Manchester Invitational 9-23-17

Nice Pack At The Mile!

Nice Pack At The Mile!

Mitchell's Kick!

Mitchell's Kick!

It was a HOT, HUMID day at the great Manchester Invitational, one of our two largest meets of the year. MV was very cool under our super-awesome tent though, easily the best tent at the meet. Also, thanks to some super parents, we had far and away the most and best food. If anyone spent any money on anything besides Lucas’s cupcakes, they didn’t need to. Lucas, by the way, squandered that money on a slushy. Maybe the only food purchased from the meet?

MacNeill To The Lead!

MacNeill To The Lead!

 

An open race started the day, a new event for Manchester. Noelle’s mom April and MRen and DRen’s sister, Mini-Manch. Champion Sophia, represented MV quite well, placing only 7 spots apart. Coaches Sandu and Irving couldn’t race “because of the early start”, but word on the trail has it that next year there will be a coaches race at the end. A new excuse will be forthcoming. Next up were the freshmen races, with no representation from MV. Why? Manchester is the site of the State Divisional Meet and a great opportunity to preview and race the course. Also, the “Frosh” race is only 2.1 miles long. So the first race with MV representation was the girls JV C race, with MacNeill. With a super lonely starting position, MacNeill surged to the lead (!) briefly going up the hill before settling in for the duration. With the good start, MacNeill ran her second-best time of the year! In the Boys JV C race, Lucas and Mitchell represented the Pride. Lucas surprised everyone by coming out of the hills ahead of Mitchell, it was only later that we found out the reason - cupcakes. The quicker you finish, the quicker you get cupcakes. Both boys took advantage of the still cool-ish weather to run great races.

 

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In the largest race of the day, David, Andrew, and Ryan raced 350 other boys to very solid finishes. David especially, with his trademark roar, ran himself on to next Saturday’s varsity team with the 6th-fastest MV time of the day. Following a break for the Small School races, the MV girls, sporting Manch-traditional french braids, took to the line. By now the heat and humidity had reached a peak, and PR’s were pretty much out the window. It seems like we have a cooler-weather team, which is fine, since the end of October is when it matters for real. Despite the heat, Emma got out to a courageous start, and went on to lead the girls as she has in every other race this season, besting her 2016 finish by 25 places. Highlighting the day, however, was Madisyn, getting out to a more aggressive start and eventually finishing the the #2 girl on the day, with a PR time. Who runs a PR at Manchester in the heat?!? Only crazy people. A sign of greatness to come! Noelle, Lauren, and Tristan finished in that order, surviving the heat to race another day, while Diandra nearly nipped Maizie at the line with solid times, despite the heat.

 

The last race of the day, and the most anticipated, with 18 state-ranked schools from around New England. David got out to a great start, perhaps too great as the heat and pace caught up with him a bit by the end. Despite some discouragement, he still finished as the #3 fastest DII boy of the day in 18th overall. MRen was next, representing DRen well on the official video (they mistook Matt for Dave) with a great kick. Matt L had a solid race as well, perhaps suffering some of the same fate as Dave, but still getting under 19 on a HOT day. Mason and Ethan cruised in just over 20 (again), Ethan in big ole’ clonker shoes since the spikes wouldn’t come out of his flats. Christian and Connor rounded out the top 7 for MV.

 

A huge thanks again for all the fan support, the food, and the nearly 400 pictures uploaded. Check them out!

 

Second Home Meet 9-19-2017

The Boys Race Gets Underway

The Boys Race Gets Underway

Emma Toys With Second Place

Emma Toys With Second Place

It feels like Hurricane Jose has been circling around in the Atlantic forever! Today it threatened our meet, but decided it would stay far enough away so we could have a nice dry meet. Thanks Jose! Second home meet for the girls, and the first for the boys, and very successful on both fronts, as the girls took home 3rd of 7 and the boys placed 2nd, only missing the win by 8 points. MV defended the home course with individual wins for both teams as well.

 

After running a very smart, patient race, Emma pulled away over the last mile to win her first high school XC race. Or, as we describe wins now to keep DRen from building his ego up too much, she placed “not last”. Not only did she win, she ran her best t(by 2 seconds) on the home course, solidifying her 5th All-Time Ravine Course spot. Behind her, Not-As-Lo-I-Run continued her comeback tour, placing as MV’s #2 for the first time since meet #1, and ran her best time of 2017. Just a bit back was Noelle, trading places with Lo over the final half mile. Rounding out the scoring 5 was Tristan with a solid race, and Madisyn with another huge PR. Now if she would just start faster! Sky’s the limit!

 

F.B. Ethan Kicks For Home

F.B. Ethan Kicks For Home

In the boys race a Trinity runner served as the first ½ mile rabbit. The MV pack of DRen, MRen, and Matt L (needs a nickname) reeled him in over time to lead a decent size pack around the course. Much to Kellen’s chagrin, DRen could be heard talking as he came down into the Ravine…”get serious, DRen, it’s a race!” Little did she or everyone else know that DRen hadn’t actually started racing yet, because when the knees finally started lifting with a half mile to go it was lights out for everyone else as he cruised to his 4th “not last” placing in the last 4 meets. Good thing his time was a bit pokey (just tempo-ing), because it would have been a running-up-the-points kind of win if he was flat out. MRen and Matt L each finished in the top 7, while Mason again held down the 4th spot, but only barely as Flat Brim Ethan almost caught him and the 20-minute barrier at the end. Whoo boy, this is getting exciting! If you’re wondering where our normal 5th place boy was, by the way, let’s just say that due to the non-padded nature of bathroom floors they are not the best place to perform aerial gymnastics. Or so the rumor says.

 

PS - MV's Top Ten Ravine Course list welcomes Matt L. into 9th place. Congratulations!

 

Bobcat Invitational, 9-16-2017

MRen Launches.

MRen Launches.

“Out Of The Shadows”

The "Patriots" Start the Girls JV Race

The "Patriots" Start the Girls JV Race

With an hour extra to sleep in, the day started off smoothly with everyone showing up on time, even the coaches! Another day of racing, and another humid day awaited at the Bobcat Invitational. Having the benefit of racing the course earlier in the season, the team was able to relax, study the hay bale hurdle, and be embarrassed by coach Irving’s rapping. Our second Invite of the year, the Bobcat Invite immediately enshrined itself in race lore with the hay bale hurdle and actual muskets to start the races. The midrace “front flip” in the JV race is the stuff of legend. Lucky for MV, Coach Sandu was one of the best steeplechasers in the country and was able to impart wisdom to the runners, and everyone made it over without any major calamities.

 

DRen Makes His Move

DRen Makes His Move

In a gender-reversed race, the JV boys led things off with (gasp) a full scoring team! Most of the runners ran season or all-time PR’s, and once again David Q. won the finish line roaring contest (although race photos show that it actually probably scared the runner next to him into going even faster!). The strategy may need to be tweaked a bit. The boys placed 12th of 15, not too shabby!

 

The girls JV race was a bit understaffed, with only 2 girls participating for MV. They persevered nevertheless, each running solid, if not PR, times.

 

The boys varsity race is where the magic happened. Despite almost winning on the same course two weeks previous and winning the Great Glen Invite a week earlier, David R (DRen) was not even mentioned in the race preview as a favorite. Unsurprisingly to those on his team, DRen went right to the lead pack, bided his time, and gapped the field over the last mile to establish a new course record (his second) and win by 15 seconds “going away”,  as they say. To add to that, the two runners behind him are not normal DII runners - one is a transfer and new to NH this year, and the other is a Tilton School athlete (they look eerily similar too, check out the race photos). The next returning DII runner was 30 seconds back. That’s a win. As a poster on Newhampshirecrosscountry.com wrote, “Welcome MV’s David Reynolds out of the shadows”. Overshadowed by his brothers fantastic post-race interview was Matt R (MRen) and his hurdle form. No joke, in many people’s opinion MRen had the best hurdle form in the race. Could he be the next great MV steepler?!? Also, and more importantly, race video allows you to see your progression, forward or backward, throughout the race. With about ¾ of a mile to go, MRen was holding steady in 16th place. By the time he crossed the finish he had shot up to 10th place, showing no mercy even to the racer crawling towards the line. Stone Cold MRen, aka “I don’t even talk to you”. Matt L was again MV’s third, inching ever closer to the elusive 18:00 barrier. Speaking of barrier’s, Mason PR’d by over a minute and is now within striking distance of 20:00. 5 under 20, that’s the goal! The battle for the fifth and final scoring position was tight, undecided until “flat brim” Ethan tore away on the final straightaway to eke out a personal victory over Connor, both of whom were under 21:00. Christian returned from illness to run a brave race, and holy moly, that kick! Kick of the Day goes to Ethan. Overall the boys placed a surprising 6th of 19 teams, the best finish by an MV boys team since 2012.

