Division 2 Girls
Mother Nature provided classic late October cross country weather for the Divisional Championships, while the girls of Division II delivered a race full of excitement. In a race where the storyline was youth versus experience, experience prevailed in one aspect while youth took the day in another.
Off the line at 11:30, the girls were running the third race of the day. The course was in decent condition, and the weather was not as wet nor as cold as it could have been. Not exactly fast conditions, but still good conditions for racing. Experience took charge early, as 2019 champion Chloe Trudel of Souhegan and 2018 champion Sophia Reynolds of Merrimack Valley were shoulder-to-shoulder through the first loop around the starting fields. Once over the top of the first hill, Trudel had opened up a decent lead over second place, which was now 9th-grader Mackenzie Cook of Oyster River. Reynolds was hanging tough in third, while Oyster River’s second 9th-grader, Haley Kavanaugh, was starting to move away from the rest of the chase pack. By the tower at the top of the hill at mile 2 Trudel had a comfortable lead and was clearly on the path to a second victory in three years. Oyster River now held the 2nd and 3rd positions, and with two more coming through in the top ten, it was clear that something special was brewing on the team side.
The top four would hold their positions all the way to the finish, with Trudel claiming the win in the fastest time of the day. Cook and Kavanagh both finished well under 20 minutes as the fastest freshmen of the day, while Reynolds was the final DII girl under 20 minutes. Both seniors, Trudel and Reynolds deserve recognition for their consistency over the years – Trudel has placed 8th, 1st, 2nd, and 1st, while Reynolds has placed 1st, 5th, 3rd, and 4th. Winning the battle of the chase pack, Coe-Brown’s Sheldyn Fisher placed 5th, while Souhegan’s 2nd runner Stephanie Svendsen took 6th. Bow’s Mya Brochu raced well to place 7th, while Oyster River’s youth movement continued with sophomores Erin Carty and Tessa Brown finishing 8th and 9th, respectively. Rounding out the top ten was Coe-Brown’s number 2, Isabella Lemay.
While experience prevailed on the individual side, youth prevailed on the team side. Oyster River, with two freshmen and three sophomores in their top five, took home the title with a very convincing 25 point margin of victory over runner-up Souhegan. Defending champion Coe-Brown ran well, holding their tally under 100 points to place third. Kennett improved three spots from a year ago to place 4th and snag a trip to the Meet of Champions. The final two spots, as predicted, came down to the wire. 5th, 6th, and 7th were each separated by only one point each. Grabbing 5th place with a strong 2-5 pack and led by Riley Morgan’s 19th place was Windham, by 1 point over 6th and final spot Bow.
Good luck to all DII runners next week, we are proud to have you representing the division!
Division 2 Boys
On what we’ve become accustomed to calling typical Division Championship weather, athletes, coaches, and spectators were treated to temperatures in the low 50’s, a drizzling rain, and a course that was wet, muddy, and chewed up from the previous DIII races! The weather didn’t seem to dampen the action and excitement that this race brings. The culmination of months of preparation came down to a single race, and everyone seemed thrilled that this day had finally arrived.
The whistle blew, the gun went off, and the championship was underway! The race went out a little tentatively, with many runners slipping and/or falling down right from the get-go. Through 800m a lead pack was just starting to form with some of the state’s best gradually working their way to the front. At that point, the first group was a mix of Windham, Sanborn, Coe-Brown, and the entire Oyster River top 5. Through the mile mark and up the first hill however, Windham’s Mike Killian and Logan Carter, Sanborn’s Jared Khalil, and CBNA’s Aidan Cox had created a slight separation from a string of runners featuring Lebanon’s Birhanu Harriman, Coe Brown’s Lars Hogne, Jamie Lano, and Tyler Tkaczyk, Sanborn’s Tyson Khalil, Hanover’s Spencer May, and OR’s Dillon Labonte. Cox seemed to be biding his time and looking for an opportunity to make his move.
As it often does at Derryfield, things got crazy over the second mile and subsequent downhill. Through the flats and up the side of McIntyre ski area, Cox opened things up and found the stride that led him to the state title last season. Harriman and Killian continued to keep things close, while patience over the first half appeared to be paying off big time for the Coe-Brown Boys (Hogne, Tkaczyk, and Lano). CBNA had moved 4 athletes into the top 10, and were clearly in the driver’s seat for the team title. With 1200m to go, Cox was comfortably out front and continuing to push the pace, Harriman was soundly in second, and Killian had established himself in third. Hogne had moved into 4th, with Carter on his shoulder in 5th, and Hanover’s Spencer May in 6th. Tyson Khalil had moved into 7th, while Tkaczyk in 8th looked poised to shift into another gear. Lano trailed close behind for 9th, while Jared Khalil had fallen off the pace, fighting to keep his position in the top 10.
As they zig-zagged across the field, made the turn, and kicked it into the home stretch, NH’s finest laid it all on the line and continued to battle for finishing positions. Cox cruised in for a repeat victory in an impressive 15:53, while, in arguably the best performance of the day, Harriman fought off a hard-charging Killian as they went on to finish 2nd (16:09) and 3rd (16:11) respectively. Hogne won his battle and pulled away to take 4th, as Carter (5th, 16:39) then managed to hold off a strong finish from Tkaczyk (6th, 16:41). The younger Khalil (7th, 16:50) outkicked May (8th, 16:50), while Jared Khalil fought his way back into the mix to pull off 9th (16:58). CBNA’s super soph Lano rounded out the top 10 with a fantastic 16:59.
From a team perspective, Coe-Brown once again proved that when they’re healthy, they are the class of the division, and possibly the entire state of New Hampshire. CBNA finished with 4 in the top 10, and won with an incredible 43 points! Windham, with 84 points, had outstanding performances from Killian, Carter, and Baxter Gower-Hall (13th, 17:26) to take the runner-up plaque for a second year in a row. For the fourth straight year, Hanover took claim to the bronze, finishing 3rd behind stellar races from May, Will Parker (12th, 17:23), and Mack Levy (18th, 17:33). Oyster River’s squad had a bit of an off day by their standards, but still put together an impressive 4th place finish as a team. Labonte (11th, 17:11), Henry Hagen (15th, 17:29), and Amani Harvey (17th, 17:32) were the Bobcats’ leaders. Look for this crew to bounce back next week at MOC’s, as everyone knows Oyster River always puts together their best races for Mines Falls.
As previously predicted, Sanborn took down the 5th spot behind the Brothers Khalil in 7th and 9th, and a breakout performance by D2’s top freshman Jake Pitre (21st, 17:39). Bow clinched the 6th and final Meet of Champions berth with tremendous pack running. Their runners #1 – 5 were separated by a mere 38 seconds. Adem Aricanli (18th, 17:35) was the team’s top performer, while the chase group of Falcons followed closely behind. Michael Pelletier, Connor Bernard, Lincoln Routhier, and Owen Miller all came in between 18:00 and 18:13 to secure the opportunity to race next weekend!
Tremendous work out there New Hampshire! Best of luck to all those racing next weekend at Nashua South…congratulations on an amazing season!