Home Duel 9/17/19

Boys Start

Boys Start

“There’s a hole in the bridge, Coach Irving, Coach Irving,

There’s a hole in the bridge, Coach Irving a hole.”

Maddy Flying Home

Maddy Flying Home

I had actually completely forgot that I watched Elisha lose a foot through the bridge at the last meet until Alexis pointed it out yesterday. No big deal, buy decking, bring my homeroom down, and fix it. Of course, 7th-graders...managed to break another board, while discovering that what I thought was a hole in one board was actually a hole in two. So...3 boards replaced an hour before the meet, but...there was another one that would not survive the meet! My wife came to the rescue, and with the construction expertise of Nicky and Maddy, the bridge was restored just before the first course walkers came into view. Yay! Meanwhile, Sandu managed to mark the entire course and my trustworthy chute officials had arrived and were ready to go. The first race was won, the race to competently host a meet!

Anyhow, it was a wonderful day to race, cool and dry, and the runners were instructed to run or race however they felt. Some chose to tempo, some chose to race, while most of the boys team chose to HAMMER! Plymouth, Windham, John Stark, and Souhegan’s JV team were on the docket for the day (Souhegan never runs their varsity at this meet, they come and run a workout instead).

Sisters? Should Be. Sam and Emma Finishing.

Sisters? Should Be. Sam and Emma Finishing.

For the girls race, Sophia took it out quick, although around the halfway mark I asked what percentage she was running at - 80, 90, or 100? She looked at me like I was joking and said “neither”. When asked later, she said she was running at “55%”. This from a girl who won by 66 seconds and moved up to 5th in the All-Time Ravine Home Course List. Maddy was the next across, fully racing to make up for her DNF on Sunday. Clearly recovered, she came three seconds from her all-time PR! The next two in the race were Emma and mini Emma, aka Samantha. Running to plan, they cruised easily past probably 20 girls over the last two miles, making things look a lot better for the team score than it looked at the mile mark (although a team win was certainly not in the list of goals at the start). With elder Sophia absent, a new 5th place runner was needed to secure the team score for MV. And that place went to...Violet! Almost breaking 24, it was a great race for her, and a huge improvement from Sunday. Behind Violet, most of the girls ran season bests - it was just that kind of a day! The team win did go to MV after all, putting a cherry on top of a great day. Surprisingly, the scores added up to the fourth best team time on the current course (since 2012), about 30 seconds better than the last meet.

Marshall Going Sub-20!

Marshall Going Sub-20!

The boys had decided as a team to take advantage of the good weather and make a race of it. After a fast start that saw things pretty evenly balanced between Windham and MV, things settled down with a Windham trio leading with Ethan stuck on behind, trailed by Mark. Ethan continued his fantastic fall, running his best time on the course and scoring a 9th spot on the course All-Time list. Congratulations to him! Mark raced a great last mile, breaking 19, very impressive for a freshman. Isaac continued to lower his time as well, while Marshall broke the great 20 minute barrier for the first time, tying Coach Irving’s 9th grade PR. Although Marshall, you really have to do it at Manchester for it to count! Wrapping up the scoring was the one guy with specific instructions, Christian, who for the record followed the instructions perfectly. When the dust settled, Windham had rather destroyed the field with 17 points, but MV was next with 57, defeating Plymouth, John Stark, and Souhegan’s JV (phew).

Jack Racing To Another PR!

Jack Racing To Another PR!






John Stark Sidehill Wampus 9/10/10

Boys Pack Post-Energy Bar

Boys Pack Post-Energy Bar

Sidehill Wampus

Sidehill Wampus

Sidehill Wampus time! Based off a Coach Neilsen (former XC coach, current track coach) tale of an animal with two feet shorter than the other two, the Sidehill Wampus is our name for the John Stark course, where sidehilling is the name of the game. A rather flat course, but lumpy, rocky, rooty (right Elisha?), and sidehilly. XC at it's...most angled. A small Tuesday meet, the teams included the host, John Stark, Pelham, Sanborn, and West. On the girls side MV and John Stark were the only teams with enough runners for a full team, however, while all the teams scored for the boys with the exception of West. By the way, when Googling “Sidehill Wampus”, the 3rd image result was a team picture (through a traffic cone” of the girls team 2 years ago, and the 9th image was last year’s captain, Maizie. Maybe she IS the Wampus!

Off to the races!

Off to the races!

The girls took of first, with a goal of keeping all the top 5 together as long as possible and still snagging the individual win (it's just nice to win). They managed two miles and every competitor save one, looking like Pac Man gobbling up fruit as they picked off one runner after another. Breaking apart at the two mile mark, Sophia, Sophia, and Emma crossed the finish as a united pack of one, confusing the chute officials. I can look at the film later to find out the truth...or not. Then the lone John Stark runner to break up the sweep, followed by Samantha and Madisyn in another tie. Final score, MV 17, John Stark, 38. Not a perfect score, but pretty close. Small factoid, we lost here last year 35 to 30. Great workout/race day by all the runners, with a special shout-out to Theresa, who continues to look like it's the easiest thing in the world, despite nor running for a week due to illness. She finished 6th, while Violet landed in the top seven yet again.

