Thursday, October 20th brought the final act for the 2016 middle school cross-country season and our teams made the most of a crisp and cloudy fall day. All sixteen teams from our league gathered at Twin Brook in Cumberland for the CCC Invitational, where all three of the day’s races resulted in blazing times and thirteen PRs for our team of 24 runners on a tough course.
As usual this season, the boys team started off the day. Our team of seven runners was led by Matinicus Neveu who ran shoulder to shoulder with a Falmouth runner to the last 200 yards where he was barely edged out for second overall but achieving a new PR. Our duo of Louis Walker and John Miles Muentener came flying in next with Louis just seconds off his best from two weeks ago and John Miles breaking the 13:00 barrier for the first time. Wes Teegarden and Bryan Stark-Chessa earned a pair of PRs, navigating the course together beautifully as they have all season. Conrad Anderson and Oliver Perry destroyed their PRs by 1 minute and 2 minutes, respectively, to close out the first race. The boys finished in fourth place in a field of 105 runners behind Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth, and Greely. In the five weeks since our first race at NYA, the boys narrowed their 1-5 runner spread from 3:02 to 2:10while our front runner improved his time by well over a minute. Nice job by the boys!
The girls team of seven showed their grit in their field of 90 runners, led by Aniela Holtrop taking 6th overall. She was followed by Nora Goldberg-Courtney and Mamie Whittier, another dynamic duo, each crushing their PRs by more than 30 seconds each. Eliza Skillings and Carly Blackburn found something deep within to slice more than 20 seconds off their PRs and to break through the 15:00 ceiling for the first time each. Isla Barmby crushed it as well by more than a minute off her PR, with Grace Kessler bringing a solid performance and one of her best of the season right behind to finish off the girls’ race. The girls came up big and took third overall behind Falmouth and Cape. Their 1-5 gap shrank from 2:07 at NYA to 1:22! Awesome.
Our last race of the season involved a coed blend of our runners who, just like the others, poured their hearts into the race. Mahina Carlon was the first Maine Coast runner with her best time of the season by more than a minute. Benji Meza and Lila Salter-Gurau worked together for the first time in a race to pace each other nicely through the two mile course, finishing side by side for one their best times of the season. Ella Emery and Greta White cruised the course together for Greta’s best of the year, just ahead of Evelyn Lukis and Emma Haims with Evelyn turning in her best performance of the season. Great job by this group as well, running in a field of 137 (some teams having 30+ in the race), for a seventh place finish. Well done.
Following the races (and after some dabbing), the team adjourned to Ricetta’s for a pizza party and team celebration.
So, that’s a wrap. A final thank you to everyone who supported the team throughout the season, to Susan Sonntag for athletic directing, Lisa Mainella for coordinating transportation and everything else, Gina Quinn-Skillings for photography, and a HUGE thank you to my partner in crime, Heidi Randall, for providing a second point of view, being a sounding board for ideas, and bringing a great balance to the coaching staff. She rocks. We also send off eleven 8th graders to the hallowed halls of high school running – I look forward to watching them flourish even further in the good hands of Morgan Lake Adams. I hope this group of kids will serve as an inspiration to the current 5th graders, as they exemplify what can be achieved in a short period of time given hard work and dedication.
Until next time…