 

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The sun stayed hidden just long enough to get in the final race of the day, the girls varsity. Despite still being hammered with illness and injury, most of the normal varsity raced, with Kaitlyn resting but taking some magnificent photos (check out her low angle hay bale shots!). Emma and Noelle again led the way for the girls, with Lauren making a comeback to place third on the team. Lo, the secret weapon! Maizie, despite not yet being at 100%, ran a spectacular race to run (I think) her all-time PR. Not too far behind was Madisyn, who is still figuring out this whole 5k thing. A bit of a more aggressive start for her, and look out! The girls finished a decent 12th of 17, but more importantly started to look like they may be on the mend. Keeping a low profile in September is the way to do it, it is the end of October that matters!

 

Sidehill Wampus, aka John Stark 9-12-17

Through The Traffic Cone

Through The Traffic Cone

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The second Tuesday duel meet of the season means one thing...John Stark, the home of the Sidehill Wampus! Not an easy course to run, lots of side hills (hence the wampus), and usually hot weather. We approach it as a training and learning opportunity, and try to have as much fun as one can racing 5k’s over lumpy terrain.

 

The girls race was a little depleted for MV, as several girls rested tired bodies for future races. Emma and Noelle stuck to the pre-race plan and ran together, steadily moving up through the field to eventually finish in 5th and 6th place. Maizie returned from her brief race absence to run probably the race of the day, finishing 3rd for MV and only a minute behind the top two. Madisyn cruised in for a solid 4th for MV, while Diandra ran to her best team finish ever in her long tenure with the program, scoring the all-important 5th spot. Also running for the girls was Kaitlyn, bravely toughing out three miles that most others would not have attempted, and MacNeill, racing to get back to her book. The girls placed second overall out of the 5 teams entered, not a bad showing!

 

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The boys, slightly healthier overall than the girls, ran almost a full contingent of runners. Matt, Matt, and David also tried to pack run for the first couple of miles, although Matt R. got a little anxious and ended up running about 10 feet ahead for the first two miles. After reeling in three over-anxious Trinity runners and a couple other random kids, David took the lead for good and won easily, his second win in a row. Matt R. finished third, while Matt L. finished a solid 7th overall. For the final two MV spots it was a battle between a rookie 9th-grader (Ethan) and a seasoned senior (Mason). Coming onto the track Mason held a slight advantage, only to be passed on the track by Ethan. Not to be outdone, Mason demonstrated patience and unleashed a David Quinn-esque kick to take 4th for MV, with Ethan 1 tick back, 18th and 19th overall. Don’t look now, but that gap between 3rd and 4th/5th is starting to close!

 

Many thanks to Lauren for taking most of today’s pictures, and to Emma for loaning the high quality phone and uploading them!

 

Great Glen @ Mt. Washington 9-09-2017

Start Of Boys Varsity Race

Start Of Boys Varsity Race

David Just Before Striking Off For The Win

David Just Before Striking Off For The Win

Always make sure your “early morning” alarm is actually set for the AM, and not the PM! That was the lesson Coach Irving learned (again) early Saturday morning. On a good note for everyone else, no one else had to feel any guilt for being late - nice job being on time team! After an uneventful trip up through the notch and a brief hunt for the new starting location of the race, we arrived for yet another beautiful day at the Great Glen trails at Mt. Washington. With five races on tap for the day, good weather is always a great bonus!

 

Start Of Girls Varsity

Start Of Girls Varsity

Diandra, MacNeill, and Ashley got things going in the girls JV race. Highlighting the race was Diandra’s strong run, although upon crossing the line the time sparked some confusion. How could she looks so good and run so...apparently slow? Soon enough our suspicions were shown to be well-founded as the course was GPS measured by two coaches and found to be 3.48 miles long, or almost 3 minutes longer than a 5k, depending on your pace. Great Glen had become Greater Glen! After converting the times, it turns out Diandra had run a season PR by 2 minutes, good for 6th on the day for MV. Another highlight was MacNeill’s aggressive finish - head to head with a girl from Plymouth. Despite the fact that the Plymouth girl finished apparently ahead of her, MacNeill’s name was written first on the results sheet. Nice kick! The beauty of cross country made itself apparent at that moment, as the two girls fought tooth and elbow to be the first across the finish line, but they had no sooner crossed than they both laughed and embraced. Instant best friends - just add 3.48 miles of hilly racing!

 

Ethan, Lucas, Andrew, and Mitchell represented MV in the boys JV race. In one of the surprises of the day, Ethan battled to 10th place and a t-shirt award. Not only that, Ethan ran the 4th fastest time of day for MV. A second highlight was Lucas running a converted 29:28, his second fastest time ever! That’s a great start to the year for both!

 

Tristan Kicking Home!

Tristan Kicking Home!

Next up was the girls varsity, with Emma, Noelle, Lauren, Tristan, Kaitlyn, and Madisyn representing the team. Emma continued leading the team with a very strong race, earning a top ten finish and a t-shirt in the process. Maybe she was inspired by the presence of the Grandparents York? I suppose they’ll need to keep coming - some girls have lucky socks, Emma has lucky grandparents! Although as we all know, luck has nothing to do with success in distance running, right team (I sure hope you all ran on Sunday!)? Despite stopping to admire the beauty of Mt. Washington at one point in the race, Noelle also turned in her best time of the year so far, with Lauren not too far behind. Madisyn continued discovering that her limits are still to be reached as she ran a PR (converted) and finished as MV’s 4th girl. Overall, the girls placed 6th (we think, as the race directors “only scored the teams that looked like they had a chance”. Thanks for the inspiration!).

 

The boys varsity was the 4th of 5 races on the day. Matt X 2 and David wasted no time getting to the front of the pack, throwing it down with racers from all three divisions, including perennial NH favorites Pinkerton (although not this year). By the second mile David was free and clear of everyone except a runner from Nashua North (who was 18th at MOC’s last year, by the way), although he was clearly just biding his time. Sure enough, David pulled away in the last ¾ mile to win by over 20 seconds and establish the course record for Greater Glen. Not to be outdone in the strong finishing category, Matt R. outkicked a Kingswood runner to snag 7th and the fourth “Top Ten” t-shirt for MV. Despite running out of some of his fuel over the last mile, Matt L. ran a huge PR (again, converted) to finish just outside of the top 20. Connor and Mason rounded out the scoring for MV, while David Q. provided spectators with superb entertainment with his roaring finish.

 

Sandu For The Win, Defending His Title!

Sandu For The Win, Defending His Title!

Closing out the races was the Open Race, featuring defending champ Coach Sandu, Coach Irving, Kaitlyn’s dad, and Noelle’s mom (good turnout!). Coach Sandu easily defended his title but did NOT win a shirt. Is that even fair? Coach Irving successfully reeled in the runner ahead of him, yet apparently forgot about the last ½ mile and couldn’t finish the job, finishing in 6th. The parent’s ran great as well, although details are unfortunately not available at this time.

 

A final highlight was provided by the boys chorus, a new addition to the team. They serenaded the patrons at Friendly’s as well as the bus driver. Despite initial rejection from the girls team (“they actually think they’re good!”), the talented musicians eventually won over the girls and even agreed to the request of “Sweet Caroline”. This ended poorly for the girls, however, as their screeching of the chorus resulted in a swift braking of the bus and a stern reprimand from the driver (although not the usual “don’t make me turn this bus around” or “do you need to get out and walk?” that normally results from a swift-braking driver).

