A cool, drizzly day did not dampen the spirits of the MV runners at the Woods Trail race held at Thetford Academy in Vermont on Saturday. The Woods Trail race has a very unique format; it starts with a middle school meet, then has 10 races, 5 per gender that are divided based on ability. All 5 races per gender are then combined to determine team scoring, essentially creating one monster race (55 teams in the boys race this year, with 48 in the girls). No JV race, all runners have the opportunity to compete equally and have the opportunity to place high in their respective races.
While Merrimack Valley did not bring our middle schoolers, Andover brought one, Sophia Reynolds. Sophia started things off in a big way for current and future MV runners by placing third of the 209 girls in the race. The top 7th-grader as well!
In the 5th seed girls race, Ashley was MV’s lone representative. Tearing around the Thetford course, Morty’s Monster proved not insurmountable as she crushed her previous PR by a whopping 8 minutes! In the boys 5th seed, Josh had the run of the race with his own PR. Mitchell, Lucas, and Dade also competed in seed 5, finishing in that order.
The 4th seed girls race featured Diandra, moving up from seed 5 a year earlier, and Willow and Maizie. Diandra ran a very respectable 26 and change for her best time of the year, while Willow and Maizie worked together the entire race. Willow took charge up the hills, while Maizie let her legs roll on the downhills. Benefitting from a downhill finish, Maizie finished a mere 2 seconds ahead of Willow, both in the top quarter of the race. The boys 4th seed saw the majority of the MV boys team competing. Holding off a fast-charging Taylor, Matt L. won the mini-race of 4th-seed MV boys, a mere one second ahead of Taylor. Both finished in the top half of the race, putting all 5 of MV’s scorers in the top 50%. Next across the line was River, followed 8 seconds later by Ryan. Only 4 seconds behind Ryan was “new shoes” Connor, in yet another PR. PR’s at Thetford are worth something! Mason, Eli, and David Q. wrapped things up for MV.
In the 3rd seed, Tristan was the lone girl for the Pride. Based on her times thus far, she really should have been in the 4th seed race, but seeing as she won that race last year we decided the 3rd seed would make more sense. In the end, lathered up in IcyHot, she ran the race of the day and her best race in a year to place 14th, earning the day’s first ribbon for MV (top 15 earn one). Tristan’s back! For the boys, Dylan was in a similar situation, all by himself. Running a very smart race, Dylan moved up throughout the race to kick into 15th place and earn a ribbon of his own.
On to the second seed, with the majority of the girls varsity. Emma, Lauren, Noelle, and Kaitlyn got off to a somewhat slow start, but were able to find some running room later in the race to progressively move up. Lauren moved all the way up to a top-20 position, but not quite good enough for a ribbon. Noelle cruised in a few seconds later, followed by Emma, who was SO happy there were NO MORE HILLS! Finally Kaitlyn crossed, having passed probably a third of all runners in the second half of the race. Matt R. was the boys lone representative in the 2nd seed race, but what a race he had! Starting out well back in about 48th place (at the mile), he patiently moved up and cruised the downhills in true Reynolds style to snag the third ribbon of the day in 15th place, and top 100 overall.
Finally, the first seed. Luckily happening late in the day, Kristie returned from 5 grueling hours of SAT-taking to race. Slightly disappointed in her 8th-place finish, she can hold her head high having broken 20 minutes (only 4 seconds off her New Englands time from 2015) and placing ahead of 581 other girls. On the boys side, David R. ran a similar race as his brother, moving up impressively throughout the race to eventually finish 27th, and 29th overall.
As a team, the boys finished 22nd of 55 teams, a remarkable improvement over 2015’s 35th place showing, especially considering we graduated our #1 runner from last year. On the girls side, results initially were listed as finishing in 23rd place. Later, the results were modified to show MV as finishing 16th of 48 teams, as compared to 25th last year. Way to show improvement, MV!