For more than ten years, Mascenic has been traveling to the hamlet of Hinsdale, located as far as you can go into the southwest corner of the state (the Connecticut River is right behind the school and Vermont right beyond that). Most years sees us trying to battle not just the opposing athletes but the high temperatures and humidity as well. While humid, due to the rain that fell all day, the overcast skies kept the temperatures at bay. Not to mention catching the nighthawks on their yearly 10,000 mile migration to South America.
The depth of competition waxes and wanes at the Classic, where sometimes D1 Keene participates, or schools from across the river, but while the total numbers might be lacking, the strength at the front of the races didn’t lack. We use it as a bit of a measuring stick, something we can compare to last year’s times, as well as a solid early season workout. With the two mile course being a repeated, mostly grass mile loop, you get some good insight into where the athletes are competitively amongst each other.
As is our custom at the classic, I ask my squads to go out at a controlled effort, partially to allow them to work together as a group through the first mile, and then to let them “open up” over the second lap and see how much they can “make up” on the second loop. The idea is to get them to learn to run controlled, and be in a position to make moves when the racing really cranks up.
This year’s event saw Hinsdale, the home school, along with Monadnock and ourselves, making the journey along Route 119 along the banks of the Ashuelot. Considering I have great friendships with Glenn Hammett and Clint Joslyn, the coaches, I was going to have a good time regardless of outcomes. But we did come to get some work done.
Things got going with the girls, with my team getting off the line pretty quick before settling into 7
minute effort. Summer Bentley of Monadnock was first through the mile loop, followed by a pack of Mascenic rolling through in just under 6:50 pace. Once that corner was made, you could see the acceleration among the pack of five and the question was could Bentley stay out.
That question was answered 6 minutes later as Bentley ran alone down the long finishing straight, maintaining her lead through the finish in 12:52 for two miles. Erin O’Shea would finish first for Mascenic, stopping the clock 16 seconds behind Bentley. Mascenic would put the next four in, with their #6 and #7 finishing in ninth and tenth overall for some good team running.
Two minutes after the final girl finished, the boys were off. In a different reflection of the girls race, the top Monadnock boys got off the line quick, followed by a pack of Mascenic and Hinsdale. Monadnock’s Peyton Joslyn established himself as the early leader, with teammates Carlton Lampinen and Jace Joslyn not far behind. These three would lead through the halfway point, with Mascenic packing in together with Hindale’s top guy and Monadnock’s #4.
As the front of the race came back around the field loop, there were two athletes vying for the lead as Lampinen had come up to challenge Peyton Joslyn. There would be a fight to the finish with the superior leg speed of Joslyn winning out, 10:27 to 10:30. Jace Joslyn would follow in 11:16. And while Mascenic would put the next three in, placing #4, #5, and #6, (along with #8 and #10), Monadnock would have the upperhand in this one by taking the top three spots.
All in all, while some people might think, taking the hour bus ride for a three team preseason scrimmage might be a waste of a good end of summer Friday night, I wouldn’t miss our yearly migration as it checks off all the boxes for us. It eases us into racing season. It allows me to assess where my athletes are in their training and fitness. It gives the athletes a sense of their place on the team. And it gives us a sense of where we might take the season.
And we get to do it among friends.