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!

Middle School Home Meet w/Andover, Hopkinton, Bow, Henniker, Winnisquam, Gilford

Future teammates Sophia R. and Sophia R. lead their Andover and MV teams in the girls race.

Future teammates Sophia R. and Sophia R. lead their Andover and MV teams in the girls race.

What super help we had today! Biggest kudos to the writers (Kristie and Miranda) who had to decipher almost 200 sweaty, exhausted stinky middle schoolers last names. Marvelous job! Also Lauren who said that roughly half of them grabbed her hand instead of the card, and poor David, Matt, and Dylan (but mostly David) who had to go WAY out of their comfort zones to corral the kids as they crossed the line. A sample of my scolding them: "David, get into the middle of the chute! NONONONO, the middle! Right HERE! Go farther down, Matt! C'mon Dylan, get INTO the chute so you can actually TELL them where to go!" Poor guys. Kaitlyn saved you all when she took over as head chute official. And of course, thanks to all the course marshalls out there, just hangin' in the woods.

Andover girls (and some future MV runners?) showing spirit!

Andover girls (and some future MV runners?) showing spirit!

For the actual race, it was future MV star Sophia R. who took the race, in what must be about 10 seconds or so off the course record (I need to check my old meet sheets - I used to keep track of this stuff). Running for Andover, she led the entire race, making it entertaining through the middle mile before running away with it over the final quarter mile. She was rumored to have made fun of the girls behind her, but the true story I overheard from her coach ("that Andover girl was not even winded. She wanted to talk and congratulate my girls, but they couldn't talk and she said "oh, you're too tired right now"). Nice. As for actual MV girls, it was our very own Coach Sandu's daughter (also Sophia) who was the top runner in 9th.

On the boys side, MV's Eli D. led for the first 1/3rd of a mile, before relinquishing the lead (he finished a respectable 27th and 2nd for MV). Tops for MV was 6th-grader (?) Mercier in 16th. Notably running his best race ever was Maizie's bro, Clyde, finishing 65th of 107 finishers. Great jobs middle schoolers, we're looking forward to racing with you!

Bobcat Invitational @ Freestyle Farms, 9-17-16

Runners approach the 1k mark, as seen from the team tent area.

Runners approach the 1k mark, as seen from the team tent area.

Mitchell, Lucas, and David Ready to Roll

Mitchell, Lucas, and David Ready to Roll

Saturday morning saw us on the bus early, heading to our first Invite since Great Glen, and the first (and by far the smallest) of three Saturday Invites in a row. Rather than heading towards the seacoast as we usually do this weekend we rolled down I-93 and 101 to Amherst and Freestyle Farm, due to construction at Oyster River. It’s very exciting to head to a new course, it’s not very often that happens anymore! We have been there for the Saber Relays once in the past, but that is just a 3k course. This was our first foray onto the 5k course, and what a beauty it is! Tough to spectate, but beautiful to run. It is not a fast course, but not a particularly slow one either.

Varsity Girls Start

Varsity Girls Start

Setting our beautiful “Crane” canopy up by the water, it was off to walk the course. 2/3rds of the way through, we realized we wouldn’t make it back in time for the coaches meeting, so Miranda, in her new role of “student coach”, bravely headed off to attend her first ever meeting of the minds. Finishing up our course walk, we prepped for the first race, the boys JV (only 7 running girls today, but that’s all you need for a varsity team!).

Lucas, Mitchell, and David Q. were our participants in this race. Lucas, promised a reward for finishing under 30 minutes, bravely battled all the way to the line...but did not add to his piggy bank this time. Mitchell would have, however, if he had made the same deal. A very solid sub-30 on a tough course! David was even earlier, claiming a time that would actually place him 7th for the day among the boys.

