Oyster River - 8/31
Heat, heat, and more heat. So hot that practice was cancelled, which has happened only a couple times in the last decade and a half. Then finally, just in time, cooler temperatures! We really got lucky with the weather for our first meet, hosted by Oyster River. Held on the site of the Bobcat Invitational in two weeks, the duel also featured seacoast teams St. Thomas and Portsmouth.
The first obstacle of the day was getting a full bus. One individual, who shall remain unnamed, had everyone scouring the streets for him when finally he was located...snoozing in bed! 20 minutes late and we were on our way with a complete team. We arrived in plenty of time and were surprised with a donated EZ Up from the Carey-Matthews. Not any old EZ Up, it was the American flag! We were feeling very patriotic under the stars and bars. We decided it would be our “small meet” cover, and haul our monster PRIDE canopy to the big meets. We will be easy to find anywhere!
After a course walk where Maizie once again demonstrated her speed walking skills, it was off to the races. Girls lined up first, with instructions to not push the pace until later in the race. As often happens, however, a Random Racer from another school blazed out to an early lead, so Sophia gave chase. Soon the Random Racer was dispatched, and Sophia was left alone in the lead, with me pleading for her to back off a bit. Emma was content to lurk in about 5th for the first two miles, as Maizie, Addie, and Kate/Katie/Katherine cruised along in the middle of the pack. The girls were given the go-ahead to go for it over the final mile, and Sophia more than doubled her lead, winning by almost a minute and going under the 20 minute mark. I guess she’s undefeated! Emma reeled in the Oyster River girls and had the Portsmouth girl in her sights, but ran out of real estate, finishing third in just over 21 minutes, close to her all time PR. Maizie held steady throughout the race, placing in the top half as well, while Madisyn, fresh off her Grand Champion goat showing that morning at the Hopkinton Fair, suckered the field with a slow start then slowly advanced forward to finish as MV’s 4th runner. Addie, in her first ever XC race, placed as out 5th scorer, while Kate/Katie/Katherine (despite falling and coming home covered in dirt) was only a second or two back. Almost everyone was faster than they were one year ago, which is always the plan. Not a bad opening to the season!
Next up were the boys. DRen and MRen had a slightly tougher field to battle with, as Oyster River boasts three of the top 15 DII returning runners. True to the plan though, the brothers mixed right in with the OR pack and ran their own race. In the end, DRen made it a Reynolds sweep with a fairly easy win, considering the competition. MRen almost made it a Reynolds sweep of the top two, but took a minor wrong turn and lost all momentum at the crucial final stretch. He placed 4th as it was, helping MV break up the OR pack which otherwise would have swept the top 8 spots. Ethan was next across, following 30 seconds later by Sleepyhead, both in the top half of the race. Connor was 5th man, wrapping up the scoring for the Pride. Despite a 5 point loss to Portsmouth and a third overall, the boys have reason to be optimistic as the 3-5 runners were substantially faster than one year ago.
Next up is a duel at home that looks to be HOT, with John Stark and Plymouth visiting.