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On to the boys race, where Mark blazed out in the lead, followed by Ethan. For a moment Christian was the last one on the course, as he dropped his energy bar and had to go back for it. Energy bar, you ask? I have no idea; all know is that Christian and the group he was running with managed to eat the whole thing by the finish. Looking for a bit like he might win the whole thing, Ethan eventually crossed in second, his best finish ever. Mark zipped across in 4th, not bad for a 9th grader! The rest of the crew, inspired by the boys pack running, decided on their own to give that a whirl and came surprisingly close to winning the meet (although they probably would have won otherwise, we coaches are happy they ran the way that they did, as it was fun for them, fun for us, and nice to build the team). Isaac unleashed his trademark-infringing (from Christian) kick to place as MV's 3rd, while Marshall outkicked Christian (merry early Christmas) for 4th to Christian's 5th.

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To wrap this up, I'd like to give special recognition to the injured crew who show up every day anyhow to support the team or to try to run. We had a couple girls run part of the race and pull out, just to get a bit of a run in. It's never fun to stop, but perhaps better to try - that's bravery. There are of course those whose injuries keep them from the starting line completely - but they are still there, every race, every practice. Trust - you will each heal, and you will be all the tougher for it!

Great Glen Invitational 9/08/19

Results Link Soon…

Great Glen Champions!

Great Glen Champions!

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What a beautiful backdrop for a successful day! Although Mt. Washington never completely came out of the clouds, the air was dry and the temperatures were cool, perfect conditions for some early season racing. After rolling out of the school parking lot at 6:35 (our best start ever!), two hours later we were at the course. Great Glen is certainly one of the most eclectic races in the state, with teams fro every corner of the state, including three of the largest and highest ranked boys teams (Keene, Pinkerton, and Nashua North), along with some of the smallest (Pittsburg/Canaan, Gorham, Profile). While the aforementioned boys teams were all ranked in the top 10 statewide, no top 10 girls teams were there, although Hanover is 4th ranked in DII and one of the states most continually successful teams.



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Being an Invitational, the JV races started off the day. With the promise of a t-shirt to the top ten, Nicole and Carlie each got out to great starts. While she slipped to 11th with a mile to go, Nicole rallied over the final stretch to finish 10th and snag the first t-shirt of the day. Carlie ran a great race, finishing only 40 seconds behind in 15th. Smiley MacNeill (18th), and Anna "Herrmannator"(29th) each ran under 30 minutes, while Emmaleigh (30th), Alexis (35th), Victoria (36th), and Taylor (39th) rounded out the JV team.




We had five toe the line for the boys JV race, with Jack finishing as the top MV boy in 42nd place. Tim ran a great race to place 50th, as did Ryan in 59th. Aidan (81st) was successful in simply running, as it was his first run in several days, while Mitchell ran one of his best times ever to finish 82nd).




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In the girls varsity, the team depth was not quite as intimidating as on the boys side, but Hanover had placed ahead of us earlier in the week at home, while Kennett, with it's massive roster, is always a solid team come State Meet time. Early in the race, the work we'd put in over the early season to operate as a team was evident, as 1/2 mile into the race the Sophia's were side-by-side in first, having put Tuesday's meet winner from Hanover in the rear-view. Not far behind was Emma and Sam (surprise!), and it was hard to tell who was happier - Samantha for keeping up with Emma or Emma when she realized Sam was right with her. The smile on Emma's face at that moment, knowing that a teammate was with her, was the highlight of the day for this coach. There was zero competition between them, only shared strength from knowing a teammate was near. Maddy quickly zoomed by, and at that moment it became obvious that it would be a good day, better than good if Sam could hang on. I was able to make it to near the 2 mile mark, and things were looking good up front. Sophia10 was about 10 meters ahead of Sophia9, and no one else was in sight. A slight misdirection by the leading Sophia, and they were back together again. Emma was still running well in 5th, while Samantha...was hanging on! 11th, but looking great! And Maddy was just behind! At the finish line, Sophia9 crossed as the girls winner, with Sophia10 crossed a few seconds later, giving up a bit over the final mile with a tweaked ankle. Emma crossed in 6th, while Sam had her breakthrough race (nice when it comes early!), catching one girl for good measure to place 10th and earning MV a total of 5 t-shirts. Maddy stayed strong to place 22nd, while Violet again had solid race for MV, finishing 45th, and Cassidy, a late addition to varsity due to Theresa's being sick, ran a solid race to finish 49th. In the end, the girls took home the 1st place plaque for the first time ever, and recorded a win over Hanover, something I'm not sure has happened before (is that possible?).