Lucas Cheering on Ryan

Lucas Cheering on Ryan

The varsity girls were next, claiming the valuable spot at the height-of-land. Kristie got off to a strong start, leading the pack through 2k, eventually giving up a few places to finish 4th in a strong field of girls. Lauren moved up throughout the race...but fell one spot shy of earning a medal and taking down Emma’s middle school arch-nemesis. Lucky for Lauren it was not a 6k, as behind her Noelle was making serious gains on everyone to yet again run a PR - this time with her BRAND NEW SPIKES!  Yay! Sub-22 Tuesday? I think it’s coming soon! Emma strode in with a solid effort and painful ankles in 4th team position, while Tristan claimed the 5th spot in a time that is almost two minutes faster than her time last year on a faster course. Thetford third seed champion, 2016? Looking good! Willow continued being dependable Willow, running a patient race as she always does to finish as our 6th girl, while Maizie wrapped up the scoring with a great 26:00 time in 7th. As a team we finished 4th in a field of 14 teams, despite missing our usual #3 runner. Great job girls!


Varsity boys, last race of the day. The season debut of NH’s projected #1 runner. Patrick O’Brien, did not disappoint as he CRUSHED the field in an insane time of 15:54. That is a good time anywhere, but especially on a course like Freestyle Farms. Meanwhile for MV, David actually had a shot at runner-up, but just did not have the speed over the last ¼ mile and finished a fantastic 5th in a new XC PR. Not far behind was brother Matt, running faster over the final 2k of the course than probably about anyone except O’Brien. Dylan again had a strong race coming in 3rd for the team (sub 19 on Tuesday, you heard it here first!), while River, promoted to varsity just that morning, demonstrated he belonged there by taking almost three minutes off his time from Tuesday to finish 4th on the team. And who is that in 5th?! Matt L., with a HUGE PR! Keep taking time off, Matt! Ryan came in next, very close to a PR himself, while Connor wrapped up the team scoring for MV, allergies, sliding glasses, and trainers (Dick’s Sporting Goods apparently don’t know the difference between track spikes and XC spikes - GRRRRR!) and all. The boys did well in finishing 10th of 14, in their best team time of the year (so far).

John Stark Duel with Sanborn, Trinity, and West

Don't we all feel this way about cross country? Kristie, jumping for joy, and Lauren readying her kick.

Don't we all feel this way about cross country? Kristie, jumping for joy, and Lauren readying her kick.

Despite the grumblings from some of the veterans about today’s course, John Stark is a pretty good place for us. It is a very low-key meet, allowing us to run a relaxed stress-free race and work on aspects of racing, like pack-running, that we may otherwise not get to practice. We also came away with an individual win and a team win today, not too shabby for a 5 team Division Two meet!

 

The Lead-Out & Pass

The Lead-Out & Pass

The girls were first to race as usual, with the same instructions as the previous two meets - “work as a team!” They are learning to see each other as teammates and sources of inspiration on the course rather than as competitors, and each race it has gotten better! This week we had a pack of 8 for the first mile or so, until it was whittled down to the more usual pack of 5...except who was that new face in the pack...Tristan! Tristan is back! Our #2 (-ish, tied with Lauren really for that distinction) returning runner was sidelined with a stress fracture in the spring, and has been working on getting back into shape. Today she took a great step forward, running as our #3 girl until the final quarter mile. Sneaking by her just at the end was Kaitlyn, who ran an inspirational race as she was dropped by the MV pack early due to sore calves, but never surrendered and worked her way steadily back through the runners to finish as our #3 girl again and 6th over-all. As someone who has been around running a long time, sometime I forget that not everyone has learned the basic rules, such as “don’t eat foods right before running a race if you haven’t tried doing it before!” Noelle did enjoy her apple while she ate it (thanks for bringing them Mrs. Perron!), but probably not so much later. Like Kaitlyn, however, she hung tough and once again finished as our 5th runner, and 10th overall. Meanwhile, up front, Kristie and Lauren played the role of hunters as they stalked and passed every  girl in front of them (except the one who was three minutes up). Coming onto the track they had one left, but did Lauren have enough left? What a silly question. With Kristie going ahead on lead-out (I just finished watching a three week stage race in Spain, this is a cycling term that seemed to suit the situation and actually played out correctly, although the lead-out is not usually the winner) Lauren dug deep and out kicked the girl from Sanborn to place 3rd overall, with Kristie 2nd. Team wise, with 6 runners in the top 11 (Emma was our 6th), MV cruised to an easy win, 24 points to the runner-up score of 66. A good race, but still lots of work to do!

