s Liza Corso and Mascenic’s Landen Vaillancourt won the individual races showcasing themselves as two of Division 3’s best and one would expect they would be at the front of both of those races this year as well. Mascenic won both races last year, the girls by one point over Newmarket and the boys in a blowout. This year it’s very possible that neither team will bring home the prized cucurbit, as Portsmouth Christian and Conant have been at the top of the D3 ranks all season. PCA’s top three in Corzo, and the Malone sisters, can rival any team on the girls side of things. Newmarket fronted by Isabella Pentony, Mascenic fronted by Quinn Aldrich, and Hinsdale fronted by Margaret St. John, are in the hunt for a Meet of Champions berth so the racing should be solid in the girls race.
Conant, fronted by the duo of Chris Taylor and Matt Bernier will be looking to break up Mascenic between their 1-2 and use their 3-6 to break up the rest of the Mascenic pack. Conant readily dispatched the Vikings earlier in the season at Sanborn but the Mascenic boys have been getting better every week, so there should be some good racing on the trails of North Manchester.