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Concord boys’ cross country wins first D-I title since 1981 in historic fashion

  • Concord’s Forest MacKenzie approaches the finish line with teammates Eli Boesch-Dining and Ollie Spencer in position to round out second and third place during the Division I boys’ cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor staff

  • Kearsarge's Aidan Brooks (365) and Trevor Pauling (368) compete in the Division III boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Athletes compete in the Division III boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Athletes compete in the Division III boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley's David Reynolds competes in the Division II boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Coe-Brown's Evan Tanguay competes in the Division II boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Coe-Brown's Wyatt Mackey competes in the Division II boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley's David Reynolds competes in the Division II boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Coe-Brown's Luke Tkaczyk competes in the Division II boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • John Stark's Brandon Langdon competes in the Division II boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • John Stark's Brandon Langdon competes in the Division II boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Concord's Forest MacKenzie smiles at the finish line after looking back to see teammates Eli Boesch-Dining and Ollie Spencer in position to round out second and third place during the Division I boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley's Matt Reynolds competes in the Division II boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Concord celebrates at the finish line during the Division I boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Concord’s Eli Boesch-Dining (147), Forest MacKenzie (150) and Ollie Spencer (153) run as a pack early on during the Division I boys’ cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. BELOW: MacKenzie smiles at the finish line after looking back to see Boesch-Dining and Spencer in position to round out second and third place. Elizabeth Frantz photos / Monitor staff

  • Athletes compete in the Division I boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Concord's Ryan Devine (149) and David Cook (148) are seen early on during the Division I boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Kearsarge's Mason Benedict competes in the Division III boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Inter-Lakes's Ian Daly competes in the Division III boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Winnisquam's Kyle Mann competes in the Division III boys' cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Sunday, October 29, 2017

MANCHESTER – Last year the Concord boys were undefeated, but couldn’t finish the job. This year they were undefeated, but this time the Tide left no doubt and made history.

Juniors Forest MacKenzie, and Eli Boesch-Dining and senior Ollie Spencer swept the top three at Derryfield Park and all seven runners finished in the top 15, leading Concord to its first Division I boys’ cross country title since 1981.

The Tide’s score of 28 points was the best score at the D-I championship in at least 30 years and was the first time a team went 1-2-3 since Concord did it in 1963, according to Concord Head Coach Tristan Black-Ingersoll.

The Tide also snapped the longest current championship drought of any team in the Concord High sports program and is only one of two D-I teams since 1999 to win both the team and individual titles.

The Tide have lofty expectations, including winning next weekend’s Meet of Champions and then New Englands the weekend after that, but Concord wasn’t about to overlook the D-I race. The Tide lost to Pinkerton by four points last year.

“When you win the team title and go 1-2-3, that validates our belief in our (training) process,” Black-Ingersoll said. “Outcomes are created, not presented to you. It was great to see it come through when it counts.”

MacKenzie (16:12.2), Boesch-Dining (16:19) and Spencer (16:27) started out conservatively, staying near the front of the pack, but trailing the leader, Nashua North’s David Vorbach.

“I just tried to stay confident that I could win,” MacKenzie said. We came up on him and he battled back, but (with about half a mile to go) we made a gap and it was over.”

Spencer took Black-Ingersoll’s advice and went out at a slower pace than usual, but he also caught Vorbach in the final half mile of the race. According to Black-Ingersoll, “without question Ollie had the single biggest performance and breakthrough today. Objectively, that’s the best race he’s ever run.”

“It’s a breath of fresh air to see that all the hard work that I’ve put in and that we’ve put in as a team has finally paid off,” Spencer said. “Coming off last year, not being super satisfied with what happened, we wanted to go for it.”

“I didn’t even know Ollie was there,” MacKenzie added. “When I came around (with about three-quarters of a mile to go) I heard, ‘Let’s go Concord, 1-2-3!’ Just hearing that was a relief. We wanted to go 1-2, but going 1-2-3, I mean, you can’t ask for much better than that.”

MacKenzie also added, “I’d like to give a shout-out to my coach. He was the only one who believed we could do this. He made believers out of all of us.”

The Tide also had strong races from seniors Matt O’Brien (ninth, 16:51) and Nate Nichols (13th, 17:04) and sophomores David Cook (14th, 17:06) and Ryan Devine (15th, 17:11).

