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Coe-Brown girls’ cross country team stakes claim to best in New England

MANCHESTER — Progression accomplished.

After finishing third in 2011 and second in 2012, the Coe-Brown girls’ cross country team took the next logical step to win the New England championship yesterday at Derryfield Park in Manchester.

The Bears, who were second to Barrington, R.I., last year in Maine, scorched the course, with four of their five scoring runners clocking times under 19 minutes. Coe-Brown had 78 points to win its first New England title over Barrington (99), nationally ranked La Salle Academy, R.I. (108), Tolland, Conn. (120) and Glastonbury, Conn. (191).

“Oh my word, what a day,” Coe-Brown co-Coach Brent Tkaczyk said. “Having the New Englands here on our home course was a huge advantage. We had a spaghetti dinner last night at my house and slept in our own beds. Everyone was healthy. It was a perfect storm for us.”

At the forefront of the Coe-Brown pack was junior Hannah Parker, who placed ninth in 18:16.1, the first New Hampshire runner. Also scoring for the Bears were Elisabeth Danis (15th, 18:21.8), Jessie Carney (24th, 18:35.3), Brooke Laskowsky (32nd, 18:51.5) and Meg Scannell (55th, 19:15.6). Coe-Brown’s non-scoring runners were Katie Scannell (92nd, 19:45.4) and Mary Fowler (136th, 20:13.9).

“It was so emotional,” Tkaczyk said. “(Co-Coach) Tim (Cox) and I weren’t the only ones crying. It’s my happiest day coaching.”

Oyster River’s Maegan Doody, who won the Meet of Champions title last weekend in Nashua, was 11th in 18:18.2.

“Hannah had a great day,” Tkaczyk said. “She and Elisabeth ran so well up front. We had three girls on the podium in the top 25. For the New Englands, that’s unheard of. It was really all about how well we ran.”

Meg Scannell, Coe-Brown’s fifth runner, cramped up in the second mile but was still able to finish with a solid time.

“She battled,” Tkaczyk said. “She still has to learn how to run cross country, but she did a nice job of battling through that.”

The girls’ race was won in decisive fashion by Hannah Debalsi of Staples (Conn.) in 17:15.8. Placing second was Claire Howlett of Westhill, Conn., in 17:39.5.

Concord High finished 19th win 501 points, led by Smita Boesch-Dining in 102nd (19:50.4). Also running for the Tide were Erin Waters (15th, 20:02.1), Cassie Shea (124th, 20:05.0), Michaella Conery (186th, 20:47.0), Samantha Pearl (201st, 20:55.4), Kate Andy (227th, 21:27.2) and Kaelin Willette (229th, 21:29.1).

Hopkinton sent two runners – Maddie Clark finished 51st in 19:13.8 and Sarah Nadeau took 90th in 19:44.9.

On the boys’ side, Coe-Brown’s Jeremy Brassard was the top New Hampshire runner in 10th with a time of 15:48.1, leading the Bears to 15th place with 380 points.

Trevor Hopper of Ridgefield, Conn., won the race in 15:08.5. La Salle Academy won as a team with 99 points, just ahead of Ridgefield (102). Oyster River was the highest finishing New Hampshire team in 13th with 374 points.

Coe-Brown’s other scorers were Lucas Fisher (100th, 16:44.6), Jared Nelson (126th, 16:55.8), Davio Deluca (133rd, 16:59.4) and Alex Prevatt (182nd, 17:28.6). Jake Scarponi (212th, 17:51.5) and Zach Flanagan (213th, 17:53.2) also ran for the Bears. Hopkinton’s lone runner, Dom Repucci, was 37th in 16:13.0.

But the Coe-Brown girls were front row and center

“They absolutely just took it,” Tkaczyk said. “The didn’t get intimidated this year. In the past, they did, but not this year. It was an all-around amazing day. ‘They just won New Englands.’ We keep saying that.”

Coe-Brown, which also won Meet of Champions and D-II titles this fall, and is ranked third in the Northeast Region, will run Nov. 30 at the Nike Cross Northeast Regional in Wappingers Falls, N.Y. Last year they were fourth.

(The Monitor staff contributed to this report.)

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