 

MV's Normal Pre-Race Stretch, by David

MV's Normal Pre-Race Stretch, by David

For the boys, initially we were just lucky to have everyone there. Due to the busing issue we had to roll out ASAP, DO NOT WAIT FOR ANYONE! And Connor was missing. But Connor found us, thanks to his Mom, hero of the day, when she drove him to John Stark. The idea of the day was to have the boys attempt a similar packing strategy as the girls, although with their times being so spread out it posed a challenge. Apparently it is a challenge we need to work on as immediately it was every boy for himself. Up front David cruised along easily in a pack of three runners, eventually distancing himself on a hill (good move, David!) to take his second win of the year. Behind David, Matt reestablished in his usual spot on the team, and did an admirable job of fending off a cramp (did you also eat an apple, Matt?). Dylan, sporting his new haircut, was third, and then the wait was on for the final two scorers. They have been shuffling around a bit lately, which is nice as it indicates depth. 4th turned out to be Ryan, and 5th was Taylor...wait...where did Taylor go? No, 5th today was Matt L., in a great race in possibly the only PR of the day. So where was Taylor? Mitchell, Lucas, and Dade thought there was no one else behind them...until Taylor came cruising by. Apparently 3.1 miles wasn’t enough, so Taylor tacked on another mile-plus, racing the whole way. Not sure if he actually ran the entire loop alone, with no one in sight, wondering “am I the only person left on earth?”, or if he took a shortcut back, but he certainly kept running the entire time. Nice workout, Taylor! Even with Taylor’s wrong turn, the boys managed a strong showing of 2nd out of the 5 teams represented.


Great work everyone!

Six Three Oh in the Six Oh Three

Noelle Delivers Munchkins to the Gazebo at 6:30 am.

BEEP!!!!!!!!!!BEEP!!!!!!!!!!!BEEP!!!!!!!!!!BEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!BEEP!!!!!!!!

 

That’s my alarm at 5:30...on Saturday. At some point last week I mentioned to the girls that we have a free week and it would be great if they could run hills on Saturday - any chance some of us could meet? Alas, three members had work (at the three competing grocery stores in Concord), so what do they decide? Run early enough so that Kristie can make it to work by 9...how about 6:30? It didn’t occur to me that it might be an elaborate prank until I was driving out of my driveway in the dark. A beautiful sunrise greeted me as I headed south, and then walked toward the Gazebo. No prank, all 7 varsity girls showed up, on time, plus our intrepid injured captain Miranda.

No ordinary hills today either, the decision was made to run “crazy hills”, one of our signature workouts. A few less than normal, but hey, it’s 6:30 in the morning! All in all it was a wonderful way to start the day! A video is being created, stay tuned for that! As I told the girls when we started, no one can question their motivation or dedication after a 6:30 am hill workout. Boys, the gauntlet has been thrown, it’s your turn!

Home Duel with Coe-Brown and Lebanon, September 6th

Our photographer and Head Cheerperson Miranda catching some rays.

Our photographer and Head Cheerperson Miranda catching some rays.

Our first home meet was a pleasant little 3-team duel with Coe-Brown and Lebanon. Sadly, the rain passed to our south and the ravine slip-and-slide never materialized. Sadly for the spectators, that is! With early arrivals of all teams, we were able to actually start at the prescribed time, which had everyone headed home by the time our normal practice ends. It won’t be that case at our next home meet! With the stress (created by my not-so-great planning) of getting finish line volunteers out of the way (actually, my girls writer arrived midway through the girls race - she didn’t know I already had a job for her:) and the superb help of former coach Nielsen, the race was ready to go off.

