By Mike Smith
Division 3 Girls
In the preview, I said I thought we were looking at four teams looking to battle it out for the top spot with Hopkinton being the favorite, and Conant, Mascenic and Monadnock in hot pursuit. I also said it was hard to figure out who would end up in that fifth MOC qualifying position and I was right on both accounts there. I also said that individually Portsmouth Christian’s Brianna Malone would be the one to beat. So those are my correct predictions so let’s get onto the race.
At the gun, Malone leapt into the lead, holding a 30 meter gap 300 meters into the race. Looking to ensure no one was going with her, she ripped the opening loop, with Newmarket’s Alana Hagen heading up a front pack that included Hopkinton’s Hannah Bennett and Shaylee Murdock, Mascenic’s O’Shea twins, Addie “Annie” Aplers of Newfound, Kylie Aho of Conant, and Molly Ellison of Kearsarge. Lurking further back in the pack were the teammates of Conant, Monadnock, Mascenic and Hopkinton, working to sort out the team standings. At the mile it was extremely tight between Hopkinton and Mascenic, with Conant and Monadnock trailing, but making inroads into those two teams.
Malone was all alone by then, with Ellison and Bennett gamely working to divest themselves from the chase pack which now included the O’Sheas, Murdough and Alpers, with Conant’s Bella Nero looking to bridge the gap as teams crossed the tarmac and headed up to the reservoir where races are often won and lost.
On the return trip after the 2 mile, Malone emerged alone and would run unchallenged to finish in 19:15. Bennett would pull away late from Ellison over the final 1000 meters, with Murdough working hard over the closing meters. Erin O’Shea was able to hold while sister Kaitlin surged late to finish 6th with Alpers right behind. Nero would beat Hagen to the line, with Fall Mountain’s Jenna Fillion rounding out the top ten.
When the dust settled and the live scoring held, Hopkinton would hold a 16 point advantage over Mascenic, with 66 points, clinching another of the many Hopkinton girls championships. Conant would make it close for runnerup, scoring 85 to Mascenic’s 82 points. Monadnock would be fourth with 98 points and unheralded Kearsarge, front by some brave running from Ellison would round out the MOC qualifiers with 132 points.
Division 3 Boys
Much like the girls race, Gandini went right to the front, basically stating with his feet, don’t bother trying to run with me. And the only taker to the challenge was Portsmouth Christian’s Jonas Teeter, though he quickly realized that playing of Gandini wouldn’t be a smart choice and by the mile Gandini was opening a gap while cruising through the course. After that there was quite a gap back to the chase group, made up of Monadnock’s Peyton and Jace Joslyn, Mascenic’s Drew Traffie, Hopkinton’s Ben Daniels and Matt Clarner, and Fall Mountain’s Ben Tetu. At the mile, there were no Trinity guys in the top ten however there was also no question they were leading the race as they had six in the next twenty spots and were heading into the difficult reservoir loop, that as their home course, is very familiar to them. Behind them, it was extremely difficult to determine which team was in second, but apparent that Mascenic boys weren’t having the day their girls team was.
On the return trip from the two mile mark, Gandini had stretched his lead to over a minute on Teeter, stopping the clock at 15:28, a new D3 record. Following in Teeter would be Peyton Joslyn and Tetu, with the Hopkinton duo of Daniels and Clarner sniping Traffie over the last 200 meters. Jace Joslyn would hold into 8th, over Trinity’s Aidan Palmeter, with Mascoma’s Gunner Currier rounding out the top ten.
Trinity would prove to know the backside of MacIntyre well, as they would put their top five in the 21, scoring 61 points, with only Hopkinton, Monadnock and Gilford getting their second runner in before their fifth. Underheralded Gilford would soar above the rest, well back of Trinity with 149 points. Unrecognized Saint Thomas Aquinas would stealth their way into third with 158 points, an incredible feat as they only had one in the top twenty (18th) and none others in the top thirty (but 33, 34, 35, 53.) Fall Mountain would finish fourth (164) with Mascenic capturing the final MOC berth (192.)