Our first home meet was a pleasant little 3-team duel with Coe-Brown and Lebanon. Sadly, the rain passed to our south and the ravine slip-and-slide never materialized. Sadly for the spectators, that is! With early arrivals of all teams, we were able to actually start at the prescribed time, which had everyone headed home by the time our normal practice ends. It won’t be that case at our next home meet! With the stress (created by my not-so-great planning) of getting finish line volunteers out of the way (actually, my girls writer arrived midway through the girls race - she didn’t know I already had a job for her:) and the superb help of former coach Nielsen, the race was ready to go off.
The girls race featured Coe-Brown, the 6-time defending DII State Champs, as well as the top two returning DII runners in CB’s Alli Pratt and MV’s Kristie Schoffield. While the fireworks never developed between the top runners as they had more long-range objectives to focus on, the race featured plenty of drama and excitement. All but two of MV’s girls improved their times from Portsmouth, with Kaitlyn and Noelle running PR’s. The team goal was to continue to work on learning to run together as a pack, and this week all of the top 5 stayed together almost to the two mile mark. At that point Kristie and Lauren started working their way up the race standings, with the other three not far behind. Not far behind them Tristan was continuing her comeback from a stress fracture and also running an improved race. By the end, the entire top 5 had caught and passed CB’s 5th runner (when was the last time that happened?), although CB’s other 4 occupied 4 of the top 5 spots. Noelle added some last-minute drama as she made a wrong turn coming into the finish line (we’ll fix those arrows, Noelle, thanks for bring them to our attention!) and gave up her brief stint as MV’s 4th runner. So long as it is MV, no matter who it is though! Team-wise, CB won easily, followed by MV and Lebanon in third, the order expected.
The boys side of course also featured Coe Brown, but unlike the girls this year, the boys are the heavy favorites to defend their DII team title and showed why today. Despite running part of the race as a tempo, the entire front end of the race was a red wave with one lone blue runner out front. That lone blue runner was David, who went into the race with a distinct goal of taking down Colton Ham’s home course (all variations) sophomore course record. His motivation propelled him to an early sizable lead that maxed out at around 10 seconds. Back down the course about 10,000 CB runners later Matt and Dylan G. were practicing their own little bit of pack running. Behind them River was continuing his comeback from … summer?, and Taylor was plugging along with Ryan though the heat and bees another bit behind. In the end, two CB boys reeled in David, led by the third-returning DII runner Zach Richards (16:45 at Derryfield last year). Briefly dropping to third, David showed off his rapidly-improving long range kick to move back up to second and narrowly miss the win in a huge 19-second sophomore record. Dylan managed to outkick beestung Matt for second, breaking up the Reynolds for the first time this season, while River and Taylor rounded out the top 5. The team ran well to place third as expected; while not their best meet ever the effort was superb and their attitude and post-race strides and cores showed the best is yet to come.