The MV pack, 7-strong at the start

The MV pack, 7-strong at the start

The girls race featured Coe-Brown, the 6-time defending DII State Champs, as well as the top two returning DII runners in CB’s Alli Pratt and MV’s Kristie Schoffield. While the fireworks never developed between the top runners as they had more long-range objectives to focus on, the race featured plenty of drama and excitement. All but two of MV’s girls improved their times from Portsmouth, with Kaitlyn and Noelle running PR’s. The team goal was to continue to work on learning to run together as a pack, and this week all of the top 5 stayed together almost to the two mile mark. At that point Kristie and Lauren started working their way up the race standings, with the other three not far behind. Not far behind them Tristan was continuing her comeback from a stress fracture and also running an improved race. By the end, the entire top 5 had caught and passed CB’s 5th runner (when was the last time that happened?), although CB’s other 4 occupied 4 of the top 5 spots. Noelle added some last-minute drama as she made a wrong turn coming into the finish line (we’ll fix those arrows, Noelle, thanks for bring them to our attention!) and gave up her brief stint as MV’s 4th runner. So long as it is MV, no matter who it is though! Team-wise, CB won easily, followed by MV and Lebanon in third, the order expected.

The boys side of course also featured Coe Brown, but unlike the girls this year, the boys are the heavy favorites to defend their DII team title and showed why today. Despite running part of the race as a tempo, the entire front end of the race was a red wave with one lone blue runner out front. That lone blue runner was David, who went into the race with a distinct goal of taking down Colton Ham’s home course (all variations) sophomore course record. His motivation propelled him to an early sizable lead that maxed out at around 10 seconds. Back down the course about 10,000 CB runners later Matt and Dylan G. were practicing their own little bit of pack running. Behind them River was continuing his comeback from … summer?, and Taylor was plugging along with Ryan though the heat and bees another bit behind. In the end, two CB boys reeled in David, led by the third-returning DII runner Zach Richards (16:45 at Derryfield last year). Briefly dropping to third, David showed off his rapidly-improving long range kick to move back up to second and narrowly miss the win in a huge 19-second sophomore record. Dylan managed to outkick beestung Matt for second, breaking up the Reynolds for the first time this season, while River and Taylor rounded out the top 5. The team ran well to place third as expected; while not their best meet ever the effort was superb and their attitude and post-race strides and cores showed the best is yet to come.

David leading a sea of red

David leading a sea of red

Portsmouth Duel With Oyster River, September 1st.

A hot day, but much less hot and humid than in year’s past, greeted MV’s runners as they arrived at Portsmouth for our annual dual with DII stalwarts Oyster River and Portsmouth. As usual, the girls course walk was cut short by the need to warm up, and the warm up was cut short by the need to get to the start line and race. On the track?! Yes, it is one of those courses that starts and ends on a track. At least it was in the backwards direction. Under instructions to form up and run as a pack, the MV girls got a too-quick start and while 4 of them were able to group up, it was far from the more mellow run intended. Kristie, Lauren, Kaitlyn, and Emma were able to run together to just past the 2 mile mark, as which point it became every girl for herself. Kristie surprisingly found herself in position to go for the win as the course found it’s way back to the track, and did just that, outkicking Oyster River’s Danielle Slavin, last year’s 5th place runner at D-II and 3rd returner in the division, by one second. Lauren finished a strong second for MV, although every other finisher besides the top two managed to top their time from Great Glen, even though that wasn’t the goal. Kaitlyn, Emma, and Noelle wrapped up the scoring for MV, Noelle by running a very smart conservative race. The girls placed second behind OR, and importantly ahead of Portsmouth. It’s early yet, but Portsmouth is one of the teams standing between MV and it’s goal of reaching the MOC’s for the first time since 2011.

On the boys side, with the state’s preseason pick for top runner Patrick O’Brien of Oyster River running a workout instead, the stage was set for a different winner. Noah Strout of OR ran a 17:10 to finish 22nd at last year’s DII, and would have to be considered the pre-race favorite. As the race played out, there was a small pack of 3-4 OR boys, with David right there with them and Matt just a few seconds back. As they disappeared into the woods, it was two OR boys and David with a slight lead. Coming out of the woods with less than ½ mile to go, who was in front, running easy? David! 9 seconds off his time from Great Glen, David looked absolutely relaxed and calm as he coasted to his first high school victory. Matt joined him at the finish a minute and 6 places later, having run a strong race of his own. Dylan narrowly missed a PR on only the second race of the year, while Taylor and Ryan continued their strong starts to the fall season. David Q., in his first XC meet, earned the team’s “awesome award” by placing 6th on the team. MV placed a surprising second, ahead of Portsmouth and behind a strong, even without O’Brien, Oyster River team.

