Weekend Recap: Swampscott's Hale 3rd at Thetford


While the trails throughout the Commonwealth were quiet all Columbus Day weekend, there was still plenty of action for traveling Mass. teams, as far South as Walt Disney World, as far West as New York, and as far North as Thetford, VT. With major shakeups coming from the big weekends ahead, particularly due to the heavy traffic the Twilight Invite seems to be getting next Saturday, it'll be nice to have one last quiet before the storm that's coming. Nonetheless, there is still plenty to talk about on the weekend that was.


Thetford Woods Trail Run- Thetford, VT  (Thetford Results)


In an experience one has to see to fully comprehend, the Thetford Woods Trail Run is a mudders dream, a mountain climb, followed by a fast descent, on a course that might prepare you for Northfield, but one that you aren't fully prepared for. Amherst and Needham put up two spirited battles on the girls, then the boys, sides, each finishing with the Hurricanes coming out on top of the Rockets, just as they did a few weeks ago on their home course.

With Regional powerhouses Coe-Brown, NH (54 points) and Champlain Valley union, VT (70) taking the top spots, it was Amherst who took 3rd (123), just 21 points ahead of the young Needham Rockets. Anherst was once again led by senior Mel Devoney, who placed 11th in an impressive time of 20:27. Given the ascent abilities required in the early part of this race, particularly in getting atop Morty's Monster, an aptly-named ridge that more kids walk up than run, running anywhere near 20 minutes is a feat in and of itself. Amherst then poured in its pack, led by seniors Emmy Zimmerman (18th; 21:10) and Sarah Vannah (20th; 21:12) to secure a 3rd place finish. Needham was not far behind, in fact leading Amherst through four runners. Freshmen ruled the day for the Rockets, as Margie Cullen (15th; 20:55) tucked right in front of senior captain Caroline Turner (16th; 20:59), and then Julianna Donovan (24th; 21:18) and Sarah Armstrong (25th; 21:19) followed suit. How good is Needham's future? They had three of the top 7 freshmen in a race that featured 41 teams.


On the boys side, a first glance might assume that Swampscott was in the money for the win, as their top two guys placed in the top-10 overall. However, it was the same story as the girls, as Amherst (4th; 197 points) edged Needham (5th; 207) for Commonwealth bragging rights. East Greenwich (RI), South Burlington (VT), and Souhegan (NH) took home the trophies for the top three spots. Peter Hale  of Swampscott was brilliant, running 3rd in 16:59 and appearing unfazed by the steepness of the Green Mountains. His time is even more impressive, given the no-man's-land he was in, trailing 2nd by 22 seconds, and leading 4th by 18. Teammate Matthew Mahoney also impressed in 7th, running 17:25, and battling toward the front of a deep chase pack.

Needham junior Adrian Amaya (9th; 17:28) was the 2nd best underclassman on the day, with senior teammate Tyler Hagen (17th; 17:39) and junior Tommy Kelley (44th; 18:20) just a shade behind. Amherst needed every bit of its pack to claim state supremacy, as junior Ryan Stender outlasted hagen and others for 15th (17:38), and teammates Gabe Fishman (33rd; 18:08), Connor Evans (43rd; 18:19), and freshman Owen Wright (45th; 18:23) stayed close enough to help one another. While there were three teams in front of Amherst, something tells me the battle between them and Needham didn't go unnoticed.


Walt Disney World XC Classic (Walt Disney Results)


Mount Greylock headed down to Orlando, FL for a run at the 1A girls race at the Walt Disney World XC Classic, and did not disappoint. Placing 2nd with 51 points, Greylock carried three top-10 finishes to the trophy. Junior Emily Kaegi (20:36) led the way in 4th, just ahead of senior Kat Chenali (20:58) in 6th, and sophomore Laura Galib (21:56) in 11th. Mount Greylock can declare "mission accomplished" after traversing the challenging 5K course.


Wickham Park Invitational (Wickham Results)


A few Western Mass. teams headed South to Manchester, CT for the Wickham Park Invite. Minnechaug junior Sam Conway was the top Mass. finisher, running 5th in the boys seeded race at 17:22, leading his team to an 11th place finish. Teammate Sam Fisher (50th; 18:23) also ran well for the Chaug.


We got to see the #17 Longmeadow girls take 10th in the seeded race, with junior Manon Blackmon (9th; 20:38) staying with the hase pack throughout. Sophomore teammate Allie Haryasz (15th; 21:09) also impressed with her result on the very challenging Wickham course. The girls top finisher from Mass. on the day, however, was Fronteir's Natalie "the Shark" Mako, who simply chewed up the field in 19:24, en route to a 23-second win in the unseeded race. Mako's time was the fastest on the day for the girls, better than any in the championship race as well.


Upcoming Meets

Several local teams were patient, electing not to run this weekend, instead traveling next Saturday over the Bourne Bridge to Falmouth, where the Barnstable County Fairgrounds will host the MSTCA Twilight Invite. Several squads will be heading down to Van Cortland Park for a run at the historic Manhattan College Invitational on Saturday as well. Expect fast and furious times from Lowell, Chelmsford, Lincoln-Sudbury, and others.