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On to the boys race, where the big guns from Keene, Pinkerton, and Nashua North were ready to roll. The MV boys could've cared less who else was lined up, they just wanted to run. These guys have done nothing but impress us with their racing ability, and today was nothing different. Ethan ran a fantastic race, never backing down and ran a crazy fast time, blowing away his PR to run a 17:48 in 16th. He was also only the second DII runner to cross the line, and that's only because he got nipped at the line by a Hanover runner. The rest of the boys were not far behind either, as each had their best race to date. Christian used his trademark kick to fly by 5 or 6 runners over the final meters to finish in 35th, while Mark was just behind in 38th, running under 19 for the first time. As a freshman! Breaking 20 for perhaps the first time and finishing 4th for the team was Isaac "Space Bear", with his own kick, and finishing as MV's all-important 5th runner in 20:22 was Elisha. Barely a second back, and knocking on the door of the 20-minute barrier himself was Marshall, while Oliver demonstrated that he belonged in the varsity race, breaking 22 minutes and placing 79th. The boys placed 6th of 13 scoring teams, once again surpassing expectations.

T-Shirt Winners!

T-Shirt Winners!

Home Duel 9/03/19

The Boys Start

The Boys Start

Cassidy Gunning For Home

Cassidy Gunning For Home

Bees, Bees, BEES! Actually, some sort of ground wasp, but you get the picture. Course is marked, volunteers are arranged, schools have showed up...and bees on the course. Not just a couple, either, but BILLIONS! Especially after Sandu tried to plug the hole with sticks. Kudos to him for bravery! Also kudos to the sacrificial middle schoolers who “discovered” them. It would have been worse on a course walk! By the way, kids, it’s never the first one through who gets stung. Moral? RUN FASTER! In the end, we had several heros who saved the day for us. Sarah Lester, SRen’s mom, who donated two cans of wasp killer to the cause, then Rebekkah Herrmann, who not only donated two more, but stayed there for half the girls race to stand guard. Also, another shout out to Sandu, who sacrificed with another sting while spraying (I escaped unharmed, and I thought Sandu was faster!). To the best of my knowledge none of the 185 athletes were stung! A final shout-out to Lee Laughlin and Leah Fallon, who dodged sweat showers and the occasional regurgitated lunch to record names at the end of the chute. Thank you!

Emmaleigh Unleashing a Monster Kick

Emmaleigh Unleashing a Monster Kick

On to the races. Joining MV was Lebanon, making their return to DII, the Bow Army (there’s so many!), Plymouth, and perennial power Hanover. Once again for the girls, the game-plan was to continue to work on team running, and getting stronger as a unit. And once again, the girls responded wonderfully, storing their egos and quest for individual glory, saving it for another day (Saturday?). Today the race played out similarly to Friday, with the front pack hanging tight through the mile, before slowly whittling down to SRen and SReb (I’m trying out new nicknames each week to see which one sticks). The slight difference was the sprint was for second, rather than the overall win. Both laughing as they came down the final straight, SRen turned her jets up just a hair more to get the call at the line. For the record, it was track coach Mullen who made the call, and not SRen’s dad. We think. Emma rolled in mere seconds later, all strangely close to their time from Friday on a much more rough day/course. Things changed soon, however, as Samantha cruised in at 4th position, almost 3 minutes up on Friday’s time. Maddy was 5th for MV, also taking a chunk of time off (4 minutes better than last year!). Behind the front pack, there was a second pack tasked with running together through the first mile who also did an exceptional job team running. Taking the 6th spot again was Theresa, improving almost 4 minutes from Friday, while right behind her was Violet, snagging the final varsity spot for Saturday. Violet was in a land of her own for much of the race, as I wasn’t sure where she would fit in, but now we know! Next in was Cassidy, improving a whopping 5 minutes, then Carlie (over 4 minutes improved), Bea (5 minutes), Nikki (2 ½), Anna (3 minutes), MacNeil (1 ½), Emmaliegh (4 ½), Victoria (OVER 5 minute improvement!), Liz (1 minute), and Taylor, who must really enjoy those tough hills and muggy conditions of the Apple Orchard. No worries Taylor, we’ll be back their soon!

Team-wise, Hanover won, although MV was very close behind (38 to 45). Once our 4th and 5th close it up a little, look out! And we will continue to take chunks of time off!

Determination!

Determination!

