The cross country weather gods were smiling down on Belknap county Thursday afternoon as the 42nd
Belmont “Jeri Blair’ Invitational went off under beautiful skies. After a nice recognition of all the seniors of their commitment and leadership to the sport the boys race started off the day. With coaching legend and known old schooler Scott Clark at the helm, the race began with the simple voice commands of “runner’s set!” and “ GO!” John Stark’s Eli Lemire got things moving, going to the front and stringing out the field on the first track loop. However Lebanon’s Chip Silver would take over coming off the track and wouldn’t look back the rest of the race.
While running at the front of the field, he’d never got completely away. Newfound’s Evan Foster would follow most of the race in second, being shadowed by Lemire, his brother Colin Foster, Merrimack Valley’s Michael Reynolds, and InterLakes duo of Ronan Hird and Isaak Nudd-Homeyer.
But the iconic Belmont course will always exact it’s vengeance to those who gamble too much on the first loop. Mascenic would make inroads over the second loop, moving up through the pack almost like it was the plan. In the end, Silver would win over a hard charging Lemire, 18:04 to 18:12. Evan Foster would be in next, with Reynolds followed by Hird followed by Colin Foster. Mascenic’s Dylan Callahan would been in next in seventh, with Nudd Homeyer edging out Mascenic’s Derek Somero for eighth, with Lebanon’s Egert rounding out the top ten.
Merrimack Valley would win this one, scoring 74 points. Lebanon would hold out over Mascenic for second, 89 points to 93 points.
In the girls race, Mascenic wasted no time showing why they are ranked the # 9 team in NH. With the
O’Shea girls going right to the front, the top five spots coming off the track were held by Mascenic. This would stand through the opening 800 meters as the teams headed out on the back loop.
Coming off the the first loop after cresting the 385 meter hill that makes the course one of the toughest in NH, Kaitlin O’Shea had created a ten second gap on sister Erin, with another big gap back to the chase pack that included Newfound’s Ceili Irving and Emerald Briggs, Moultonborough’s Watts, John Stark’s Barriere and Merrimack Valley’s Moser. Stalking this group was the trio from Mascenic. Upon cresting the hill it was obvious that the Vikings had been doing some pacing, and with those duties
completed, it was off to the races.
Coming off the hill for the ultimate time, Kaitlin O’Shea had a commanding lead over sister Erin, breaking the tape at 21:03. Seventy three seconds later sister Erin completed the circuit. Behind her, Mascenic’s Skye Lambert displayed textbook second half running, finishing third and just eight seconds back of O’Shea. Watts would be followed in by Briggs and Barriere, holding off Mascenic’s Emma Schaumloffel. Irving would finish in eighth, ahead of MV’s Moser and Geddes.
Mascenic would win this one, going 1-2-3-7-17-19-33, for 32 points. Newfound would prevail over Merrimack Valley, 74 to 94.