If you Google “sidehill wampus”, the 5th image (that returned for me, anyhow), is an image of last year’s girls team taken through a traffic cone. Perhaps we have a new mascot? At least a name for our pre-season camp, finally? Camp Wampus. Sounds legit. Anyhow, in honor of former Coach Neilsen, who would always regale us with stories of the infamous Sidehill Wampus at camp, last year we decided to rename the John Stark course “The Sidehill Wampus”. I labelled it as such on this site last year and attached that picture, and now we are inexorably tied together.
Today found us back at Sidehill Wampus, on a not hot but very humid day. It was a tricky day for a race, as we held our usual long run on Monday, instead of Sunday, and the plan for the long runners was to run very controlled. The Pipeline Loop (all our loops have names, even Poop Loop, past the cow barn fan in Boscawen - especially interesting to run past on a cold February day) ended up being shorter than expected, a rare occurrence with “Irving Miles”, but it allowed us to be a bit more loose with the rules today. So everyone ended up running exactly how they felt like running.
A small meet, it was just us, Sanborn, John Stark, and 3 kids from Manchester West. 2 of those West kids were twin girls, one of whom just happened to be the defending New England Champion and New Hampshire Runner of the Year Julia Robitaille, and her sister, All-New England runner Corrinne Robitaille. Sophia’s plan was for a hard tempo, and it that is what she truly ran (she said 80%) than it was a great sign of things to come. Covering the first mile in third, then moving into second to finish 13 seconds down on Julia R. is a very good tempo. Moving up throughout the race was the trend of the day, as Emma started out in about 7th or 8th place, then just eased forward into 4th place (giving us a score of 1-2 as West didn’t score). Her easy paced race was three minutes faster than last year’s easy paced race. Nice! Our next runner across was Maddy, finally placing where she finished the season before as the next one after Emma. Maddy took the moving forward thing to the extreme, as she not only passed several runners from other teams, but also three from our own team (no doubt giving kind words of encouragement along the way!). Just behind Maddy was Kate, who is becoming very dependable. I also pointed out that just like Abuth, she seems to always run close to a teammate. Soon she will strike out on her own, and look out then! Maizie soon followed, staying tough despite feeling like she was breathing through a straw. Then Tristan, continuing to build toward Thetford, her annual coming-out party. Wrapping up the racing for the MV girls was Sharoll and MacNeill, the happiest runners on the planet. If anyone ever gets a picture of MacNeill NOT smiling while running, I’d like to see it!
Pretty soon it was the boys, with their new cheer taking to the line. “Four on three, four on three, ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR!” This was actually the one year anniversary of the cheer. The meet featured some talent, one solid runner each from Sanborn, John Stark, and West. The John Stark runner got out quick, perhaps looking to defend the home Wampus on senior day. David, perhaps seeing an opportunity to equal his sisters win total, went out even faster and ground out a very fast (tempo?) time to win fairly easily. Behind these two, Matt played follow-the-leader with the West runner, until it came to the last 250 meters of track. Let’s just say Matt gave the running equivalent of “Buh-Bye!” Farther back, the three musketeers of Christian, Ethan, and Connor had a whale of a good time, pack-running and coasting past groups of runners from other schools. They all finished within 7 seconds of each other with very respectable times, essentially winning the meet on the strength of pack running. After that the runners trickled in one-by-one, led as usual by Elisha. Running his best race of 2018 and following Elisha was Andrew, then Isaac in his debut race. Aidan crossed next, and likely felt like he was the only one in the race as there was no one ahead of him for three minutes and no one behind for two. Truly on his own. Ryan managed to outkick Lucas right at the end, while Mitchell, dreaming about his puppy - the current cutest puppy in the world - wrapped up the day for MV.
ON TO THE HAY BALES!!