Our much-anticipated first major meet, the Bobcat Invite, got off to a great start as my drive-to-school daydreams came true in the form of Tony in the driver’s seat of the bus. “I’ll stop anywhere you want!” he said, and was very patient later as I had him take two wrong turns on the way to the meet. A slightly lighter load than normal (missing three athletes), but spirits were high on the drive down Route 4.
Upon arriving, we inspected the famous hay bales of the course, and discovered Mitchell (who had notified Connor, who had notified me, and then I promptly forgot as I tried to figure out where the other two were) arriving just after the bus. Also arriving with Mitchell, a large table and two (TWO!) bowls of Mitchell’s moms famous pasta salad. Accompanied with the Reynolds brownies and large bag of apples, there was plenty of food to go around post-race.
As the mugginess of the day began to increase, the Junior Varsity races were sent on their way by the echoing blasts of muskets. In the girls race MacNeil ran by far her best race of the year, while Ashley accomplished one of her pre-season goals in running a continuous mile. In the boys race, Elisha continued dropping time and getting quicker, while Abuth moved up throughout the race. I admit I may have yelled at Abuth with my limited spanish from Looney Tunes cartoons (Speedy Gonzalez), who knows what I actually said but it did seem to work as he looked quizzically at me and actually sped up. Everyone had a great time leaping over the hay bales, although I only saw one attempt at a flip, and it resulted in a hard butt landing.
On to the girls Varsity race, and our first meeting with some of DII’s top racers. Sophia got things going with Lauren of Milford and Arielle of Souhegan, as expected. Going into the woods Sophia was just ahead, as planned, while coming out of the woods she had gapped the competition and the race against the clock was on (as planned). Behind her Emma had a solid start, although she was slightly affected by the heat and work of the week she still managed to stay strong, run a solid time, and earn the 20th place medal. Kate worked her way up to third on the team in her fancy new shoes, just ahead of Maizie, running well in thick heat that usually does not cooperate with her breathing. Tristan wrapped up the scoring for the girls, faster than last year, and seemingly unaffected by the girl face-planting in front of her off the hay bale.
On the boys side of things, David was the defending champion and ran like one. He managed to keep us on our toes, as he shot to the lead, got caught by second place and almost third and fourth, pulled back up to the shoulder of the leader with a mile to go, and finally pulled away over the last woods loop to win fairly easily in another course record. It was an impressive race, and I (Coach Irving) was forced to tuck my lecture away about going out too fast to save for another day. I still have the lecture, David, be careful. With the win, David and Sophia have each won 4 races and not won 1, and each has a course record to their name (David may have John Stark’s Wampus record, but who knows?). Matt ran a tough race, a bit affected like Emma by the heat and work of the week, but just missing a medal in 24th place. Next across was Ethan, slowly approaching the sub-19 mark. Following Ethan was Christian, who karate-kicked off the hay bales to win “ Best MV Performance Off a Hay Bale” of the year. He also came painfully close to a sub-20, but hey, the jump/kick was worth it. Connor wrapped up the scoring with a much improved time over a year ago. Things are looking good!