By Mike Smith
On a great and slightly unseasonably cool day for racing, the Mascenic Cross Country race kicked off Mascenic’s Homecoming days activities. With a victorious volleyball game to follow, nine teams coalesced at the Mascenic Athletic complex baseball field for some deep D3 racing. In the girls race we have 8 of the top 10 returning girls toeing the line along with 4 of the top 7 returning teams from 2021, one of those being Hopkinton, currently NH’s #3. On the boys side the race is even tighter, with 7 of the top 10 returnees but the top four returning teams in Mascenic, Newfound, Monadnock and Fall Mountain, plus #6 Trinity and #8 Hopkinton. With the #3 individuals at D3s in Hannah Bennett and Drew Traffie, it’s safe to assume the racing would be fast.
The girls got off right at 4pm with Hopkinton’s Shaylee Murdough and Hannah Bennett going straight to the front. Quickly assembling behind them was the quartet of Summer and Anna Bentley, Alyssa Hall and Sadie Gibson from Monadnock, J Fillion of Fall Mountain and another quartet from Mascenic in Kaitlin and Erin O’Shea, Emma Schaumloffel and Skye Lambert of Mascenic. The rest of the field strung out behind them and Murdough and Bennett would lead the rest of the race and would go unchallenged. However behind them, both quartets had plans to start working the second half of the race stretching out and moving towards the front.
Murdough would cross the line in 20:14, followed by Bennett in 20:22. Monadnock would put the next two in with Sadie Gibson and Alyssa Hall. Fillion of Fall Mountain would round out the top five. Mascenic would put in the next three with Erin in front of Kaitlin, and Schaumloffel in 8th, tightening up the team race. In the end, Hopkinton, Monadnock and Mascenic would make up 17 of the top twenty finishers.
Hopkinton would win this one, 31 – 36 over Mascenic. Newfound was third with 77, with the rest of the teams not having enough runners to score. Had Monadnock had enough to score, the results would definitely been different.
With the boys starting 35 minutes after the girls, the race for the gate, 300 meters from the starting line was hotly contested. Less than a minute into the contest a lead pack of about twenty squeezed out of the starting area and out onto the mile and a half loop. Ben Tetu of Fall Mountain lead at the half mile, with Drew Traffie and Ryan O’Shea of Mascenic in tow, Evan Foster of Newfound, Ben Daniels and Matt Clarner of Hopkinton, Jace and Peyton Joslyn of Monadnock and Max Scharr and Aidan Palmeter of Trinity close behind. Foster and Tetu would begin to stretch away over the first lap, leading the chase group by about 50 meters heading into the second loop. However Traffie was looking to crank things up over the second loop and by the two mile mark he had assumed the lead and was pressing his advantage. He would stretch away from Foster and Tetu, while the chase pack was looking to capitalize on Tetu and Foster being broken.
Traffie wouldn’t relinquish his lead, winning in 16:59, with Tetu 18 seconds in arrears. Daniels of Hopkinton would be the best of the rest, finishing strong and in third ahead of the Josyln brothers in fourth and fifth. Foster would hang on for 6th, while O’Shea would hold off Clarner in the best individual battle of the day, both being credited with 17:38. Scharr and Palmeter would round out the top ten.
And while the top ten scores might not indicate it, Trinity would win this one by putting their top seven in the top 18, scoring 48 points. Mascenic would be the best of the rest, secretly amassing 55 points. Newfound would be third with 90 points, Fall Mountain 4th with 107, Derryfield fifth with 138 points and Newport in sixth with 195 points.
Many of these teams will square off next Saturday at the Manchester Invitational.