“Out Of The Shadows”
With an hour extra to sleep in, the day started off smoothly with everyone showing up on time, even the coaches! Another day of racing, and another humid day awaited at the Bobcat Invitational. Having the benefit of racing the course earlier in the season, the team was able to relax, study the hay bale hurdle, and be embarrassed by coach Irving’s rapping. Our second Invite of the year, the Bobcat Invite immediately enshrined itself in race lore with the hay bale hurdle and actual muskets to start the races. The midrace “front flip” in the JV race is the stuff of legend. Lucky for MV, Coach Sandu was one of the best steeplechasers in the country and was able to impart wisdom to the runners, and everyone made it over without any major calamities.
In a gender-reversed race, the JV boys led things off with (gasp) a full scoring team! Most of the runners ran season or all-time PR’s, and once again David Q. won the finish line roaring contest (although race photos show that it actually probably scared the runner next to him into going even faster!). The strategy may need to be tweaked a bit. The boys placed 12th of 15, not too shabby!
The girls JV race was a bit understaffed, with only 2 girls participating for MV. They persevered nevertheless, each running solid, if not PR, times.
The boys varsity race is where the magic happened. Despite almost winning on the same course two weeks previous and winning the Great Glen Invite a week earlier, David R (DRen) was not even mentioned in the race preview as a favorite. Unsurprisingly to those on his team, DRen went right to the lead pack, bided his time, and gapped the field over the last mile to establish a new course record (his second) and win by 15 seconds “going away”, as they say. To add to that, the two runners behind him are not normal DII runners - one is a transfer and new to NH this year, and the other is a Tilton School athlete (they look eerily similar too, check out the race photos). The next returning DII runner was 30 seconds back. That’s a win. As a poster on Newhampshirecrosscountry.com wrote, “Welcome MV’s David Reynolds out of the shadows”. Overshadowed by his brothers fantastic post-race interview was Matt R (MRen) and his hurdle form. No joke, in many people’s opinion MRen had the best hurdle form in the race. Could he be the next great MV steepler?!? Also, and more importantly, race video allows you to see your progression, forward or backward, throughout the race. With about ¾ of a mile to go, MRen was holding steady in 16th place. By the time he crossed the finish he had shot up to 10th place, showing no mercy even to the racer crawling towards the line. Stone Cold MRen, aka “I don’t even talk to you”. Matt L was again MV’s third, inching ever closer to the elusive 18:00 barrier. Speaking of barrier’s, Mason PR’d by over a minute and is now within striking distance of 20:00. 5 under 20, that’s the goal! The battle for the fifth and final scoring position was tight, undecided until “flat brim” Ethan tore away on the final straightaway to eke out a personal victory over Connor, both of whom were under 21:00. Christian returned from illness to run a brave race, and holy moly, that kick! Kick of the Day goes to Ethan. Overall the boys placed a surprising 6th of 19 teams, the best finish by an MV boys team since 2012.
The sun stayed hidden just long enough to get in the final race of the day, the girls varsity. Despite still being hammered with illness and injury, most of the normal varsity raced, with Kaitlyn resting but taking some magnificent photos (check out her low angle hay bale shots!). Emma and Noelle again led the way for the girls, with Lauren making a comeback to place third on the team. Lo, the secret weapon! Maizie, despite not yet being at 100%, ran a spectacular race to run (I think) her all-time PR. Not too far behind was Madisyn, who is still figuring out this whole 5k thing. A bit of a more aggressive start for her, and look out! The girls finished a decent 12th of 17, but more importantly started to look like they may be on the mend. Keeping a low profile in September is the way to do it, it is the end of October that matters!