 

I’m being told I have other chores to do today...conversions and results will be added soon!

CONVERSIONS - 3.48 miles to 5k

 

D. Reynolds -         16:28            E. York -          21:41

M. Reynolds -         17:25            N. Colarusso -     23:40

M. Lyle -          18:14            L. Rouse -         24:20

E. Dodenhoff -     20:38            M. Garrity -         25:48

C. Butt -          20:39            T. Beyer -         26:15

Ma. Graham -         20:58            D. Perron -         27:08

D. Quinn -         21:38            K. Covell -         27:59

J. Barrington -     22:47            M. Matthews -     30:51

A. Owens -         25:14            A. Lacourse -         44:26

L. Hartshorn -         29:28

Mi. Graham -         30:05

 

The Great Thunder Meet 9-05-17

Maddy Crankin' The Final Mile

Maddy Crankin' The Final Mile

Girls results are attached, minus the scores. MV won with 30 points, Lebanon 2nd with 43, and Plymouth 3rd with 53.

 

Mason Looking Forward to a Race...

Mason Looking Forward to a Race...

We crossed our fingers, we knocked on wood...but the Old Man snored. The boys will forever remember this race as The Race That Wasn’t. Or, if you’re Mitchell, your first victory. Word on the field is that he technically won the race, as he was the first to cross the finish line. A course record to boot (even if it is the only time that course will ever be run), which is something not everyone can claim! The girls, on the other hand, were either lucky or unlucky to be able to get their race in, which can also have an alternate name having to do with humidity. At times it probably felt more like a 5k swim through a hot tub. Yet they prevailed, and evened their win/loss duel meet record (not that we keep records) with a double win.

 

The Forgotten Shirt

The Forgotten Shirt

In the race that was, Emma was again our top finisher, fighting for the lead over the first ½ of the course before coming in second. Noelle was again number two, but in a twist, Kaitlyn moved all the way up to finish as our third runner and 6th overall. Go Kellen! Maizie, never a heat and humidity runner, persevered for her second straight great race to place 7th (!) overall, while Lauren toughed one out for the team to take the all-important 5th team spot and close out the scoring with 5 in the top ten. Worth a mention was the 11th-placer, Madisyn, who steadily moved up from about 25th in the first mile to the aforementioned 11th. A huge amount of her forward motion was due to her attack of the hill - crazy! Just ask Tristan, who was resting a sore leg and had to leap out of the way to avoid being steamrolled by freight train Garrity. It must of been the smiley faces I painted on the hill - a Lebanon girl actually thanked me (as she was ascending) for drawing them. How’d she know it was me??

 

Thank you to the mystery photographer for uploading some photos - I was going to only have a photo of Andrew’s forgotten t-shirt, which I’ll probably add anyway because it’s a good shirt.

Oyster River 9-01-17

Results Girls, Page One

Results Girls, Page Two

Results Boys, Page One (photo)

Results Boys, Page Two (photo)

A quick note: I only have pictures from the girls race at the time of this posting - check the SmugMug link Monday for the boys pictures!

 

Noelle and Emma charge the first hill

Noelle and Emma charge the first hill

The first meet of 2017 saw us at a brand new course - the first race ever held on it in fact. Site of the upcoming Bobcat Invitational, the course was a true cross country course with woods, fields, roots, and rocks. Not a fast course by any means, but an honest one to be sure. Beautiful cool weather to boot; all in all a fantastic day of cross country.

 

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Up against two of the top teams in the division, the girls were looking to just run a solid workout race and gain some experience. Emma led the way for MV and, despite some difficulty dealing with the “sidehill wampus”, more than held her own. A hard charging Lo-(I)-Run finished second for MV, while Noelle cruised across third. Fourth on the team went to...TRISTAN!!, with a very good start to the year, while rounding out the scoring varsity was Maizie, fresh off her high altitude training. One more highlight was rookie Madisyn, who, while outdone by her first-place goat at the Hopkinton Fair earlier in the day, still is able to hold her head high on the return to the barn with a fantastic first race, particularly in the second half.

 

Next up were the boys, facing off against the projected top team in the division, Oyster River, and an up-and-coming Portsmouth team. David, and MattMatt led the way for MV, and while MattMatt eventually became Matt          Matt, the top three all placed near the top of the race and raced to sub-19 times. David defeated two top-ten returners to place second, only finishing behind a transfer from the midwest by a second or two. Importantly, David broke up what would have otherwise been a perfect score of 15 for Oyster River. Following Matt R. and Matt L. was a significant gap that we need to work on, but at the end of the gap Conner raced in, dependable as always. The race for the 5th and final scoring spot came down to a kick between two XC rookies, Christian and Jake. Despite losing ground to Jake over the final mile, Christian was able to muster a fantastic kick over the final 100 meters to seal the all-important 5th spot. With so many newcomers in the 5th-10th spots, expect that gap to third to drop quickly. That’s the key to our season!

Division II Championships

Saturday morning dawned drizzly and cold - but came with a special present in a form of a spectacular sunrise accompanied with a double rainbow. A good omen? Only time would tell. All athletes arrived healthy, with the exception of Taylor, our #4 boy, out with a knee injury. No colds or flus, always one of the biggest worries on State Meet weekend. As we rolled towards Derryfield, athletes slept, listened to music, or ate peanut butter toast (Tristan!) in preparation for the big race. The Divisional meets have a rolling schedule each year, 2016 was DII’s turn to go first over the damp course. MV arrived first, claimed our spot, then proceeded to watch Emma’s hands turn blue from the cold. Trooper that she is, she still managed to oversee the braiding of the hair, although not to the tightness level that we witnessed on Pinketon’s team later! As the boys played the “sneak the card into someone’s jacket” game and the girls braided, the day started to dry out and warm up - just a little, but it was enough.

 

The Pack. Emma, Tristan, Noelle, and Lauren in the First Mile

The Pack. Emma, Tristan, Noelle, and Lauren in the First Mile

The girls, set to go off at 10:00, set off on their warm-up. Coach Irving had attended a teacher workshop the previous Tuesday and learned (among other non-retained things) that even fake laughing increases your dopamine levels. So the girls laughed awkwardly all around Manchester. No worries, they looked great in their new jackets! When it finally came time to head to the starting line the team was reminded of all the parents, teammates, alumni, and other friends and family who had chosen to attend the XC meet rather than the rescheduled football game back home. Determined to run their best for all these people, themselves, and to accomplish their shoot-the-moon goal set at camp of qualifying for MOC’s, the gun fired and they were off.The girls ran, and boy, did they run great. Nothing too spectacular, Tristan was the only one with a PR (of 1 second), while Lauren tied hers and Kristie ran her best time at Derryfield, but a very solid run. Now it was time to wait. On the NHCC website they were picked to finish 8th or 9th (disclaimer, Irving wrote that preview, but it was very factual, although of course he knew that MV had a shot if the stars aligned), but only the top 6 qualify for MOC’s. After Kristie picked up her 5th-place medal, the girls huddled for power and...6TH PLACE, MERRIMACK VALLEY!! They absolutely had the loudest scream/cheer of any team announced, even the winner. It’s not every year that training works out so perfectly, but this year nothing could have gone better. Run your best at the end, and that’s what the girls did!