Great Glen @ Mt. Washington, August 27th

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Once again we were greeted with toasty temperatures and beautiful weather as we kicked off our season at the Great Glen Invitational at the base of Mt. Washington. Most managed to meet the bus at 6:30 (!), and soon were lulled gently back to sleep by the bus, which seemed to fly along at 40 mph (Oh Joe, where are you?) for hours. 

 

There were noticeably more teams and athletes this year, making for a very competitive meet. The JV girls were sent off on the rolling 5k course first, where we witnessed the first race of potentially the next in a long series of great Hanover runners. Lucy Gluek, in her first high school race, won by 3 1/2 minutes, and almost set the course standard for the day (20:14). Willow, Diandra, Morgan, and Ashley all ran solid opening races, with Willow breaking back into the team top 7 with her time. 

 

The JV boys followed, with  Forrest, Dylan R., Matt L., and Dade representing MV. Dylan won the JV MV battle just ahead of Matt, despite losing both (BOTH??!! How does someone do that? I saw one after and it was still tied! I don't understand) shoes along the way, continuing a new MV Great Glen tradition. Note to coach: add to Monday's practice - shoe tying clinic. All seemed happy enough afterwards, it is always nice to get the first race under your belt.

The girls varsity was the third race of the day, featuring MV's very own 2-time defending champion, Kristie. She took the race out quick, running solo the entire way to win by over a minute, also depriving the JV winner of the fastest time of the day. The early pack of Lauren, Emma, and Kaitlyn was whittled down to just Lauren (see what summer running does, people?!) by the hills at midway, though the others hung tough. Lauren stayed strong right through the finish, getting by two competitors on the final hill. Kaitlyn looked strong and relaxed in her first high school race to place third on the team, while Emma rallied from some hill difficulty to finish in the fourth position. Freshman surprise Noelle continued to impress with her MV's fifth place finish, just behind Emma. A two minute 5k PR, even! Maizie showed she belonged in the varsity race (her first!) by placing as our 6th, while Tristan decided midway though that she really didn't want her breakfast anymore and got rid of it. She kept on running for a gutsy finish though!

Our very awkward T-Shirt winners!

Our very awkward T-Shirt winners!

 

 

 

The traditional trip to Friendly's followed (one server for all of us! She did great), then home finally almost 12 hours after departure. Rumor has it that Thursday's meet will be "crazy hair day". Bring your cameras!

Matt kicks to the finish

Matt kicks to the finish

 

 

The boys varsity race concluded the high school races for the day. David looked strong the entire way, racing as high as second before eventually finishing fourth, giving up no ground in the last mile. Matt R., perhaps distracted by Coach Sandu's enthusiasm at the mile marker, momentarily took a laying down break (i.e., he fell) but soon righted himself to finish very stong. Dylan was MV's third placer, followed by first time racer, sophomore Taylor. Raging River, back from injury, Ryan, and Connor rounded out the scoring for the MV boys.

The final race of the day was the open race, featuring at least 7 (that's a varsity team!) runners with MV connections. First across the line for MV and the race itself was Sandu, whose New Year's resolution was to "not get beat by those Pinkerton kids again", with a time that was good,...but not as good as David's. Coach Irving was next, slowly reeling in Sophia Reynolds for the first mile before unleashing a deadly 2-mile kick. Sophia will need to wait until she's out of 7th grade for her first victory over Irving, who cannot afford to be beaten by kids in the grade he teaches. Sophia did finish strong, with a time that would have put her in MV's top 7. Irving went immediately to the creek to cool off and so cannot vouch for the order of finish of the remaining runners, but it went something like - Noelle's mom, who gained an appreciation for Noelle's 2-minute PR along the way (this is also why this is Coach Irving's least favorite course, because he actually has to run it!), Kaitlyn's dad, who made his daughter proud, and the rest of the boys in the Reynolds family, Michael and dad. I'm pretty sure Michael took first out of the two, fueled by his pack of "share" gummies, of which he shared exactly ZERO.

The race t-shirt

The race t-shirt