Interesting new poll on the New Hampshire XC website this week about the 5 hardest courses in NH. What was truly interesting about it is the fact that we (MV) routinely run on 4 of the 5, with the 5th being Hollis, which we used to race at before we changed our “normal” schedule (Derryfield is in the lead of the poll, although some are hindered in the voting by not being run on as much, like Great Glen). Friday brought us to one of those 5 toughest courses, Plymouth, at the John Sanborn Plymouth Invitational. A beautiful course, winding for part of its length along the Baker river, it finishes by rising for almost a mile up the “Easy Button” hill. Comprised mostly of local teams with Oyster River randomly thrown in, it is a nice mellow meet before the championship season begins.
In a switcheroo, the boys run first here (as they do next week). With no JV race, all boys lined up with 8 other teams. With Oyster River only bringing their JV teams, DRen was the favorite going into the race, up against a couple strong Kingswood runners. Down by the river at the mile, all three were together with DRen looking relaxed and in control. Sure enough, by the time they came out onto the field ¾ of a mile later he had established control of the race and would go on to cruise to victory by 15 seconds in 17:15. Running in loose-fitting trainers (apparently the hills were not enough of a challenge for him), MRen came across the line in 5th place, followed only 15 seconds later by Matt L in 7th. Three in the top 7! That is a good start to any race. Ethan was next, in at 31st overall, with his second sub-20 effort of the season. The big question was who our 5th runner would be as one of our top five was not in attendance. That question was answered at the 20:20 point of the race, as Christian crossed in a huge PR, followed not long after by Connor. When the dust had settled, the boys had earned their first team award since at least 2013, taking third out of the nine teams, only 20 points behind Kennett. DRen’s win also meant that MV continues it’s 4 year streak of an individual champion at Plymouth, continuing Kristie’s 3-year reign at the top.
On to the girls race, where lots of drama ensued over the hilly 5k. Emma had a great start, running with the leaders through the first mile. Noelle was right behind her in 6th, with Tristan, Lauren, and Madisyn coming through around 20-23rd place. By the halfway point, time and distance had started to take its toll on some, to both MV’s advantage and disadvantage. Emma had slipped to third and Noelle to 8th, while Tristan had climbed all the way to 12th, Lauren to 14th, and Madisyn to 18th. By the finish a mile and half later, Emma finished a decent 7th, while Tristan shocked the world with her best race of the season, passing runners left and right to finish 10th. That’s the way to run a race! Just behind her and also running her best race of 2017, and also moving steadily up throughout, was Lauren in 12th place, equaling her finish spot of 2016. In her first race back in a couple weeks Noelle ran to a solid 26th, while the hills (not the uphills, but the downhills!?!) affected Madisyn a bit, who almost PR’d anyway and finished 27th as MV’s 5th runner. Overall, the girls put forth their best effort of the season, and one-upped the boys, placing 2nd (which, surprisingly, is one place better than last year). Not too often have both teams placed in the top three of an invitational! You’d probably have to go all the way back to 2011 to find the last time that happened.
A short week ahead to the start of the championship season, with Capital Area on Thursday, then the State DII Meet on the following Saturday. No better time to be running our best!