Where to start with this meet? It was practically perfect weather for a meet, and the day backed that up. Last year Thetford was our first cool meet and the runners performed remarkably well, this year it was Manchester, and the results were the same. So many PR’s, so many great races! Interestingly, the only 2 individuals who didn’t run their best races of the year ran early, and I think the temperature actually dropped a little as the day progressed. There is something to be said for running in cool temps!
To start at the beginning, Lucas had the honor of being the only MV athlete entered in the 2.1 mile “Frosh” race. Mitchell, it could’ve been you! Eh, what’s an extra mile? Looking very solid at the end, he started off the day well for the Pride. Next up, in another solo effort, was Maizie in the girls JV race. I’m not sure the last time we had a consistant girls JV squad - our team is always about quality, not quantity. That’s not to say we wouldn’t love to have some quantity as well, if someone could just let us know the magic trick of getting the numbers up! XC is such a foreign concept to so many people...but I digress. As previously noted, it was a little warm during the early races. Despite that, Maizie nearly cracked the top half and ran close to her best time of the season.
Closing out the first half of the day was the boys JV race, also the largest of the day with 332 finishers. Despite having three absent runners and Connor in the Frosh race, we had a full scoring team of 6 runners entered. By the end of the race, 4 had run all-time PR’s and one ran his season PR (although to be honest it was his first race of the season). Mason led the charge for MV, flying down the hill after mile 2 and never backing off to almost break 21 minutes, two minutes better than his previous PR set on Tuesday. 31 seconds back was Eli, in his first race of the year. Nice to have you back! David Quinn finished next, probably with his huge trademark kick, although I didn’t hear any roaring from where I was on the course. Fourth on the team was Connor in yet another PR (which is an indicator of how much this team has improved - he runs a PR, yet is 11th on the team. Don’t count Connor out yet, however!). Connor was sneaky, I didn’t see him once on the course, in fact I missed David’s kick because I was back up the trail wondering what happened to Connor. Connor the stealth ninja. With a 5 minute (!) improvement from 4 days earlier, Josh was the final scoring member of the JV team, just nipping the 26-minute mark. With improvements like that, I’m pretty sure there is more time to be taken off! Wrapping things up for the MVJV was Mitchell...had you started your kick maybe 2 seconds earlier, you would have been under 30! Ah, well, solid job on a tough course!
The next races across the Derryfield course were the small school races, during which Patrick O’Brien of Oyster River crushed the field enroute to a 15:22. From what I’ve seen, that is one second off the State Record set by Portsmouth’s Corey Thorne. The actual course record, by the way, is 15:08 from the New England Championships in 2013 (that was a crazy meet, there were actually 5 times faster than O’Brien’s that day, and the girls course record was demolished as well, being taken down to 17:15).
Next up, girls Large School (MV is one of the smallest “Large Schools” in the race, the cutoff is 800 and our student population is just over that). 7 racers, 3 all-time PR’s and 4 season-bests. A very, very solid day! Kristie, the 2014 Large School champion (back when there was a separate “Elite” race), raced her way to 5th overall and the honor of being recognized on stage. This was Kristie’s first time under 19 at Derryfield, and improves her third position on the all-time MV Derryfield list, second senior. She also ran to DII’s 2nd fastest time of the day, and NH’s 4th fastest overall. Next to cross was Noelle, in her first time under 22 minutes and first time as MV’s #2 runner. Her time puts her at 8th on the MV all-time Derryfield 9th-grader list. Just behind Noelle was Lauren, who just barely missed her PR, breaking 22 for the second time in her life. Emma followed in 4th, running a very confident race, taking almost a minute off her XC PR. Rounding out the scoring five was Kaitlyn, running a conservative first half then blazing past everyone to run under 23 for the first time. Tristan continued her return to form running a season-best, while Willow closed out the varsity team with her season-best time as well. Overall, the team finished an impressive 18th of 33 teams, running a team time average of 21:30. That time is good for 10th on MV’s All-Time Derryfield team list, only one second behind the Manchester time of the 2008 team who went on to place as runners-up that year (running a 20:22 team average). We haven’t put a team on that list since 2011! In the DII merge we placed 6th (ahead of a couple teams that placed ahead of us in the actual meet - scoring is odd like that). Interestingly, Oyster River was 4th in the merge, but we would beat them in a head-to-head race. The 4th through 8th places on the merge are essentially tied. It is looking like an exciting year!
Finally, the last race of the day, the boys Large School. To summarize, the boys ran a magnificent race. Six all-time PR’s and one season-best. It doesn’t get much better than that! David ran the 5th fastest DII time of the day, and the 21st fastest NH time. He also ran onto MV’s all-time top 10 list in 9th, knocking off Kyle Wiley (MV ‘12). Sorry Kyle. Matt R. broke 18 for the first time ever, and was DII’s 23rd finisher. Matt is now 6th on MV’s sophomore Derryfield list, and David is first (before David, Colton Ham owned the top spot for MV for all grades on Derryfield and our home course, David has now replaced him on both lists for 9th and 10th grades). Meanwhile, Dylan broke 19 for the first time in a big way, by 18 seconds! Matt L. chopped two minutes off his PR from Tuesday, almost breaking 20 minutes, and becoming one of the favorites for the 4th seed race at Thetford in the process. 4th seed kids aren’t supposed to run that fast! River followed Matt to his season-best time, while Taylor and Ryan also took enormous time off their PR’s. It is particularly impressive in Ryan’s case - a 7-year veteran runner usually doesn’t take such huge chunks of time off. Two PR’s in one week!
As a team, MV finished 26th of 38 teams, and even more impressively finished 8th out of 14 DII teams when merged with only DII schools (not all DII schools were represented, of course). For a team who finished second-to-last the two previous years, that is very exciting!