Next Generation Goes First!
The 2015 Manchester Middle School Cross Country Invitational featuring over 700 middle school runners was held under beautiful summer like conditions at the famed Derryfield Park. The race is the same 2.1 mile freshman course that will be run this Saturday at the High School Manchester Invitational.
On the girls side 2014 Small School State Champion Northwood’s Addison Cox took the early lead and never surrendered winning comfortably in 13:20 over the very talented Pepin sisters Keegan Pepin 2nd 13:30 and Katelyn Pepin 3rd 13:31 of Hillside. Elm Street’s Grace Jones followed up closely in 4th 13:32, just in front of Morgan Nault of McLaughlin 5th 13:35. After a little gap the next pack of runners were led by Haley Schmitt of Nashua Catholic 6th 14:16, Marissa Romano of Amherst 7th 14:26, Hillside’s Ella Tartsa 8th 14:36 and a pair of Amherst runners to round out the top ten Sophia Lunati 9th 14:43 and Emma Pyles 10th 14:43.
In a very close three way battle, Hillside won the team competition with 62 points. Amherst just came up short in 2nd with 66 points, while defending 2014 champion and host McLaughlin was 3rd with 77 points. Rounding out the top five schools were Londonderry 4th 130 points and Hopkinton 5th 179 points. A total of 24 teams competed with 311 finishers.
In the boys’ competition, last year’s individual runner-up Ryan Devine of Deerfield would not be denied the “hardware” this year. After breaking his foot the week before the 2014 state championship, he has been on a mission. From start to finish, just like in the girls competition, he never relinquished the lead finishing comfortably in first in 12:08. He was followed by a pair of surging Londonderry seventh graders in Matthew Griffin, 12:20, and Ryan Young, 12:22. Hollis Brookline’s stalwart Carson Bottomly was close on their heels in 4th 12:25. Hampton Academy’s Noah Taracena was next in 5th 12:34, just ahead of 5th grade standout Aidan Cox of Northwood 12:35. Deerfield’s Dave Cook was 7th in front of another pair of Northwood runners Porter Heigis 8th12:48 and Luke Tkaczyk 9th12:53. Devin Eaton of Hampton Academy rounded out the top ten in 12:53.
Londonderry was 1st with 57 points to win the team competition, turning the table on two time defending champions Deerfield, 63 points. The “youth movement and heirs to the throne” Northwood turned in a fine performance to place third with 119 points, well ahead of Hampton Academy 207 points and Windham 212 points. 24 teams and 428 finishers were in the boy’s competition.