On to the boys race, where we were just letting them race as this team is still such a big unknown. And what a pleasant surprise today was! Back in June we really were not sure what to expect from these boys, but probably not an opening meet like today! Ethan took things out scary fast, and while I didn’t see him at the mile and assumed he had ran himself into the ground it turned out he was just hiding. He not only ran fast, he ran his all-time XC PR (personal record), in the first meet! Ethan is officially our new face of what summer running can do...or is he…? Next across the line, healthy despite almost trying to get hit by a car or tossed out of Whales Tail, our Next Great Hope - Mark. I swear, Sandu has been talking about this kid since before he was born, and he didn’t disappoint, placing as our #2 and almost breaking 20 minutes in his first ever high school race. Next was an epic battle between Isaac (Space Bear) and Christian. What a kick! I thought from my vantage point that it was Isaac, but no, the senior pulled rank and got there first. If he had given one more high five in the race he might not have had it, but just enough was there. MV’s 5th runner was Elisha in 21:16, looking smooth and...wait, what? Elisha? 21:16?!? Every year I say “consistent summer running will take 60 to 90 seconds off your time”, assuming you weren’t a consistent runner before. It looks like I’ll have to modify that, as Elisha took a whopping 125 seconds off his best time on this course from last year! He is therefore the new face of summer running. Awesome! Anything is possible with hard work, people! Remind me to tell you what place Ethan got in the Middle School State Meet his 7th grade year. These kids make me proud. Speaking of proud, our likely next finisher was Marshall, but he did not race. But what he did do was show up and support his teammates, cup of ice to the mouth (minor surgery) and everything. Finishing in actual 6th spot for MV was Oliver, followed shortly by Jack. Connor had a monster kick of his own, catching 3 kids in the process. Tim went under the 30 minute barrier, while Trevor, Buffalo, and Aidan wrapped up the running for MV.

Kick Of The Day!

Kick Of The Day!

In the team scoring, Hanover once again took home the honors followed by a strong Bow squad. MV came in a surprising 3rd, defeating both Lebanon and Plymouth.

Oyster River Duel 8/30/19

Finding a Bit of Shade

Finding a Bit of Shade

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Today was an interesting day. The boys got the day off while the girls got a fairly brutal introduction to high school cross country (of course, for die-hard XC-ers, that's the best kind).

So, to the South we went today, to race NH #4 ranked Oyster River, Portsmouth, and St. Thomas. What was a fairly pleasant day in Penacook was a muggy sweatfest in Lee, where the race was held. A brand new course, we were the first to ever race it and experience the wonderful rolling hills, muddy holes, and sweltering sun of the orchard. Bonus - winner gets the course record! What looks flat on Google Maps is Most. Certainly. Not. Beautiful though! The girls were first to the line, and after hollering their way through the season's first pre-race cheer (pretty sure some were lip-synching), the largest group of MV athletes to toe an XC start line were off. Executing the pre-race plan to perfection, Sophia9, Sophia10, Emma, Maddy, and a bonus runner in the form of Samantha formed a nice tight pack through the first mile, somewhere in the teens of the race. Not too far back was a second nice bunch, made up of Nicole, Cassidy, Bea, and Theresa. The rest were strung out through the field, looking alert and competitive. Shortly after the mile mark Sophia9/10 and Emma started carving up the runners in front of them, chit-chatting about the pleasant weather as they closed in on the front running Oyster River girls. It became pretty much every girl for herself behind them, with some (especially from other teams) just struggling to finish. By mile two, and one to go, the tandem Sophia's eased past the lone surviving Oyster River girl to take the lead, while Emma was not far behind with fight in her eyes. MV girls ran very strong up the hills today, although the top of the hills is another story (you know who you are :). There was another coach there who made sure to tell me one of her training "secrets" - "I train them to run over the top of hills." Um, thanks for the tip. That workout is coming. We have to keep some things up our sleeves. Maddy was continuing to run well throughout the race, as she is essentially the best hill runner in the world, while Samantha earned her "tough girl" patch and hero status on the big hill, not only overcoming a big moment of doubt, but then passing multiple runners over the final mile. That last mile by Sam-a-lama was the key to the team score at the end. And don't look back, because Carlie, fresh out of her two year retirement, was sneaking up on the entire field all the way to the line.


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In the end, the Sophia's took 1st and 2nd (Sophia9 by a nose, although both were credited with the same score), while Emma followed closely, giving MV a 1-2-3 finish. Believe it or not, but Maddy ran over 2 minutes faster than her first race last year, and finished a very solid 14th. Samantha rounded out the scoring with a 21st place finish, amazing since a mile earlier it was a question of whether she would finish at all. Looking effortless down the final straightaway and placing 6th on the team was Theresa, barely holding off "firefeet" Nicole, who closed out the varsity scoring. Going 1-2-3 is hard to beat in XC, but there is still a gap that we need to work on back to the end of the scoring, and the results were uncertain. Finally, the tally came out...St. Thomas 4th with 67, Oyster River 3rd with 58, Portsmouth 2nd with 55, and MV coming away with the win with 40!