Matt Rounds the Final Turn

Matt Rounds the Final Turn


On to 10:40, and the boys start. A little short-handed without Taylor, they none the less took to the line in good spirits. A tenth place finish was the modified shoot the moon goal (at camp it was 15th), but again, everything would have to work out perfectly. When the gun started, the boys got off to a great start, particularly Matt R., running right up alongside and even ahead of his brother around 35th place. As the race progressed, Matt slid up in the standings, then back a little, while David picked off runners all along the course. Despite having a slight off day, David still managed to place 21st and continue his season for one more week. Matt had a super sub-17 run, not enough to qualify for MOC’s, but his best race of the year anyhow. Dylan turned in a 1-second PR as MV’s third runner, while Matt L. ran out of his head to finish as our 4th guy and come close to the 19 minute barrier. He is destined for great things next year! River, Ryan, and Connor all came agonizingly close to going sub-20, but unfortunately the course was just a tad too long. Connor did run yet another huge PR despite heading up the start hill in practically last place. That’s good, patient running! In the end, the boys finished a very respectable 15th place to achieve our pre-season goal. With 4 of the top boys returning next year, plus Taylor, top 10 looks like a good place to start with goals at next year’s campfire! On to MOC’s!

Middle School Championships!

Ethan at the Start of the Middle School DII Championships

Ethan at the Start of the Middle School DII Championships

Sophia Runs Her Way to a Top-10 Finish at the Middle School DII Championship

Sophia Runs Her Way to a Top-10 Finish at the Middle School DII Championship

Merrimack Valley Middle School attended the DII State Meet in Londonderry today, while MVHS feeder school Andover ran at the DIII Championships, held at Coe-Brown in Northwood. Both teams had successful outings, highlighted by award winning performances of Sophia Reynolds of Andover and Sophia Rebenciuc of Merrimack Valley. 

Samantha Cruises to a Fantastic 26th Place at thse Middle School DII Championship

Samantha Cruises to a Fantastic 26th Place at thse Middle School DII Championship

Sophia of Andover entered the race as one of the top seeds, courtesy of her 2nd place finish in the Small School Championships a year ago. She ran in that position for the entire race (won by Addie Cox of Northfield) until she was caught by two girls with 80 meters to go down the track. Channelling her inner Kristie Schoffield, she unleashed a scorching kick, flying home to runner-up position and melting the track in the process. Given that Addie graduates to high school next year and Sophia is a 7th-grader...who's the favorite going into 2017?!

Over in Londonderry, Coach Rebenciuc's daughter Sophia was having the race of her life. Only a 6th-grader, she blazed the 2-mile course to finish 10th and earn a plaque. Not too far behind her was another 6th-grader, Samantha Kimball, who showed up to race as she placed an amazing 26th. Highlighting the boys race was Ethan Dodenhoff, who finished 33rd out of the over 100 runners entered. A wonderful note about Ethan, last year in his first year running he finished 157th out of 158 runners at the same race. What an amazing and inspirational improvement!

Results:

Girls DII Championships

Boys DII Championships

Girls DIII Championships

Boys DIII Championships

MVXC Cap. Area Stats

This is the post for MV-specific stats from the 2016 Capital Area meet. If you are looking for the general write-up, go down to the next blog post!

 

What a heck of day! To give you an idea, 5 of the top 6 MV girls times on the Home Course (since 2012) were set today, while on the boys side 2 new entries were made, including a new school record! The conditions were perfect, the training has been great, things are looking good for next week!

 

Team statistics: the girls placed second of 12, almost surprising Concord for the win. The boys just missed a top-5 placing with 6th place out of 14. The girls team-time average (20:58) takes over the #1 spot by over a minute, and ranks only second all-time over all variations of MV’s course, behind only the 2009 team that missed winning DII’s by 4 points. The boys also did well, running their fastest team-time of the year (18:42) and putting themselves 5th on the current course list and 8th all-time! For the girls, Kristie set a new course record, while Lauren moves up to second on the Ravine Course (behind Kristie), Noelle takes over third, Emma moves up to fifth, while Tristan moves up to sixth.


On the boys side, David broke 17 for the first time, and in doing so broke Walker’s Ravine Course School Record. Matt ran fast enough to jump onto the list in 8th position. A note on the lists, we had a very strong boys team in 2012, which is why it’s harder to make the boys list than the girls. The stronger girls teams were back around 2008/2009, although this year’s edition is right on their heels.

Capital Area Cross Country Championships

MV's Matt Reynolds Kicks For Home

MV's Matt Reynolds Kicks For Home

With sporadic rainfall, cool temperatures, and a light breeze, the conditions for the 40th running of the Capital Area Cross Country Championships were perfect. 16 teams representing all three divisions and two private school leagues gathered to decide who were the top teams and individuals in the Capital region.

 

Willow and the Masses at the Start

Willow and the Masses at the Start

The race started off with a combined JV race for the first time in several years, allowing for greater participation and providing the varsity races with a true championship feel. The combined team from Concord placed first, followed by Kearsarge and then Bow. Individually as is often the case, the JV races predicted the stronger varsity teams, with Colin Conery of Concord winning in a time of 17:40, followed closely by his teammate David Cook in 17:42. Kearsarge had the next two finishers, with Grant Croft in 18:20 and Trevor Pauling in 18:23. To round out the top five it was back to Concord with Joseph O’Brien, who crossed the line in 18:40. For the girls, Concord again had the top finisher, Sarah Zarakotas who finished in 21:45. Concord also had the rest of the top five, with Lauren Soper (22:24), Maggie Whitcomb (22:34), Kat Jepson ((22:34), and Heather Deacon (22:38).

 

Kristie Going For Win #3!

Kristie Going For Win #3!

In traditional Cap. Area reverse-gender order, the boys were the first varsity race to toe the line. Despite placing second by one point two years in a row to St. Paul’s, Concord was the big favorite due to their number one ranking in NHXC. It was evident from early on in the race that not only was Concord going to win, they were going to win big. James Wilkes and Forest MacKenzie ran side-by-side through the mile, trailed by David Reynolds of Merrimack Valley, with four more Concord runners just behind him. By the second mile Oliver Spencer had about bridged the gap to his front-running teammates and it was 1-2-3-5-6-7 Concord, with Reynolds gamely holding down a top-5 spot. Simon Doneski of Hopkinton, Mason Benedict of Kearsarge, and Ian Daly of Inter-Lakes packed up not far behind. Rounding the soccer field for the final kick home Wilkes and MacKenzie were clear of pursuers and would go on to take the top two positions, 16:35 for Wilkes and 16:36 for MacKenzie, while Spencer rolled in 7 seconds back in third in 16:43. Eli Boesch-Dining and Ryan Devine passed Reynolds to set up a Concord sweep of the top five, only to be denied by Reynolds down the stretch, with Devine grabbing 4th in 16:57, Reynolds 5th in 16:58, and Boesch-Dining 6th in 17:01. Interesting note, the first four finishers for Concord are all different grades, with Wilkes the only senior in the top seven. Matthew O’Brien placed 7th in 17:09 to give Concord 6 in the top 7, while Doneski ran to 8th in 17:11, Daly finished 9th, also in 17:11, and Benedict was the final medal winner, finishing 10th in 17:12.

 

MV Girls Celebrate Their Cap. Area Runner-Up Status!

MV Girls Celebrate Their Cap. Area Runner-Up Status!

When all was said and done, Concord had won with 16 points,  the lowest point total since the third running of the meet in 1979, when the Crimson Tide scored the only perfect score in the history of boys Capital Area. Of course, there were only 4 teams competing back then which makes this feat even more impressive. Kearsarge backed up its top 10 NH ranking with a solid runner-up score of 78, while St. Paul’s stayed on the podium for the 7th straight year with 112 points. Prospect Mountain turned out to be the best of the rest, finishing 4th with 171, while Belmont finished just behind with 189 points.

 

As dusk threatened, the boys toward the hill in the woods while the girls took their turn at the start line. Kristie Schoffield of Merrimack Valley took it out from the gun, cruising through the mile with about a two-second lead before turning it up a notch to bring it home in a new course record of 19:25, winning by 27 seconds. While the race up-front was rather static, the race for the next several spots was anything but. Cassie Shea, in a return to form, ran alongside her teammate Jennika Mannesto of Concord for the first mile and a half. Behind them was an ever-changing chain of girls, with Gabrielle Czerula of Concord, Alice Riley of Belmont, and Madison Clark of the Tilton School. As the race developed, Riley and Clark teamed up to pass first Czerula, then Shea to move into the top 4. Mannesto, running alone for the second half of the race finished as the ony other girl to break 20 minutes, running a 19:52. Behind her, the Riley/Clark battle continued right to the line, with each girl bumping elbows for the last 200 meters. In the end, Clark earned 3rd place, matching her 2014 finish, with the same time as Clark in 4th, 20:05. Shea hung on to finish 5th in 20:28, with her teammate Czerula a little behind her in 20:48. Lauren Rouse of MV went from 7th to 12th and back to 7th again, finishing in 21:02, while Molly Bragg (Concord, 21:03), Sydney Stockwell (Hopkinton, 21:16), and Maya Weil-Cooley (Inter-Lakes, 21:18) rounded out the top 10.

