By Mike Smith
Participating Schools: Campbell, Derryfield, Hillsborough-Deering, Hinsdale, Hopkinton, Mascenic, Newport, Portsmouth Christian Academy, Raymond
Two years ago, the Newmarket girls and the Mascenic boys won the coveted cucurbit with strong pack running. Mascenic had seven in the top eleven, and Newmarket’s top five were in the top fifteen. Will 2021 see different teams atop the podium? Let’s dig into it.
As the years have passed, the Derryfield course has taken on many different looks. From the death drop on pavement by the tennis courts to the narrow wooden bridges, from the sandpit loop and the steep hilly track and the sand pile, it seems we’ve finally settled on a course for the future. Starting with a handful of loops around the athletic field before heading up the hill by the parking lot, and then down the hill to the fabled steps, the new course is a lot more runnable than previous versions and a lot safer as well. Not to mention good for viewing and with a nice long and flat run into the finish. While the times are not really fast, they aren’t that slow either and allow for great battle out on the course. Add in the electronic/photo timing system and you’ve got a top notch operation. And don’t forget the cucurbit.
In the girls race you’d have to be a fool to bet against the Hopkinton Hawks. Ranked in the top ten for the entire season so far, Hopkinton has dominated the D3 competition. Led by Hannah Bennett, Shaylee Murdough and Cailey Stockwell, the ladies should be in the driver’s seat for sure. Behind them should be the Vikings of Mascenic. With a constantly changing lineup, the Vikings are eight deep, led by Skye Lambert when she elects to go the correct way, their interchangeable support team keeps getting better race to race. Campbell girls, graduating their top four from last year and 5 of the varsity 7, are like a phoenix rising from the ashes, and if they can pull things together should challenge the Vikings for Massachusetts border supremacy.
Individually, the Hopkinton ladies will have their hands full with Portsmouth Christian’s Brianna Malone. What will be interesting is will Hopkinton simply let her go or give chase. Behind the Hopkinton crew and Malone, expect Mascenic’s Lambert and Campbell’s scraping their way into the top ten.
On the boy’s side, it would seem Mascenic is in the driver’s seat as well. Led by the Traffie boys, Connor and Drew, the rest of the pack has been getting tighter and tighter as the season goes on. Expect the Viking’s to race their way to the top of this one. Behind their two sophomore studs, Ben Daniels and Matt Clarner (the Swedish online payment company?!), the Hopkinton boys will be looking to sink Mascenic’s longship.
Individually, expect some infighting between the Traffie boys, with Mascenic’s Ryan O’Shea and Jethro Somero, and Hopkinton’s Daniels and Clarner looking to crash the family reunion.