Finally! A beautiful, cool day. Great Glen at Mt Washington always delivers beautiful weather. I keep saying that and keep thinking I’ll jinx it for the following year, but it hasn’t happened yet (knocks on wood/head). Despite my warnings, at least one athlete set their alarm for pm rather than am, yet still arrived on time (not so for the bus…). 2+ hours after boarding, we pulled in, greeted by cannon fire from the Civil War reenactment across the street. Every year I think, “they should start this race with a cannon!”. Maybe I should say it out loud.
As this was an invitational, the JV girls were up first. We had three entered, MacNeil, Sharrol, and Ashley. All three ran to their best times of the season, courtesy of a redesigned course that was no longer almost ½ miles too long! Following the girls were the boys, with a large contingent representing MV. Notably, Elisha broke 24 for the first time, while Abuth came very close. Following these two were Tomas, Andrew, Aidan, Lucas, Ryan (in his first high school race), and Mitchell, who apparently thought that the area was so beautiful he explored some extra trails. Great racing, boys!
The main event for the girls lined up next, the varsity race. Unfortunately, Nashua South was absent, along with the defending champ and one of NH’s best runners, Callie Coffin. Plenty of talent remained in the field, however, as we would soon see. At the gun, a pack of about 8 runners formed at the front, dominated by Hanover individuals. At the almost-mile, Sophia was bookended by two Hanover runners, while a few seconds back Emma ran with three girls from Plymouth, White Mountains, and Kennett. At some point apparently Sophia had to get aggressive in order to keep from getting pushed off the trail, and took off to eventually win in a very quick 18:37, establishing a course record that is very solid. Emma seems to have turned her weakness into a strength, and moved over the hills in the second mile to pass all but one other girl and place third, in a new PR. Speaking of PR’s, Maddie was next across in a time that is about a month ahead of last year, while right behind her, and somewhat shocked by her massive improvement, was Kate Butt. She probably had the race of the day, as she was a bit under the weather before the race yet still managed a big PR. Wrapping up the scoring for MV was Tristan, toughing it out all the way across the line, clinching a surprise third place for the team.
The almost-final race of the day, the boys varsity, promised fireworks as three solid DI programs showed up: Pinkerton, Nashua North, and Keene. The fireworks started right away, as Matt got tripped up and run over at the gun, emerging from the pile dead last. Despite being bloodied up, he toughed it out to finish a solid 24th. Ahead of him, David was locked in a tight race with a Keene runner. While he was bested in the end by the Keene runner and one from Pinkerton, his time was a great place to start the racing season with. The rest of the crew ran their best time to date this year as well, with Ethan going under 20 already and Christian coming close, while Connor was also under 21 minutes. Despite running only 5 boys, the team managed 6th place out the the 12 team field.
The actual final race, the coaches race, saw two-time defending champion Sandu handing the torch to someone else as he chose to run with Sophia. Sophia ran a superb time, good enough for 14th in the varsity girls race had she run it. Irving “ran” too. He’s got some work to do. Then it was off to home again, with a stop at Friendl...psych...Gorham House of Pizza to fill our bellies.
Next week a training meet at John Stark, then it’s off to the Bobcat Invite, our first big invite, complete with muskets and hay bales. Not one to miss!