 

Concord, buoyed by Shea’s performance, held off a surprisingly strong challenge from host Merrimack Valley. Concord won it’s 5th straight Capital Area championship with 36 points, while MV took runner-up honors for the second straight year with 51 points. Kearsarge (116) held off DIII rivals Hopkinton (133) and Bow (140) to snag the final podium position.

 

40th Annual Capital Area Championship Preview

Thursday, October 20th will see the 40th annual running of the Capital Area Cross Country Championships, held at Merrimack Valley High School in Penacook. Comprised of most of the schools in the Capital Area (informally defined as the Concord Monitor newspaper’s coverage area) the race has long served not only as State Meet prep against stiff competition but for local bragging rights. All 3 NHIAA divisions compete, as well as local private schools St. Paul’s and for the first time this year, Tilton School. The racing begins at 3:30 with a combined JV race, followed at 4:15 by the boys varsity race, with the girls varsity race wrapping things up at 4:45.

 

The past three years have seen St. Paul’s at the top of the team leaderboard, with the last two decided by a single point over once-a-year in-town rivals, Concord High. The individual top spots have been held by Cam Daly of Inter-Lakes and Dom Repucci of Hopkinton. With St. Paul’s graduating their top two and both Daly and Repucci graduated, change at the top is inevitable. Concord may have graduated their top runner from a year ago, but have more than made up for it with the addition of track star James Wilkes and the continued development of the rest of last year’s top 7. Undefeated in NH this year and ranked #1, look for Concord to avenge those 1 point losses in a big way. Kearsarge’s NH #9 ranked team looks to return to the runner-up spot it last attained in 1985, but to do so it will have to defeat a less-strong but still very deep St. Paul’s squad. Results are hard to come by (that’s what makes it interesting!), but it appears that the entire top 5 of St. Paul’s are a pack, in the mid-17 range, very similar to Kearsarge. After these clear-cut top three, it will be a toss-up battle of who has the best day to determine the remaining order of finish. Belmont, MV, Hopkinton, Prospect Mtn, and Gilford all raced each other at the Belmont Invite, all 5 teams finishing within 12 points of each other.

 

Individually, Wilkes is the favorite to win the Capital Area title in his first attempt. His closest competition may be from his own teammates, Oliver Spencer and Forest MacKenzie, the first and fourth returners from a year ago. After that things get interesting, with the St. Paul’s runners, led by Santi Saravia and Chapin Bassi, as well as the 7th through 10th place Belmont finishers; Simon Doneski of Hopkinton, David Reynolds of MV, Nick Randos of Belmont, and Mason Benedict of Kearsarge.

 

In the girls race, despite running without Cassie Shea, previously ranked Concord is still running strong as evidenced by a recent win at Mines Falls over 5 DI opponents. Jennika Mannesto should lead the Tide to their 5th straight win, barring an upset. MV did defeat Concord at Thetford, but Concord didn’t have Mannesto, and adding her into the equation more than makes up for the difference. MV does look like the favorite to repeat as runner-up despite losing to Kearsarge at the Belmont Invite, as they were missing top runner Kristie Schoffield. Looking to upset MV for the second spot is Kearsarge, Hopkinton, and the dark horse, Bow.

 

Individually, Schoffield looks to add her name to the short list of three-peaters at Capital Area. Only Olympic marathoner Guor Majak (Marial) (2002-2004) and 2002 National Outdoor 800 champion Rachel Umberger (1999-2001), both of Concord High, have done it. Among those looking for the big upset is Mannesto of Concord, Alice Riley of Belmont, and Tilton’s Maddie Clark. Clark is having a homecoming of sorts, as she placed 5th here in 2013 and 3rd in 2014 while running for Hopkinton. After these three, look for the freshmen duo of Emma Roth and Sydney Stockwell of Hopkinton and Gabrielle Czerula of Concord to compete for a spot in the top 5.

 

Plymouth "John Sanborn" Invitational

Eli Dives, Connor Leaps

Eli Dives, Connor Leaps

Tristan @ Mile One

Tristan @ Mile One

The Plymouth “John Sanborn” Invitational is our final non-championship meet of the year. On a weekend when most teams travel to pancake flat races or 2.9 mile “5k’s” and run ridiculously fast times, we instead head north to the challenge of Plymouth and it’s infamous “Easy Button” hill. At this point in the season the hay is pretty much in the barn, so to speak, we just have to organize it. Meaning this is the season where the bulk of the work is behind us and we need to now work with what we have. We like the challenge of the course, but mostly we like the low-stress atmosphere and the fact that many athletes can get recognition through their placing. The weather is often an interesting factor at this meet - one year we had snow flakes - but it was pleasantly cool for the meet. There were two changes to the course, the biggest being that the Easy Button was GONE!!! We’ll just have to install one at ours. Or rather the “NO” button.

 

Matt R., With Matt L. and River (?) Behind

Matt R., With Matt L. and River (?) Behind

The girls race set off first, with newly-ranked Oyster River (#10 team in the state) and Kennett representing the biggest challenges. Staying true to the pre-race plan, Kristie paced out the first mile before leaning forward and taking off. She held a 1-second lead over second place at the mile, extending it to 20 seconds by the time they came out of the woods ¾ of a mile later, and would go on to win easily (and defend her title) by 39 seconds. In doing so she also made up for an early-season loss to one of her DII foes, Oyster River’s Danielle Slavin. Lauren, Noelle, and Emma worked together through the mile and half, with Noelle and Lauren steadily moving up through the pack, while Emma did a great job maintaining her place. In the end all three earned top-20 medals, with Lauren throwing in a gnarly kick to land 8th place, Noelle right behind her in 11th and both going sub-22. Emma finished a strong 17th, running her second-best time of the year. Tristan ran through some discomfort and gave no ground over the final mile to finish as the fifth and final scoring member of the MV team. Overall, Oyster River and Kennett finished 1-2, with MV a not-too-distant third. The difference between MV and Kennett was our 5th placer - the top 4 were roughly equal - we just need to close that gap!


Up next, the boys, with 5th ranked Oyster River leading the charge, although without their top boy (or two). David got out well and stayed there, running in a group that didn’t break up until the final downhill. The eventual winner got away on his own, but David managed to drop one and almost caught the second-placer to earn a bronze medal. Matt took some time to figure out his breathing, but once he did it was a sight to see; him hammering up the long multi-stage hill, moving from about 50th to 17th and a medal position. He likely covered the second half of the course faster than anyone besides the top 4. Despite feeling a bit under the weather, Dylan managed a solid time on the tough course, not enough for a medal, but very respectable none-the-less. Matt Lyle cruised in as our 4th runner once again, while in a minor surprise Ryan finished as our final scorer in 5th. Overall the boys were a very solid 4th of 8 teams.

Belmont "Jeri Blair" Invitational

We Only Had Three T-Shirt Winners, But They Makes A Nice Pyramid!

We Only Had Three T-Shirt Winners, But They Makes A Nice Pyramid!

Taylor In the Masses

Taylor In the Masses

The weather at Belmont was bright, warm, and sunny. The weather on the team, partly cloudy. It can’t all be sunshine and roses, and today was just one of those days. There certainly were bright spots, as 3 PR’s and 4 season-best times were set (after the conversion), 3 t-shirts were won, and 1 plaque left with the team. A tough course, and a long course (142 meters long), Belmont does occasionally offer up PR times, but the temperature didn’t cooperate today. We seem to be a cool-weather breed at MV, which should serve us just fine over the coming weeks. All times in the following recap are converted times, which if you want to do the math yourself and correct me by a second or so you are welcome to do. I, however, do not put an asterix by these times. Here’s the math: (race time in seconds) x 0.02762 = # seconds to subtract from race time. Have fun!

