A hot day, but much less hot and humid than in year’s past, greeted MV’s runners as they arrived at Portsmouth for our annual dual with DII stalwarts Oyster River and Portsmouth. As usual, the girls course walk was cut short by the need to warm up, and the warm up was cut short by the need to get to the start line and race. On the track?! Yes, it is one of those courses that starts and ends on a track. At least it was in the backwards direction. Under instructions to form up and run as a pack, the MV girls got a too-quick start and while 4 of them were able to group up, it was far from the more mellow run intended. Kristie, Lauren, Kaitlyn, and Emma were able to run together to just past the 2 mile mark, as which point it became every girl for herself. Kristie surprisingly found herself in position to go for the win as the course found it’s way back to the track, and did just that, outkicking Oyster River’s Danielle Slavin, last year’s 5th place runner at D-II and 3rd returner in the division, by one second. Lauren finished a strong second for MV, although every other finisher besides the top two managed to top their time from Great Glen, even though that wasn’t the goal. Kaitlyn, Emma, and Noelle wrapped up the scoring for MV, Noelle by running a very smart conservative race. The girls placed second behind OR, and importantly ahead of Portsmouth. It’s early yet, but Portsmouth is one of the teams standing between MV and it’s goal of reaching the MOC’s for the first time since 2011.
On the boys side, with the state’s preseason pick for top runner Patrick O’Brien of Oyster River running a workout instead, the stage was set for a different winner. Noah Strout of OR ran a 17:10 to finish 22nd at last year’s DII, and would have to be considered the pre-race favorite. As the race played out, there was a small pack of 3-4 OR boys, with David right there with them and Matt just a few seconds back. As they disappeared into the woods, it was two OR boys and David with a slight lead. Coming out of the woods with less than ½ mile to go, who was in front, running easy? David! 9 seconds off his time from Great Glen, David looked absolutely relaxed and calm as he coasted to his first high school victory. Matt joined him at the finish a minute and 6 places later, having run a strong race of his own. Dylan narrowly missed a PR on only the second race of the year, while Taylor and Ryan continued their strong starts to the fall season. David Q., in his first XC meet, earned the team’s “awesome award” by placing 6th on the team. MV placed a surprising second, ahead of Portsmouth and behind a strong, even without O’Brien, Oyster River team.