“There’s no hierarchy,” Black-Ingersoll said. “It’s fun to win individually, but I don’t think (MacKenzie and Boesch-Dining) would be upset if the other won. If Ollie won I don’t think they would have been upset, either. Everyone belongs on this team and owns the success. You reap what you sow, but as a team we all harvest that together.”

Pinkerton, coached by Bow’s Mike Clark finished second with 89 points. Londonderry was third with 91.

Division II

After losing several key runners who contributed to Coe-Brown’s three straight championships, the Bears didn’t know what to expect.

But senior captain Evan Tanguay ran a 16:19.6, his best time on this course, and the Bears finished second, just losing out to rivals Oyster River, 51-61.

“I came into it not worrying about my time and just running my own race,” Tanguay said. “I went out and just stayed relaxed. I went up that first hill (1 mile into the race) and then surged and made a gap.”

Tanguay eventually won by just over 20 seconds, besting Oyster River’s Kieran Murphy (16:40).

The newcomers were also impressive for the Bears, with freshman Luke Tkaczyk (seventh, 16:55), Wyatt Mackey (12th, 17:02) and Logan Mihelich (37th, 17:55), junior Gavyn Lewis (22nd, 17:28) and sophomores Dawson Dubois (19th, 17:15) and Sam Patteson (39th, 18:02) rounding out Coe-Brown’s runners.

“The kids overachieved. We’re tickled,” said Coe-Brown Coach Tim Cox, who coaches alongside Brent Tkaczyk. “It was an uphill battle. We didn’t think we could come within 20 or 30 points of Oyster River, so we designed a plan. We had nothing lose. They executed it great. ... We couldn’t be more happy with how they ran.”

Tkaczyk, Mackey and Mihelich all ran on the Northwood Middle School team that won the Small School Championship last year, but as Cox pointed out, “that’s just 2 miles. Running a 5K at Derryfield is much different than the 2-mile course. For boys, there is a big maturational difference between freshmen and seniors. What they did today was phenomenal and really bodes well for the future.”

As the lone returning runner and captain, Tanguay had another set of responsibilities. Coaches Cox and Tkaczyk don’t typically pick captains, but felt it was necessary due to the Bears’ youth and inexperience.

“He is the model we want kids to look up to,” Tkcazyk said. “He is dedicated to school first, but also to running and becoming the best version of himself. He has been a great soldier for the last four years. We wanted to make sure the kids listened to him, so we gave him that title.”

“It was a completely different challenge for me,” Tanguay added. “We battled. I have to say this is my favorite team that I’ve been on. The way we’ve come together and the way we work is incredible. I love this team. It’s a really proud moment.”

Merrimack Valley’s David Reynolds finished fourth in 16:45 to lead the Pride to seventh place, just missing out on MOC qualifying.

MV trailed seventh-place Sanborn by three points. The top six teams and top 25 finishers in D-II qualify.

MV’s Matt Reynolds (15th, 17:08) and John Stark’s Brandon Langdon (16th, 17:09) also qualified.

Division III

Kearsarge placed five runners in the top 22 and Mascenic had five runners in the top 24, but three of those runners were in the top 10, lifting Mascenic to the D-III title.

The Vikings had 56 points to the Cougars’ 78. Kearsarge also finished runner-up last year.

“We knew we were a second-place team coming in,” Kearsarge Coach Ernie Brake said. “We thought we had a shot at (first) and we talked about what we had to do. Mark up on Mascenic and run cautiously, but it came down to a couple people shuffling around and Mascenic had the upper hand.”

Seniors Aidan Brooks (eighth, 17:35), Mason Benedict (19th, 18:03), John Cunningham (20th, 18:04) and Hunter Burns (22nd, 18:10) and junior Trevor Pauling (ninth, 17:37) ran well for Kearsarge, but couldn’t quite keep up with high finishers from Viking freshmen Landen Vaillancourt (second, 16:50) and Josh Movsession (fifth, 17:24).

“As a group we displaced a lot of people, we just need a couple guys to move up just a little bit more,” Brake said.

“We’re really tight and we all run well together,” Cunningham said. “We wanted to do better, but we did the best we could.”

Campbell (89), Bow (156) and Winnisquam (206) rounded out the top five teams that advanced to MOC.

Bow improved over a ninth-place finish last year, while Winnisquam were 16th last season.

Kirpal Demian (17th, 18:01) was Bow’s top finishers and Kyle Mann (11th, 17:42) led Winnisquam.

Campbell’s Jeffrey Allen won in 16:29. Ian Daly of Inter-Lakes (fourth, 17:36) also qualified for MOC.