 

Ashley, Heading For The Line

Ashley, Heading For The Line

In the girls race, Lauren, Tristan, Emma, and Noelle got off to a perfect start and held positions 19 through 22. As the race progressed, Noelle and Lauren moved up through the ranks to eventually finish in 15th and 18th and earn shirts. Lauren ran to the only girls PR of the day, a 21:40, just an indicator of things to come! Noelle finished just a hair over 22 (22:02), while Emma (23:30) stayed tough to place third on the team. Tristan (24:19) placed 4th for the team, while Willow ran a strong race in a season PR of 24:55 to close out the scoring for the team. Maizie was our 6th runner, and also ran a season PR (25:45). She also got to be the team hero on the day (a fact she’ll only find out by reading this), as Hopkinton tied MV with 165 points, so Maizie was the all-important tie-breaking 6th runner, placing 2:10 (it wasn’t like it came down to a kick or anything) ahead of the Hawks 6th-placer. As much as we love Hopkinton, it’s nice to place ahead of them! Kaitlyn (25:48) and Diandra (27:04) powered through their races, while Ashley (40:55) avoided being trampled by the boys going the other direction to finish in a season-best time.

 

For the boys, David R. (17:24) scored the lone t-shirt in placing 8th overall. The long kick wasn’t present today,  he had a shot at third if it was. It was a close finish. Dylan (19:11) took the second spot for the second time this year, while Matt R. (19:27) gamely battled fatigue to score third for the team. Taylor ran the most controlled race of the day, passing what seemed like 100 runners to move up to place as our 4th and set a new PR of 20:25, while Matt L. (20:44) finished as our 5th runner, just ahead of River (20:50) in 6th. Ryan Latorella (21:11) was the 7th and final varsity runner on the day. Connor ran yet another PR in 21:25, and was followed by Mason in 21:43. Next across was Eli (21:59), followed by David Q. (22:36) and a few minutes later Josh (26:26). Wrapping things up for the Pride was Mitchell (31:28), Dade in a season-best 31:55, and Lucas, who outkicked his competition at the end to run a 32:52.


Now the long weekend...don’t “forget” to run!

Team Ribbons!

Team Ribbons!

Belmont Invitational Preview

Boys Start circa 2015

Boys Start circa 2015

This Friday sees us at one of our favorite meets, the Belmont “Jeri Blair” Invitational, AKA “The T-Shirt Meet”. It is unique in that there are a smattering of DII schools, but mostly DIII schools, and that the boys race first. No JV race, everyone races together! The top 20 finishers receive t-shirts.

 

2015 Girls Pre-Race

2015 Girls Pre-Race

For the boys, defending DIII champions Kearsarge are the favorite to win the title, while Mascenic’s DJ Turner is the top returning boy. He is not the favorite to win, however, as his teammate Jake Movessian ran a 16:43 at Black Bear on Saturday. Behind him is Hanover’s Morgan Baughman (17:22 at Black Bear). Don’t count out our very own David R., as he could easily take second. As a team, in 2014 the boys placed 11th and scored 1 t-shirt, in 2015 they placed 6th and scored 2 t-shirts, this year we are running for a top-5 and 2 or more t-shirts. For Dylan to run his way to a top-20 and t-shirt he would have to crank out a big PR...he has been running well in practice!

 

In the girls side, MV has both the defending team champion and defending individual champion. However, with Kristie on a college visit, both honors will likely go to a school new to Belmont, 6th-ranked Hanover. Individually they have outstanding freshman Lucy Gluek, as well as their top finisher on Saturday, Leila Trummel. MV still has a legitimate shot at a top-3 finish, so long as our top 5 keep it close. 4 t-shirts should do it! In 2014 we won 1, last year we won 2, this year the goal is 4!

 

Meet starts at 3:30, bus at 1:15 at MV, see you then!

2015 T-Shirt Winners

2015 T-Shirt Winners

Woods Trail Run (Thetford)

Lauren and Maizie Are So Excited For Morty's Monster!

Lauren and Maizie Are So Excited For Morty's Monster!

A cool, drizzly day did not dampen the spirits of the MV runners at the Woods Trail race held at Thetford Academy in Vermont on Saturday. The Woods Trail race has a very unique format; it starts with a middle school meet, then has 10 races, 5 per gender that are divided based on ability. All 5 races per gender are then combined to determine team scoring, essentially creating one monster race (55 teams in the boys race this year, with 48 in the girls). No JV race, all runners have the opportunity to compete equally and have the opportunity to place high in their respective races.

 

Ryan Competes In Seed Four

Ryan Competes In Seed Four

While Merrimack Valley did not bring our middle schoolers, Andover brought one, Sophia Reynolds. Sophia started things off in a big way for current and future MV runners by placing third of the 209 girls in the race. The top 7th-grader as well!

 

In the 5th seed girls race, Ashley was MV’s lone representative. Tearing around the Thetford course, Morty’s Monster proved not insurmountable as she crushed her previous PR by a whopping 8 minutes! In the boys 5th seed, Josh had the run of the race with his own PR. Mitchell, Lucas, and Dade also competed in seed 5, finishing in that order.

 

How Does That Top-15 Ribbon Taste, Dylan?

How Does That Top-15 Ribbon Taste, Dylan?

The 4th seed girls race featured Diandra, moving up from seed 5 a year earlier, and Willow and Maizie. Diandra ran a very respectable 26 and change for her best time of the year, while Willow and Maizie worked together the entire race. Willow took charge up the hills, while Maizie let her legs roll on the downhills. Benefitting from a downhill finish, Maizie finished a mere 2 seconds ahead of Willow, both in the top quarter of the race. The boys 4th seed saw the majority of the MV boys team competing. Holding off a fast-charging Taylor, Matt L. won the mini-race of 4th-seed MV boys, a mere one second ahead of Taylor. Both finished in the top half of the race, putting all 5 of MV’s scorers in the top 50%. Next across the line was River, followed 8 seconds later by Ryan. Only 4 seconds behind Ryan was “new shoes” Connor, in yet another PR. PR’s at Thetford are worth something! Mason, Eli, and David Q. wrapped things up for MV.

 

In the 3rd seed, Tristan was the lone girl for the Pride. Based on her times thus far, she really should have been in the 4th seed race, but seeing as she won that race last year we decided the 3rd seed would make more sense. In the end, lathered up in IcyHot, she ran the race of the day and her best race in a year to place 14th, earning the day’s first ribbon for MV (top 15 earn one). Tristan’s back! For the boys, Dylan was in a similar situation, all by himself. Running a very smart race, Dylan moved up throughout the race to kick into 15th place and earn a ribbon of his own.

 

On to the second seed, with the majority of the girls varsity. Emma, Lauren, Noelle, and Kaitlyn got off to a somewhat slow start, but were able to find some running room later in the race to progressively move up. Lauren moved all the way up to a top-20 position, but not quite good enough for a ribbon. Noelle cruised in a few seconds later, followed by Emma, who was SO happy there were NO MORE HILLS! Finally Kaitlyn crossed, having passed probably a third of all runners in the second half of the race. Matt R. was the boys lone representative in the 2nd seed race, but what a race he had! Starting out well back in about 48th place (at the mile), he patiently moved up and cruised the downhills in true Reynolds style to snag the third ribbon of the day in 15th place, and top 100 overall.

 

Finally, the first seed. Luckily happening late in the day, Kristie returned from 5 grueling hours of SAT-taking to race. Slightly disappointed in her 8th-place finish, she can hold her head high having broken 20 minutes (only 4 seconds off her New Englands time from 2015) and placing ahead of 581 other girls. On the boys side, David R. ran a similar race as his brother, moving up impressively throughout the race to eventually finish 27th, and 29th overall.


