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Seventh heaven for Hopkinton girls’ cross country team

  • Hopkinton's Maddie Clark, right, and Sarah Nadeau, center, run in the Division III state cross country tournament at Derryfield Park on Saturday, October 26, 2013 in Manchester. Nadeau and Clark finished first and second respectively and helped bring first place to their team. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor Staff)

    Hopkinton's Maddie Clark, right, and Sarah Nadeau, center, run in the Division III state cross country tournament at Derryfield Park on Saturday, October 26, 2013 in Manchester. Nadeau and Clark finished first and second respectively and helped bring first place to their team.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor Staff)

  • Bow's Andrew Weckstein runs in the Division III state cross country tournament on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at Derryfield Park in Manchester. Weckstein finished in tenth place and Bow finished in second as a team. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor Staff)

    Bow's Andrew Weckstein runs in the Division III state cross country tournament on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at Derryfield Park in Manchester. Weckstein finished in tenth place and Bow finished in second as a team.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor Staff)

  • Hopkinton's Maddie Clark, right, and Sarah Nadeau, center, run in the Division III state cross country tournament at Derryfield Park on Saturday, October 26, 2013 in Manchester. Nadeau and Clark finished first and second respectively and helped bring first place to their team. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor Staff)
  • Bow's Andrew Weckstein runs in the Division III state cross country tournament on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at Derryfield Park in Manchester. Weckstein finished in tenth place and Bow finished in second as a team. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor Staff)

At a glance, it’s the same old story once again in Division III cross country. Hopkinton was once again the best in the state, the Hawks runners dominating on a cold, windy day at Derryfield Park to win their seventh straight championship, and eighth in nine years.

Ho-hum, right? Not quite, according to Coach Rob Nadeau.

“You know what I say about that?” Nadeau said. “It’s a different five kids every year. … For these kids, it’s special, and it should be special.”

Turns out, there’s plenty new for the Hawks, who gave Nadeau a title in his first year at the helm with 45 points to trump chief rival Bow (59), as well as Monadnock (146), White Mountains (149) and Pelham (160) at the top. In the boys’ race, Bow – behind a gritty effort from top runner Andrew Weckstein – exceeded its coach’s projections, scoring 120 points to finish second behind Prospect Mountain (110) and ahead of Monadnock (126), Mascenic (162) and Hopkinton (172) in the top five. The top five teams in each race qualified for next week’s Meet of Champions.

“My team performed great today,” Falcons boys’ Coach Ryan Kelly said. “I was expecting Monadnock and Prospect Mountain to kind of lead the race out, and we’d be competing with Hopkinton. The guys came and brought their A-game, performed well and stayed focused the whole time.”

The sight of the Hawks celebrating at the Manchester park has become a familiar one, but the narrative was different than in years past. For one, Hopkinton had to show it wouldn’t skip a beat under Nadeau, a winner of 18 boys’ and girls’ Nordic skiing championships at Hopkinton, but who was in his first year in place of longtime cross country coach Rick Welch.

With four girls placed in the top 10 and a fifth, Melissa Irwin, placing 31st and shaving a minute-and-a-half off her projected time (she finished at 23:19), it was clear the Hawks answered the challenge.

“We thought we were going to be within five points of Bow, that was the expectation going in,” Nadeau said. “With the girls putting four in the top 10, that was awesome … and (Melissa) had a hell of a race.”

The Hawks also relied on a new name to deliver the title this time. Sophomore Sarah Nadeau won the race at 19:29, and freshman Maddie Clark was nine seconds behind her in second.

“I was just very happy (to win), because I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be, because the teams are a lot different than last year,” Sarah Nadeau said. “We all wanted to win today as a team, because it’s been a long run going, and we want to keep it going as long as possible.”

Clark crossed the finish line seven seconds ahead of White Mountains’s Jessica Schanlaber.

“We kind of pull each other back and forth,” Clark said of her relationship with Sarah Nadeau. “… We both work through it together.”

Emily Calder (seventh, 20:38) and Katie Irwin (ninth, 21:10) also scored for Hopkinton.

Bow came in having competed closely with Hopkinton in five head-to-head meets this season, but couldn’t close the gap given the Hawks’ top-10 dominance and Melissa Irwin’s high finish. Freshman Sohani Demian (eighth, 20:56) was Bow’s best finisher, followed by Hannah Weckstein (11th, 21:31), Ashlie Tucker (13th, 21:42), Olivia Krause (14th, 21:43), Allie Krause (17th, 22:06) and Naina Vig (19th, 22:20).

“It was between the both of us,” Coach Amelia Boyd said. “Hopkinton just ran better today. But the girls gave it everything they had. Didn’t leave anything.”

In the boys’ race, the Falcons rode an impressive performance from Weckstein to their surprising second-place finish. Weckstein, who won the race as a sophomore in 2011, finished 10th at 17:25, but the result didn’t tell the story. He had been sidelined with compartment syndrome in his lower legs, and yesterday’s race was his first competition in five weeks.

Despite the pain, which Weckstein said started to build only a few hundred meters into the race, the senior turned in a result that was vital to the Falcons salvaging second.

“I knew for the last few weeks that it was going to come down to states and it was going to be a painful race,” he said. “I sort of prepared myself, knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. … I just kept on thinking about the team. That’s why we’re here.”

Weckstein was backed by Peter LaRiviere, who finished 19th at 17:52, Zachary Zbehlik (26th, 18:07), Andrew Attorri (28th, 18:09) and Hayden Udelson (37th, 18:37).

The top local finish went to Hopkinton’s Dom Repucci, who finished third at 16:30 behind winner Tim Fafard of Mascenic (16:04) and Cameron Daly of Inter-Lakes (16:25), and who led a Hawks team that also got scoring performances from Cody Roberge (32nd, 18:22), Chris Barnard (38th), Declan Campbell (48th, 19:02) and Peter Sawitsky (51st, 19:04).

In the boys’ race, Kearsarge finished 10th with 297 points, and was followed by fellow local teams Bishop Brady (17th, 439), Belmont (20th, 534), Winnisquam (26th, 683) and Hillsboro-Deering (27th, 730). The girls’ race saw Kearsarge finish sixth at 169, followed by Brady (ninth, 284), Hillsboro-Deering (15th, 394) and Winnisquam (16th, 403).

Area individuals who qualified for the Meet of Champions in the boys’ race were Brady’s Warren Bartlett (11th, 17:26) and Kearsarge’s Shane Corley (17th, 17:49). In the girls’ race, qualifiers were Sant Bani’s Sarah Steenbergen (18th, 22:11) and Joyce Hamel (20th, 22:21).

(Drew Bonifant can be reached at 369-3340 or at abonifant@cmonitor.com, or via Twitter @dbonifant.)

Related

Cross country division championships results

Monday, October 28, 2013

High school cross country Division I championships Girls’ team scores 1. Winnacunnet 61 2. Bishop Guertin 80 3. Pinkerton 98 4. Concord 140 5. Nashua North 186 6. Bedford 196 7. Manchester Central 199 8. Londonderry 229 9. Dover 235 10. Exeter 274 11. Timberlane 308 12. Merrimack 312 13. Keene 314 14. Alvirne 320 15. Nashua South 324 16. Manchester Memorial 431 17. Spaulding 491 Girls’ individuals (Top 30 qualify for MOC) 1. Shannon Murdock, Exeter, …

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