Congratulations to all who competed at the New England Cross Country Championships up in Belfast, Maine! Once again, this proved to be a unique event full of pure competition! Kudos to the Belfast and Maine running communities for staging and pulling off a first class event. Where it lacks for challenging climbs, the course was pure cross country with a soft surface, muddy areas, and tight, but fun turns. Because of this and features like the “Toilet Bowl”, runners have to have a plan. Work too hard the first mile and the competition as well as the course has a way of paying you back over the final mile.
While below is focused on NH runners, Scott Bliss who penned the super comprehensive preview based on Speed Ratings has done a follow up with his recap! It is just as comprehensive and awesome! Follow this LINK to check it out! Thanks Scott!!!
The ladies led off the meet and did the ladies of NH have a day!!! Akin to 2017 when NH had 4 teams in the top 7, Granite State teams placed 3 in the top 5 overall. As forecast, Vermont’s Champlain Valley Union won, but NH #1 Oyster River made them work for it eventually placing 33 points behind CVU (97). Haley Kavanagh and Mackenzie Cook led the Bobcats placing 11th (18:21) and 19th (18:34) overall to collect All-New England honors. As throughout the season, Haley Bezanson, Neely Roy, and Madelyn Cook made up the rest of the scoring 5 for their final score of 130 points. Incredibly they averaged 18:58! This performance, finishing within striking distance of one of the best teams in the nation should finally get Oyster River the regional and national recognition they deserve. As the new kid on the block, they have done everything possible regarding state championships and now New Englands. We are very much looking forward to how they will perform at Nike Cross Regionals in a couple weeks!
Pinkerton also had a big day yesterday showing they belonged in the same conversation as the best teams in the region placing 3rd with 198 total points. At full strength for the first time this championship season, the Trail Blazers were led by Contessa Silva’s 21st All New England finish and freshman Sookie Folsom’s 27th. Isabelle Groulx, Kalisan Marzolf and Gabrielle Bedard grinded it out once again as their scoring five with a team average of 19:22!
Hanover’s Leah Perreard did NH proud fearlessly getting after it immediately racing with national contender and eventual champion Orono’s Ruth White. She settled in quite nicely and battled the best of New England the entire race to place 7th as tops in NH once again. Crossing with a time of 18:08, she led Hanover to 5th place with 247 points. Hanover gave really capped a day for NH which leaves us a bit spoiled. Also scoring for Hanover were Lila Muirhead, Megan Faris, Millie Larrick and Lily Terry.
Individually, it was also a day to look into the very near future as 2 freshmen also garnered All-New England honors. One was a surprise and one was expected. The surprise came from Exeter’s Eli Cross as she kicked to a 16th overall finish in 18:29 right along side D3 Champ, Hopkinton’s Madeleine Lane, who crossed in 18:30.95 and 17th place! D1 Champ, Kelseigh O’Neil also had a great day placing 22nd to earn All-New England in 18:36.
The boys race was full of surprises for NH! Keene’s Sullivan Sturtz, who rode the proverbial wave of momentum to a 4th place finish in 15:41. He ran a superbly intelligent race hanging back at the beginning anonymously in the pack. While the top 2 broke away, Sturtz battled with a handful of runners eventually winning the pack if-you-will. The Hanover boys provided the other surprise as they finished 4th overall as a team. Led by freshman Ben Groves and Andrew Valentino, who placed 49th and 55th respectively, Hanover was the first team not from CT with 255 points. Also scoring for NH’s top team was Ryan Faris, Lucian Gleiser, and Will Parker.
Nashua South finished strong 7th with 282 points. This was hard fought. They were a part of a pack of teams separated by just 23 points as East Lyme CT edged South by only 2 and St Johnsbury VT was 9th with 303 points. This is close by New England Championship standards. South was once gain led by Dante Castellano (34th) and Daniel Byrne (47th) while Andrew Byrne, Matthew Motherway, and Camden Brien also scored.
In addition to Sturtz, Bedford’s Jacob Redman also had one of his best days on a cross country course placing 15th in 15:57. Also earning All-New Englands was BG’s Matthew Giardina as he placed 22nd in 16:05. Obviously not Giardina’s best day but look for him to bounce back at NXR in the next couple weeks.
Congrats to All!!!