As a team, the boys finished 22nd of 55 teams, a remarkable improvement over 2015’s 35th place showing, especially considering we graduated our #1 runner from last year. On the girls side, results initially were listed as finishing in 23rd place. Later, the results were modified to show MV as finishing 16th of 48 teams, as compared to 25th last year. Way to show improvement, MV!

Woods Trail Run (Thetford) Preview

Tristan Wins Seed 4 Race 2015

Tristan Wins Seed 4 Race 2015

On Saturday, October 1st, MV runners will take to the hills and woods of Thetford Academy for the Woods Trail Race. The toughest (slowest) 5k that we run on is also a beautiful course, and site of the New England Championships every 5 years (including last year). Similar to Manchester this year, in 2015 the first cool race day was Thetford, and it was a magical day. The promise of a repeat performance brings us back for the second year in a row, and only the third time in program history. The race has no JV race, but is instead broken up into 5 sections, based on predicted finishing time. The junior high races start things off, then 5th seed, 4th seed, and so on. At the end all times are combined to determine the fastest team of the day.

 

10:30 - Junior High Girls - No MV athletes in this one, but one of the favorites has to be Andover’s (and future MV runner) Sophia R. The fireworks will start early this year!

 

A Younger David Nears the Finish of the 2015 Seed 2 Race

A Younger David Nears the Finish of the 2015 Seed 2 Race

11:15 - 5th Seed Girls - With Miranda and Morgan on injured reserve, Ashley is the lone MV entrant in this race. She will be the first one to battle Morty’s Monster!

 

11:45 - 5th Seed Boys - Mitchell, Lucas, Josh, and Dade will represent MV in this race. Josh is a bit of a wild card with huge improvements lately. Can he be near the front? Who can break 30 on a hard course?

 

12:15 - 4th Seed Girls - Diandra, Willow, and Maizie run for MV here. This is the race that Tristan won last year in 23:30, it will take at least a 24:00 to win this year. Maizie has had a great week of practice, Willow seems to be in the best and most consistent shape of her MV career, and Diandra is fresh; how close to the front can they get?

 

12:45 - 4th Seed Boys - The majority of our boys team races here. With dramatic improvements recently, a number of them should be in contention for a top-10 finish. Taylor, Connor, Mason, Ryan, Matt L., River, David Q., and Eli all compete here. Look for Matt, Taylor and River to all be in or near the lead pack. Work with each other, boys!

 

1:10  - 3rd Seed Girls - Tristan, by virtue of her victory in the 4th seed last year, is our entrant into the 3rd seed race. A little hampered by injury and illness, she needs some Thetford magic!

 

Ryan, Dade, and Connor Prep for 2015's Seed 5 Race

Ryan, Dade, and Connor Prep for 2015's Seed 5 Race

1:35 - 3rd Seed Boys - Dylan, with a massive PR at Manchester, suddenly looks to be another top-10 contender in this race. Dylan looked great in practice this week, he should be fine on the hills of Thetford.

 

2:00 - 2nd Seed Girls - Our top-5 pack minus Kristie races here. Noelle, Lauren, Kaitlyn, and Emma should be grouping near the top third of this race. They’ll need to get out strong and then find strength in each other. With a tremendous day one or more of them could find the top-10.

 

2:25 - 2nd Seed Boys - Matt R. is the only boy entered here, but this looks to be one of the most exciting races of the day. He would need to PR to win, but the course suits the twins well, and Matt is running well. There is a long downhill in the final mile, and I had the pleasure of standing at Manchester’s downhill - you should have seen those boys flying down. I don’t know what it is about downhilling; some can do it and some just can’t - the twins have the downhilling gift.

 

2:45 - 1st Seed Girls - We are not looking for surprise wins in either of the top seeded races, but we do expect medal finishes. Kristie ran a tremendous race here last year, did well on the same course at New Englands, and seems to have this course figured out. The wild card is the fact that it is SAT day - that makes for a long day if you are test-taking!

 

3:05 - 1st Seed Girls - See 2nd seed boys race for why David will run well here. No question about it. Just out of top-25 position at Manchester, a top-25 at Thetford would be excellent!


Overall, last year the girls raced their heads off and finished 25th of 53. This year our team is faster, but can they have the day they did last year? A top-20 finish would be fantastic. The boys finished 35th of 63 last year, and a year ago we’d have never predicted that they could finish even better this year. Time will tell, as they too ran crazy fast last year. Can they match last year’s finish? Of even place in the top 30? Come to Thetford this Saturday to find out!

MVXC Circa 2015

MVXC Circa 2015

Manchester Invitational, 9-26-16

Boys JV, Ready To Go!

Boys JV, Ready To Go!

Where to start with this meet? It was practically perfect weather for a meet, and the day backed that up. Last year Thetford was our first cool meet and the runners performed remarkably well, this year it was Manchester, and the results were the same. So many PR’s, so many great races! Interestingly, the only 2 individuals who didn’t run their best races of the year ran early, and I think the temperature actually dropped a little as the day progressed. There is something to be said for running in cool temps!

 

Maizie!

Maizie!

To start at the beginning, Lucas had the honor of being the only MV athlete entered in the 2.1 mile “Frosh” race. Mitchell, it could’ve been you! Eh, what’s an extra mile? Looking very solid at the end, he started off the day well for the Pride. Next up, in another solo effort, was Maizie in the girls JV race. I’m not sure the last time we had a consistant girls JV squad - our team is always about quality, not quantity. That’s not to say we wouldn’t love to have some quantity as well, if someone could just let us know the magic trick of getting the numbers up! XC is such a foreign concept to so many people...but I digress. As previously noted, it was a little warm during the early races. Despite that, Maizie nearly cracked the top half and ran close to her best time of the season.

 

River and Matt L. Cruise Down the Hill (and Ryan!)

River and Matt L. Cruise Down the Hill (and Ryan!)

Closing out the first half of the day was the boys JV race, also the largest of the day with 332 finishers. Despite having three absent runners and Connor in the Frosh race, we had a full scoring team of 6 runners entered. By the end of the race, 4 had run all-time PR’s and one ran his season PR (although to be honest it was his first race of the season). Mason led the charge for MV, flying down the hill after mile 2 and never backing off to almost break 21 minutes, two minutes better than his previous PR set on Tuesday. 31 seconds back was Eli, in his first race of the year. Nice to have you back! David Quinn finished next, probably with his huge trademark kick, although I didn’t hear any roaring from where I was on the course. Fourth on the team was Connor in yet another PR (which is an indicator of how much this team has improved - he runs a PR, yet is 11th on the team. Don’t count Connor out yet, however!). Connor was sneaky, I didn’t see him once on the course, in fact I missed David’s kick because I was back up the trail wondering what happened to Connor. Connor the stealth ninja. With a 5 minute (!) improvement from 4 days earlier, Josh was the final scoring member of the JV team, just nipping the 26-minute mark. With improvements like that, I’m pretty sure there is more time to be taken off! Wrapping things up for the MVJV was Mitchell...had you started your kick maybe 2 seconds earlier, you would have been under 30! Ah, well, solid job on a tough course!

 

1st Through 5th, Girls Large School

1st Through 5th, Girls Large School

The next races across the Derryfield course were the small school races, during which Patrick O’Brien of Oyster River crushed the field enroute to a 15:22. From what I’ve seen, that is one second off the State Record set by Portsmouth’s Corey Thorne. The actual course record, by the way, is 15:08 from the New England Championships in 2013 (that was a crazy meet, there were actually 5 times faster than O’Brien’s that day, and the girls course record was demolished as well, being taken down to 17:15).

