What a day for cross country!
A day that cooled and cleared as the races went on welcomed us to Derryfield Park on the first day of fall. Our first day of cool racing, and it hardly could have gone any better. It was the kind of day that makes you remember why you spend every day from December 1st counting down until XC season arrives again (or maybe it’s just me, but I doubt it!). Everyone arrived in great spirits after a delicious PIZZA (homemade) supper the night before in Andover, home of the one and only WalterTheDog. With three races per gender, we had the opportunity to enter runners in a race that best suited them, and we ended up with athletes in 5 races on the day.
Girls JV “C” Race
Our first race of the day, and MacNeill had company this year. She lined up with Ashley and Sharoll to get things going for MV. Sharoll had a great start, and a great finish to cross the line in one of her better races of the year. MacNeill had her typical slower start (to psych out the competition?), then put the pedal down to finish (with a smile, of course) just under 27 minutes with one of her best races ever. Ashley also had her best race of the year so far, and just like that the day was looking up for MV.
Boys JV “C” Race
Due to illness, missed busses, and changing races, Lucas was the only MV entrant (from an original 5) in this race. Far from being “lonely Lucas”, however, he quickly make friends with the boys from Milford (Lucas: “where are you from?” Milford boy, pointing at MILFORD on his uniform, “Milford”). Dealing with knee issues have slowed Lucas’s recent races, however today he was not to be denied a good race. He crossed the line under 30 minutes, a whole 8 minutes faster than Tuesday!
Boys JV Race
Losing Wylie to shinsplints brought the team down to 4 runners, so Isaac was “promoted” from JV “C”. It was a good move, as you will see! Along with Isaac; Elisha, Andrew, Tomas, and Abuth lined up at box #23. Elisha got off to a great start, followed by the rest of the crew. Abuth started in the way back, but quickly progressed up until by the mile he was on Elisha’s shoulder, along with...Isaac! The solid pack of three was quickly followed by Andrew and Tomas. Coming out of the woods and into the finishing stretch it was clear things were going well - Abuth and Isaac both went under 24 minutes for the first time while Elisha did as well, while behind them Andrew and Tomas (with a cast on his arm) might not have run PR’s but did run good enough for a decent JV team result. As a team they placed 37th, defeating 4 teams (which may not sound like much but it’s 4 more than last week!).
Girls Small School Championship
Going into the race, MV has had a grand total of one individual winner of the Manchester Invitational, Kristie Schoffield in 2015 (who currently runs for the nationally 6th ranked Boise State Broncos). Bobcat/Great Glen Invite winner Sophia was listed as one of the favorites, so the potential to add to the short list was certainly known, although with all the out-of-state entries it was hard to tell who the competition would be. Emma has been on fire recently as well, running a PR at Great Glen and placing 20th at Bobcat. Maizie, Tristan, and Maddy have all been improving as well, so with the good weather we expected some good results. We were not let down, either, as Sophia ran to a rather easy win despite some setbacks mid-race, and Emma ran a PR (!) to finish 16th and win a BLING medal along with Sophia. Maddy has been on a bit of a running awakening recently, and knocked almost a minute off her best time this season, while coming within 30 seconds of her all-time PR. Speaking of a running awakening, Tristan crushed her season PR by almost a minute as well, finishing as our 4th runner. She looked great at the top of the hill! Maizie pulled off the magic trick of finishing as our 5th runner yet scoring as our 4th. We think she ran a 24:41 (solid), but the scoring system missed her for some reason, and when she reappeared in the results she was one place ahead of Tristan in 24:21. It does not affect the team scoring, so we’ll let it be. What a great day by the girls! 14th of 34 teams!
Boys Small School Championship
David, Ethan, Connor, Christian, and Matt were entered in this race. We again had a pre-race favorite in David, although to read the preview you got the impression that the “favorite” favorite was another runner that David beat last week. Fuel for the fire. Also at stake were household bragging rights, as so far DRen and SRen were tied for wins on the season. In the end, David executed his pre race strategy perfectly, running away over the final mile to victory, MV’s 3rd individual Manchester Invite win (first by a boy) and second on the day. While Matt was still suffering from a respiratory ailment, he still finished respectfully as our #2 boy, helping the team in the process. While no one set a PR today, the Three Musketeers all came fairly close, with Christian and Connor going under 20 for the first time this season (Ethan already had). Ethan was again our third man, running only 2 seconds slower than his PR and knocking on the door of the 18’s. Christian unleashed a massive effort over the final mile to improve about 20 spots, while Connor ran a much more aggressive race out of the gate and had the solid time result to show for it. As a team they placed 19th of 47, absolutely fantastic!
Some interesting statistics on the day, when all races are compared. MV boys finished as the 8th DII team (I think), while the girls were a surprising 7th, based on time. Most, but not all, of the DII teams were there.Both David and Sophia ran the top DII times of the day, and both also ran the third best New Hampshire times of the day. David moved from 5th to 2nd on MV’s all-time record list (5 seconds off the record), while Sophia entered the list at number 3 (9 seconds off the record) . Emma, it should be noted, is now the 1st runner off the list, as she is 11th all-time. The boys team also ran the 10th fastest team time run by an MV team at Derryfield.
All in all, this was a perfect day - the kind of day we run cross country for!