Merrimack Valley Girls XC: Summer and Week 1
The Merrimack Valley girls are looking to turn some heads this year and improve upon last year’s Divisional State meet placement. Even as a veteran of only one year, this sport has a special place in my heart because of the bonds we girls form over the season.
We returned from our preseason camp last Friday where we ventured up Mount Madison as a team and logged miles on the beautiful Great Glen trails. Through uncoordinated whiffle ball games, goal setting campfires, and many freezing river swims, we came together as a team and got to know each other better, filling the gap between the seniors and juniors and the new freshman. We are looking at a young team this year and are excited to see what kind of talent the freshman bring to the table.
Our girls have worked incredibly hard the past few weeks and have showed major toughness throughout very hot workouts and early mornings. We are a dedicated group that love the sport and can’t wait to see what this season brings! We’re gearing up for our first invitational this Saturday and as school starts we look forward to falling into a more structured workout regimen. The Valley girls are ready to make their mark this season!
Kristie Schoffield – Merrimack Valley junior
Londonderry Boys XC: Summer and Week 1
When we took a look around at our team the first day of summer runs, it hit us how fortunate but strange of a situation we were in. Returning all your varsity team as seniors, as well as two runners that were out with mono last fall, is very fortunate. It was the start of basically a second senior season, being the oldest runners once again, but this time we don’t have another year of opportunity.
Summer practices for us are scheduled three times a week, but this year we came together on most of those “off-days” as well. Our long runs kept getting longer, hill workouts began to appear, and all of the sudden we are on a 14 mile Tuesday long run in the rain, wondering how the season is going to start next week already. But looking back on the last two months, we got in probably the best, most consistent work we could ask for. We had kids running 12 and 13 miles on vacation alone; we tried to prove that everybody has everyone’s back.
First week of the season for veterans means double sessions, which means morning mileage to tire you out, and 3 mile afternoons to understand once again what running a 5K tired feels like. The hours in between should be rest, but sometimes you just have to go swimming and have fun with your team.
Thursday was one nasty hill workout to prep you for one nasty hill at D1’s in October. Run 12 hills; a hard quarter mile up, and a recovery going down. Don’t worry, we already did the math, 3 miles up, 3 miles down, and a lot of soreness later, but it’s a chance to push each other. Because of this we were told we might not be 100% going into the Jamboree, but at this point in the season you are aiming for effort and figuring out how to run cross country again, not times; which is why a 2.1 mile race is so perfect.
That being said, varsity was excited to get back out on the course and prove to everybody that we are capable of our goal, which is to be in the fight when the dust settles. In retrospect the NH XC Jamboree went well. We ran how we liked, just like last year, as a close group. We finished with the first and second overall boys, followed closely by #7. Our top five was rounded out with 12th and 13th place with our sixth close behind in 16th. Our 1-5 spread was about 35 seconds, but we always strive to improve that and run better together. As a team that doesn’t have an expected top 5 finisher, you aim for tight groupings, which is what makes cross country so special in the first place. But that is what the season is for, learning to race better both individually and as a team, and rising through the ranks, together as one fluid entity, not seven separate ones.
Looking forward to the season is always exciting, but as a senior you realize you have to enjoy the ride. Good luck to all the runners and team this upcoming season, we are excited to see all the hard work pay off in October and November!
-Cameron Dickson, Londonderry Boys XC senior