 

Next up, girls Large School  (MV is one of the smallest “Large Schools” in the race, the cutoff is 800 and our student population is just over that). 7 racers, 3 all-time PR’s and 4 season-bests. A very, very solid day! Kristie, the 2014 Large School champion (back when there was a separate “Elite” race), raced her way to 5th overall and the honor of being recognized on stage. This was Kristie’s first time under 19 at Derryfield, and improves her third position on the all-time MV Derryfield list, second senior. She also ran to DII’s 2nd fastest time of the day, and NH’s 4th fastest overall. Next to cross was Noelle, in her first time under 22 minutes and first time as MV’s #2 runner. Her time puts her at 8th on the MV all-time Derryfield 9th-grader list. Just behind Noelle was Lauren, who just barely missed her PR, breaking 22 for the second time in her life. Emma followed in 4th, running a very confident race, taking almost a minute off her XC PR. Rounding out the scoring five was Kaitlyn, running a conservative first half then blazing past everyone to run under 23 for the first time. Tristan continued her return to form running a season-best, while Willow closed out the varsity team with her season-best time as well. Overall, the team finished an impressive 18th of 33 teams, running a team time average of 21:30. That time is good for 10th on MV’s All-Time Derryfield team list, only one second behind the Manchester time of the 2008 team who went on to place as runners-up that year (running a 20:22 team average). We haven’t put a team on that list since 2011! In the DII merge we placed 6th (ahead of a couple teams that placed ahead of us in the actual meet - scoring is odd like that). Interestingly, Oyster River was 4th in the merge, but we would beat them in a head-to-head  race. The 4th through 8th places on the merge are essentially tied. It is looking like an exciting year!

 

Finally, the last race of the day, the boys Large School. To summarize, the boys ran a magnificent race. Six all-time PR’s and one season-best. It doesn’t get much better than that! David ran the 5th fastest DII time of the day, and the 21st fastest NH time. He also ran onto MV’s all-time top 10 list in 9th, knocking off Kyle Wiley (MV ‘12). Sorry Kyle. Matt R. broke 18 for the first time ever, and was DII’s 23rd finisher. Matt is now 6th on MV’s sophomore Derryfield list, and David is first (before David, Colton Ham owned the top spot for MV for all grades on Derryfield and our home course, David has now replaced him on both lists for 9th and 10th grades). Meanwhile, Dylan broke 19 for the first time in a big way, by 18 seconds!  Matt L. chopped two minutes off his PR from Tuesday, almost breaking 20 minutes, and becoming one of the favorites for the 4th seed race at Thetford in the process. 4th seed kids aren’t supposed to run that fast! River followed Matt to his season-best time, while Taylor and Ryan also took enormous time off their PR’s. It is particularly impressive in Ryan’s case - a 7-year veteran runner usually doesn’t take such huge chunks of time off. Two PR’s in one week!


As a team, MV finished 26th of 38 teams, and even more impressively finished 8th out of 14 DII teams when merged with only DII schools (not all DII schools were represented, of course). For a team who finished second-to-last the two previous years, that is very exciting!

Happy Girls, Post-Race. Where's Willow?

Happy Girls, Post-Race. Where's Willow?

Cribs, Hills, and The Walking Dead

"Dolor hic tibi proderit olim" 

I was watching The Walking Dead last night, and one of the actors, as she faced an onslaught of zombies, said this quote (and the translation). While we may not be battling hordes of the undead in practice (although the athletes may feel that we are creating them), I found this quote very apt for today's workout (and all our workouts in general). From the very reputable source moviepilot.com (double-referenced with goodreads.com), it is part of a longer quote by the Roman poet Ovid. "Perfer et obdura, dolor hic tibi proderit olim". Translated it is said to mean "Be patient and tough, someday this pain will be useful to you." While it won't be replacing "Fortitudine Vincimus" anytime soon, it is still a great quote. 

Today we ran hills. In fact, we ran the very same hill workout that the girls ran at 6:30 in the morning for part two of their "Cribs & Workout" video submission to the New Hampshire Cross Country website. There was a challenge to teams to create a "cribs" video showing off their home base (based on I guess an MTV show, I wouldn't know since I'm busy watching The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones) and a workout. The girls decided to create a girls-only video, which they finished yesterday. It has been submitted, but you can see it here first! Boys, if you're feeling left out, get going! Make a video! The gauntlet has been thrown. By the way, there are two earlier submissions which our video "tags" in a way - I think you will agree the MV girls went for a little more of the entertainment factor in theirs.

Home with Souhegan, John Stark, Windham, St. Thomas, and Plymouth

Boys Start

Boys Start

Third meet in four days for Sandu and I; we are in XC heaven! Today marked our last dual meet of the season, it is Invitationals from here on out. Today’s meet was large as far as duals go, with six teams represented. Before I go further, a HUGE thanks to the parents and alumni parents who came and helped and offered to help, and a special note of appreciation to Mrs. Crane, the writer for both meets. I went down there once during the boys finish and...it was like an advertisement for deodorant. As in the pre-deodorant part. Ooof. You were a courageous woman!

 

Lauren, Noelle, and Emma in the order of finish.

Lauren, Noelle, and Emma in the order of finish.

Another warm muggy day (but heat training is good!), but thankfully wasp-free this time. Somewhat disappointingly a couple of the top girls from other teams chose not to race, working out instead in preparation for Manchester on Saturday. We chose to workout on the course, with easy days planned this week for recovery. Kristie paced out the early lead, with a goal to land the top spot on the Senior Home Course list. With her lead expanding out to an eventual 3:14, she did just that, also tying her course record from October of last year. Not bad for a solo effort! Behind her, the pack of Lauren, Noelle, and Emma held together the entire distance, finishing in 3rd, 4th and 5th with a spread of only 3 seconds. While they may be not thrilled with their times, it was a good solid team effort. Tristan continued her comeback from injury with yet-another season PR to place as our 5th runner again, followed by Willow and Maizie, each with sub-26 minute runs. Kaitlyn ran brave while under the weather; finishing with the way she was feeling is itself an accomplishment. Diandra returned to the racing scene with a great 40th place finish as well. Overall, the girls won easily (Souhegan did not race their top 5, but who’s counting? As far as statistics go, the girls team improved on their team time from 2 weeks ago, thanks mostly to Kristie’s run, but also Noelle’s improvement. Noelle cut just enough time off to take over 9th on the girls top-ten list, bumping Emma back to 10th.

 

Great Kicks. Taylor Vs River. Taylor Prevails...This Time.

Great Kicks. Taylor Vs River. Taylor Prevails...This Time.

On the boys side, it was the Reynolds show again. On Monday it was Sophia for Andover, today it was BOTH David (1st) and Matt (2nd), who each pulled far, far ahead over the final mile to easily claim the title of top family. Matt also did just enough to jump onto the top-10 list, displacing Trevor by one second (sorry Trev, should’ve run faster!). The boys also improved their team-time to 8th on the all-time list. After the top two, Dylan chose to wait one more meet before PR-ing, but still ran a solid mid-19 for 12th place. Taylor had the 2nd best kick of the day, nipping River at the line, causing River to rethink his lunch choices. Not too far back Ryan was busy setting his first PR in two years (!YAY!), thinking he was earning a PR whoopie pie. Haha Ryan, I discontinued that just before your last PR. Ryan, if you read this, I’ll get you one. You just have to read the team blog. Wrapping up 7th and Saturday’s varsity race was quickly-improving Matt Lyle. Connor was next, sporting his new eyeglass “retainer”, allowing him to actually swing his arms in stride, rather than adjust. The result? Three minutes faster than Saturday! OK, maybe that wasn’t the only thing, but it matters. Just behind Connor was a fast-charging Mason, and then Dylan R., running on too much rest and a super clean uniform top (I want that back!). Then, the kick of the day/week/month/year. With a mighty roar that terrified the Plymouth guy in front, David Q. sprinted down the finish chute, catching the Plymouth kid who was just happy to escape with his life. Mitchell strode in a couple minutes later with a huge PR, followed by Josh (also well-rested!), and finally Lucas, sadly not in picture range of any 7-foot runners this time.


Great job today team, next up, Manchester!!

Sorry Girls, I'm Still Not Believing the Four-Person Push-up Happened. PS - Nice Plank, Mitchell!

Sorry Girls, I'm Still Not Believing the Four-Person Push-up Happened. PS - Nice Plank, Mitchell!