Race Videos! Results! Recap! PICS! Interviews! 2023 Black Bear XC Invite!

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Another great day for cross country in NH greeted the over 30 schools which participated in the 2023 Black Bear Invitational at Coe-Brown Northwood Academy. With that, as always, the racing was certainly hot and heavy. Congrats to all athletes and thanks to the CBNA XC community for yet another job well done. Now the race recaps!

Middle School Races

Similar to last year when now Oyster River teammates, Haley Bezanson and Maddie Cook dueled down the final stretch, Heronfield’s Harper Peters and Oyster River Middle School’s Olivia Kavanagh battled right to the tape with Peters leaning for the win! Kavanagh came from way back as Peters and teammates Brady Preneta and Evelyn Marshall set a fast early pace. Over the second half of the race Kavanagh caught the Heronfield trio with her little sister Kayla Kavanagh also making ground. In the end Peters and Olivia Kavanagh were 1-2 with Marshall and Preneta finishing 3-4 and Kayla Kavanagh placing 5th.

Obviously the team title was also tight. Kavanagh sisters saw their teammate Rina Hen place 6th; however, Hampton Academy decided to throw their hat in the ring as Hannah Curtin and Pammy Valhouli rolled through in 7th and 8th. Deerfield’s Ani Purtinton placed a gutsy 9th with another ORMS Beatrix Howey-Clark rounding out the top 10. Team scores saw ORMS edge Heronfield by 1 point 39-40 with Hampton placing a close 3rd with 51 points.

The boys race was set from the gun as Academy for Science and Design’s Ethan Fischer and Wentworth’s

Patrick Youngs took off from the field immediately. Pushing all the way through the course, Fischer would never quite break Youngs as he came through with the win in 10:33 (fastest since 2018) and Youngs crossing in 10:42. Barrington Middle’s James Travis gave chase early and stayed super strong throughout the hills and trails to cross in 11:27 holding off a closing Samuel Youngs of Wentworth, who crossed in 4th in 11:38.

Northwood’s Broden Cox would win the chase pack crossing in 12:11 and then the team competition began as Oyster River Middle School’s Everett Tardiff and Christopher Herd placed 7th and 8th respectively. Rye Junior would counter with Ben Pearl and Bobby Flynn placing 8th and 9th. Barrington’s Mateo Ferguson would round out the top 10 in 12:46. Similar to the girls race, the team score came down to 1 point. Oyster River Middle would take this one over a spirited Rye Junior to complete the sweep of the MS Races. Barrington Middle was 3rd just 11 points behind.

JV Races

Champlain Valley VT made their return to the Black Bear and their presence was felt with the Girls Junior Varsity race as they won with 39 points over Hanover’s 46 points. CVU’s Isabella Gravina-Budis won with a clocking of 22:04. PEA’s Julia Malysia placed 2nd in 22:11 with Hanover’s Eve McLaughlin 3rd in 22:23. PEA placed third as a team with 71 points.

JV Boys saw Phillips Exeter take 5 of the top 6 places to score 16 points for the win. They were led by Rex Bedwick (17:44) and Michael Zhu (17:47). Phillips of Andover’s Luke Francis placed 5th to break up the sweep. Hanover’s Oliver Greenway was top NH runner placing 7th and leading his team to the runner up finish.

Varsity Races

Prior to this race, Champlain Valley VT were the heavy favorites as they are ranked #3 in the northeast and won the Manchester Invite rather comfortably. However, they ran without their top 2 low sticks and still showed how strong they are placing third. This is did not diminish the competition as Phillips Exeter, and

our top 2 NH teams, Oyster River and Hanover were at full strength.

The race began rather conservatively as prerace favorite Hanover’s Leah Perreard hung back the first mile. She has raced superbly this season, with Manchester Invite being her only non-win (she still ran super fast BTW) being to New England Champ Ruth White of Maine. At the mile, she started to let it rip and opened up the lead which would stand up as she broke the tape in 18:53. PEA’s Daria Ivanova wouldn’t let Perreard get out of sight as she finished within 10 seconds in 19:02. Oyster River’s Mackenzie Cook rolled to 3rd place in 19:12 holding off the freshman, Madeleine Lane of Hopkinton (19:15). Tenley Nelson was next in 19:25 giving PEA two finishers in the top 5, but Hanover would counter with Lila Muirhead placing 7th. CVU’s top runner on the day Lydia Donahue placed 8th with Dover’s Anique Poulin, who is looking more and more comfortable in XC, placing 9th in 19:57.

But then Oyster River had a counter punch of their own as Haley Bezanson and Neely Roy placed 10th and 11th respectively. They would seal the deal 24 seconds later as Madelyn Cook placed 15th and Haley Kavanagh 16th to complete their scoring with 55 points. Hanover would once again come within 10 points to place 2nd with 65 points. CVU totaled 83 points with PEA 4th with 93.

The boys race showed the word is out on how to tackle the quite challenging CBNA XC course – stay conservative for the first mile or so. Well, we guess 5:03 is conservative for a couple of the best runners in the country as PEA’s Byron Grevious and Phillips Academy’s Tam Gavenas came through the mile in 5:03 or so with only Coe-Brown’s Jamie Lano racing gutsy-smart right with them. The chase pack was comprised of Hanover’s Lucien Gleiser, Phillips Academy’s Max Huang, CVU’s Daniel Knight, PEA’s Jack Hutchins, Portsmouth Christian’s Jonas Teeter, Sanborn’s Jake Pitre and Gilford’s Boceill Howland-Vlahakis.

The trio of Grevious, Gavenas and Lano would roll together through the 2 mile mark in around 10:05. That’s right, looks as if they negative split the tough 2nd mile. Over the next 800, Grevious would make his move gaining a few steps on Gavenas while Lano was trying to keep contact entering the single track with about 1k remaining. In the end, Grevious held off the hard charging Gavenas to take the win with both athletes clocking 15:40. Last year Grevious won in 15:29. Lano’s efforts paid off as he crossed in 16:04. Huang was 4th in 16:21, Knight 5th, Gleiser 6th, Hutchins 7th, Teeter and Pitre battled for 8th, while this year’s freshman phenom on the boys’ side Howland Vlahakis rounded out the top 10 in 16:49.

Team wise, it was Phillips Academy winning in their Black Bear debut clipping PEA by just 2 point 61-63. Hanover was top NH team placing 3rd with 95 points to CVU’s 103 points. Host school CBNA was in the hunt this week as they placed just 5 points back in 5th.

Congrats to all!!!

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