What a day! Out of the 19 MV runners, 13 ran all-time PR’s (11 of 12 boys!), and 3 of the remaining 6 ran season-bests. Talk about perfect conditions… The runners have probably heard my grumbling about the Black Bear Invite, how we just never seem to run well there, and certainly proved me wrong today. Mid-season meets don’t get much more positive than today!
The day started off on a high note for the future of MVXC, with SRen (that would be Sophia, 8th-grader from Andover, sister of DRen and MRen) winning the middle school portion in a course record time. The course record, by the way, is 5 seconds faster than Caroline Fischer’s older course record (she placed third at the New England Championships as a 9th-grader last year), and 1 second faster than the not-current-anymore course record of Coe-Brown’s Addie Cox, 3rd place finisher in the high school race today. There are big things on the horizon for Sophia! Andover had one other girl finisher, 6th grader Trinity, who finished a very respectable 66th. On the boys side of things, Andover ran three boys. 7th-grader Jack, 46th, was the top finisher. Just behind Jack were two 5th (!) graders, mRen (aka Mychal, not to be confused with MRen) in 51st and Evan in 52nd. Great job boys, and don’t go to Proctor, please!
Lining up alone for the second straight week in the JV girls race was MacNeill. Her race would set the tone for the day as she cruised to a PR of almost a minute, coming less than a second from breaking 29. Following up MacNeill was the boys JV, represented by Jacob, Ryan, Andrew, Mitchell, and Lucas. Knowledgeable spectators could tell early on that it was going to be a special day, as there were far more runners behind each MV runner than usual. In the end, ALL 5 (!) ran PR’s, led by Jacob’s sub-21 effort which would hold up to be the 6th best team-time of the day. Mickey must have dispensed great advice down in the Magic Kingdom (we know what you were really doing in Florida, Jake!).
Despite only finishing without their #’s 2 and 3 from a week ago, the girls still managed to run to their second-best team time of the year. With their new jackets adding an intimidation factor, 4 of the 6 finishers ran their season-PR’s. Emma continued leading the team as she has all year with a big PR, and her first run under 21. Do that at Manchester and you get on the top-ten list! We used to tease Emma about her “Sunday long zero runs”, now that she’s actually doing them...see? Sometimes the coaches are right! And congrats are in order to her parents (and any parent who does this) to getting out there with her! Tristan, prepping for Thetford next week, ran her season PR by over a minute to cross as MV’s #2. Lauren crossed as #3 (a 4-second season PR), while Kaitlyn, in her first REAL race (I’m not counting John Stark, Kell) since Great Glen, filled in some gaps by running a big season PR to finish as #4. Maizie rounded out the scoring for the girls, while Diandra added the insurance - both with solid runs. Overall the girls place 19th of 23, not bad considering two top-five mainstays did not cross the finish line.
In the final race of the day, the pressure was on to match the success of the earlier races. And in the end they not only matched, but exceeded the PR expectations. After battling bravely at the front with two others for the entire 5k, DRen came onto the track in third and fought to finish as runner-up in a new PR. I believe that is the best boys finish in MV’s history at Black Bear. Holding down second for the team but saving his best for another day (he doesn’t want to distract from everyone else’s shining moment) was MRen, with a solid sub-18 effort. Just behind, and with a huge breakthrough race (first sub-18!) was Matt L. (wish this kid listened to me in 7th grade and started running a wee bit earlier!). Then the wait was on to see if anyone else could sneak under 20 minutes. One minute to go...Mason and Ethan come on to the track! Breaking 20 is a big, big deal, and both crushed it today. 5 runners under 20, how awesome is that? Good thing Ethan got rid of those donuts at the start line (of course, he had eaten them about an hour and half earlier…). David Q. and Christian had breakthroughs of their own, each going under 21 for the first time. When the dust had settled, MV had placed 7th of 24 teams, a truly awesome finish!