November 2018

Well, after a summer of hot, difficult weather, the fall/winter weather has certainly descended upon us over the last few weeks.  Some sleet, lots of wind and even a touch of snow has befallen the region in the last week which can only mean one thing, cross country championship season.

Here’s how the locals faired.

Boynton, girls - 11th, boys - 5th

JRMS, girls - 10th, boys - 28th

SMS, girls - 14th, boys - 4th

Conant, girls - 13th, boys - 10th

ConVal, girls - 2nd, boys - 5th

Mascenic, girls - 7th, boys - 1st

Yesterday, my boys team captured their sixth team State Championship ever, and my seventh (including the girls) over my eighteen years of coaching.  My top guy, Landen Vaillancourt, came in second to defending champion Jeffrey Allen, and we, the defending champs, beat out Jeffrey Allen’s team by two points.  While we were the favorite, the Campbell Cougars made us work for every step of this one. Our top two were better mathematically than their top two (seven points to their twelve), they packed things in nicely, and if it hadn’t been for our #3 and #5 guys beating out their #4 and #5 guys by one place, we would have lost by two. (Mascenic - 2-5-16-19-21, Campbell - 1-11-14-17-22)

Hats off to Campbell for their tremendous run.  If you read the form charts, Mascenic was the cream of Division 3, with Kearsarge and Trinity nipping at their heels.  However I viewed Campbell as a dark horse, quietly building up momentum over the last few weeks. I felt comfortable in our matchup with the other teams but wasn’t sure what the Campbell kids were ready to do.  Challenge us is the obvious answer now.

I tell my kids to focus on their own races, make other teams beat you, and if you do, you’ll often win anyway.  And that happened yesterday. Campbell were trying to beat us. They said as much in the Rankings Reveal on Thursday.  And ultimately, I think that might have been what did them in.

My kids know in championship racing you need to pass as many other shirts as you can.  Campbell had their top five in front of our #3 man one mile into the race. They knew they had to get in front and stay in front if they were going to contend.  My guys were somewhat oblivious to where they were standings wise at that point but I was sure to tell them. Over the ensuing miles my guys inched closer to their main pack (with Landen battling Jeffrey all the way to the finishing stretch) closing the gap and bringing us closer to our  goal of winning the meet.

But it wasn’t until those final steps, the few strides by Dakota and Josh, that sealed the deal for us.  I barely got to see Dakota and Josh’s finishes, and in some cases it was too close to tell who beat who, but I knew the guys had run their best races.  It wasn’t until Campbell was called up for the runnerup award that we knew we had accomplished what we set out to do.

Those guys, especially the ones that were on the winning team last year, are going to cherish this one.  They worked hard all season, and had to work exceptionally hard yesterday and deserve the win. My captains worked extremely hard to make this happen, dragging the team on their backs at times. Campbell certainly deserves some of the credit, making it an honest race, pushing my guys the entire race, for 4,999 meters of it.

See you out there.

Race Opportunity - VRC’s Friends of Mascenic Cross Country “Alumni” race, Sunday, November 25th, noon, Mascenic HS cross country course, 171 Turnpike Road, New Ipswich, NH, soupapolooza to follow at 36 Fairbanks road