2021 Hill Billy Relays

By Mike Smith

An uninvited opponent arrived early to the southwestern slice of heaven known as New Ipswich.  The once category 4 Hurricane, Ida, after making landfall in Louisiana, worked its way north, dumping copious amounts of rain on an already waterlogged section of our state.  As I arrived at the school as the sun was coming up, the surface of the uphill section of the course was moving downhill.  The surface was actually a sheet of water flowing due to the effect of gravity.  Safe to say Ida was going to make the day a memorable one.

The format for the day involves two person teams alternating two legs on our 1.5 mile cross country loop, pitting teams made up of the fastest-slowest teammates in descending order against each other with similar matchings from the Kearsarge, Hinsdale, Hillsboro Deering and the Derryfield School cross country teams.

By the time the afternoon rolled around, the weather and temperatures were conducive for running, but course conditions were still pretty horrendous.  Parts of the course were underwater, with more than 50% of it holding surface water where it generally is water free.  The afternoon adventures would be wet and wild. 

Prior to the start of the race, the first leg runners were instructed to choose their batons, ears of delicious butter and sugar corn from the local farm, that would navigate their way around the course.  Promptly at 4pm the runners set off across the field, but not to the crack of the starter’s pistol, but from a hearty “YeeHaw!” signaled by both the starter and bystanders alike.  

Kearsarge’s Gavin Garzia got off to an early lead, gaining 20 meters by 100 meters into the race.  Garzia would keep that lead throughout the first lap, working hard to build up a cushion that might last through the race.  Unfortunately for him, the Mascenic squads had mostly sent out their faster runners in the second leg, meaning all his hard earned lead would diminish over the ensuing leg.  Leading out of leg 2 was TEAM Up Chuck, the duo of Jethro Somero and Payton Vaillancourt, with Jethro making up the difference to put them in the lead at the halfway point.  However, unbeknownst to Somero, Vaillancourt spent the vast majority of his recovery lap relieving himself of his lunch.  Vaillancourt’s second leg would become a bit of a question mark.

Stealthily working its way through the field was TEAM Lumberjacks, with teammates Logan Lucas and Dom Cicchetti, Mascenic’s #5 and #6, working their way into the lead for the last hand off.  TEAM Up Chuck would hand off in second with TEAM Saltine Crackers, Kelson Whitehouse and Drew Traffie, right behind in third.  Traffie would pass Cicchetti before half a lap had passed and Somero soon after, maintaining his lead into the finish, winning in 38 minutes even.  TEAM Up Chuck would hold on to second, finishing in 38:36.  Third would be TEAM Lumberjacks with a come from behind performance by TEAM Melted Crayons, Ryan O’shea and Dylan Buttrick finishing in fourth.  

On the women’s side of things, TEAM Chile Peppas got out to an early lead and would hold it through the entire race.  Teammates Skye Lambert and Gracie German, closet TikTok’rs extraordinaire, would put their stamp of approval on this one, leading start to finish in 45:26.  In the end, 32 teams would navigate the watery concourse, finding some sort of victory over King Neptune.

And as the fading light of the afternoon descended on this water infused part of the state, those that were in the know knew that after last year’s season the events of the evening were quite special.  Teams competed, rivalries were both fanned and flamed, the competitive juices were stirred, and the season was off to the appropriate start.  Balance was both achieved and maintained.  Life was good again in the land of cross country.

As it should be.


1   Saltine Crackers   38:00

2  UpChuck   38:36

3   Lumberjacks   39:20

4   Melted Crayons   39:48

5   Holy Shucks   40:50

6   Blast to First   41:19

7   We Hate Golf  41:29   DQ course violation

8   Hell Yah Brothers   43:28

9   Mother Shuckers   43:52

10 Hillsboro Hillbillies   45:18

11 Chili Peppas   45:26*   first girls team

12 Muddy Flannels   45:55

13 Faster than John and Ben   46:26

14 Bic Highlighters   46:27

15 Grass Kickers   46:59

16 BK Squad   47:01

17 Juice on the Loose  47:16

18 Muddy Corn Catchers   47:40

19 Dunder Muflin   48:22

20 Donda   48:22

21 Wet Bandits   48:52

22 Falcons   49:22

23 Fireworks   49:30

24 Double Trouble   49:36

25 Stacy’s Lawn   50:27

26 Run ANE   50:43

27 Soccer Moms   51:41

28 Faster Than John   51:49

29 Moo Moo Ice Cream   53:02

30 Traffic Cones   53:23

31 Faster Than Ben    54:34

32 French Chefs  32:11   (2 laps)

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