High schools: Concord sweeps titles at Capital Area Cross Country Championship

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  • Merrimack Valley freshman Sophia Rebenciuc (691) crosses the finish line to win the 43rd Capital Area Cross Country Championship girls’ varsity race on Friday in Penacook. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • The Bow, Concord, Merrimack Valley and Hopkinton girls’ cross country teams take off from the starting line during the 43rd Capital Area Cross Country Championship on Friday in Penacook. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley freshman Sophia Rebenciuc and sophomore Sophia Reynolds turn a corner during the 43rd Capital Area Cross Country Championship on Friday in Penacook. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Concord junior Morgane Orcutt comes around a corner during the 43rd Capital Area Cross Country Championship on Friday in Penacook. Orcutt helped the Crimson Tide earn the team title. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Concord freshmen Sophia Hopkins (529) and Molly Nyhan (547) emerge from a wooded area during the 43rd Capital Area Cross Country Championship on Friday in Penacook. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Concord junior Morgane Orcutt runs to the finish line during the 43rd Capital Area Cross Country Championship on Friday in Penacook. Orcutt finished third in the girls’ race, leading Concord to first place as a team. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Concord seniors David Cook (512) and Ryan Devine (515) sprint to the finish line during the 43rd Capital Area Cross Country Championship on Friday in Penacook. Led by Eben Bragg’s first-place finish, the Crimson Tide won the team title. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Concord senior Liam Conery makes his way to the finish line ahead of St. Paul’s School senior Finn Sias during the 43rd Capital Area Cross Country Championship on Friday in Penacook. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Bow junior Benjamin Neff crosses the finish line at the 43rd Capital Area Cross Country Championship on Friday in Penacook. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • St. Paul’s School junior Charlie Anderson crosses the finish line at the 43rd Capital Area Cross Country Championship on Friday in Penacook. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Pembroke sophomore David Testerman (730) leads a pack that includes Newfound’s Joe Sullivan and Jeffrey Huckins (707), Pembroke Casey Shuman (729) and John Stark’s Noah Sigrist during the 43rd Capital Area Cross Country Championship on Friday in Penacook. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 10/18/2019 10:53:42 PM

PENACOOK – The Capital Area Cross Country Championship is typically an end-of-year tune-up, but with three division title contenders and three teams with a shot at representing New Hampshire at New Englands, the competition on the girls’ side at the 43rd edition of the annual race at Merrimack Valley was its highest in years.

That made Concord’s eighth straight Capital Area title even sweeter.

Merrimack Valley freshman Sophia Rebenciuc defended her home course in 18:51 and last year’s champion, MV’s Sophia Reynolds (19:20) finished second, but Concord’s Morgane Orcutt (19:30), Molly Nyhan (19:39), Sophie Hopkins (20:03), Katherine Kennedy (20:06) and Alexis Christie (20:09) claimed third through seventh place, respectively to lead the Tide to the team title.

The Concord boys swept the team and individual titles for the fourth year in a row, with junior Eben Bragg claiming the boys’ crown in 16:13.

Brayden Kearns (fourth, 16:33), David Cook (fifth, 16:39), Ryan Devine (sixth, 16:43) and Ryan Ciesluk (eighth, 17:03) all finished within 30 seconds of each other to lead the Tide to a decisive victory.

While Concord’s score of 20 points easily bested the rest of the field that included St. Paul’s School (64), Bow (70), Hopkinton (101), MV (125), Bishop Brady (176), Prospect Mountain (205), Winnisquam (209), John Stark (252), Pembroke (279) and Belmont (286) in the 11 scoring teams, the girls field was much tighter.

The Tide girls scored 25 points to top MV (51), Hopkinton (55), Bow (122), John Stark (124) and Belmont (165).

“This year there’s a new level of competition (in the Capital Area) and we were coming in really excited to race some great teams,” Concord girls’ coach Ally Davis said. “It turned out to be a great day for us. We did better than expected.”

Rebenciuc and Reynolds led the field of 54 runners through the first mile with Orcutt and three of Tide teammates right behind.

MV’s Emma York (10th, 20:32) led Concord’s Katie Watt (15th, 20:55) and Abby Goulas (23rd, 21:44) through the first mile, but a big pack of Hopkinton runners, including Emma Rothe (ninth, 20:17), Anna O’Reilly (12th, 20:38), Hannah Bennett (12th, 20:48), Cailey Stockwell (14th, 20:53) and Cate Westbrook (16th, 21:19) was within striking distance.

The pack stretched out in the second mile of the race and Rebenciuc pulled away for a more comfortable lead.

“I wanted to take advantage of the fact that my hill running has been getting better and I wanted to pull away on the hill (in the second mile),” Rebenciuc said. “It feels amazing (to win Capital Area). I feel like I have a shot at winning D-II.”

Bragg won the boys’ race in a similar fashion, staying in the top group of runners through the first mile that included Gilford’s Patrick Gandini (second, 16:17), St. Paul’s Clemens Herfarth (16:18), Bow’s Colin Lessard (ninth, 17:21) and Bragg’s teammates Kearns, Cook and Devine.

“I wanted the team to do really well,” Bragg said. “I wanted the team to win and to have a tight pack between our first and fifth man ... right before the hill (in the second mile) things broke up a little bit.”

Concord, which also had strong races from Liam Conery (15th, 17:50) and Rovanee Nickson (34th, 19:06), has had mixed results in major invitationals this season, so a convincing win one week before the D-I championship couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We’ve had a couple meets so far where athletes haven’t performed the way that they’ve wanted to,” Concord’s first-year boys’ coach Zach Procek said, “but we’re trying to clean it up for states next weekend. A lot of the guys ran how they wanted to or better. It’s a good way to start out a really competitive season at the end of the year.”

Bragg added that, “we’ve gotten a lot better since the beginning of the season.”

Alex Taylor (seventh, 16:58), Finn Sias (16th, 17:51) and Luke Dieterle (18th, 18:02) were the other top performers for runner-up St. Paul’s, while Lessard, Ben Neff (10th, 17:24), Gabe Neff (12th, 17:39), Adem Aricanli (20th, 18:06) and Connor Bernard (24th, 18:28) led third-place Bow.

Hopkinton’s Shepyrd Murdough (11th, 17:30) and Theodor Mollano (19th, 18:03), Merrimack Valley’s Ethan Dodenhoff (13th, 17:43), Winnisquam’s Riley Mann (14th, 17:47) and Rylan Robert (17th, 17:53), Bishop Brady’s Oscar Miller (26th, 18:43) and Belmont’s Jared Whitcomb (39th, 19:29) were the other top area runners.

Winnisquam’s Faith Gosselin (eighth, 20:17), John Stark’s Brianna Langdon (17th, 21:19) and Katie Palmateer (22nd, 21:40), Bishop Brady’s Abby Shagena (18th, 21:26), Merrimack Valley’s Samantha Kimball (20th, 21:35) and Madisyn Garrity (24th, 22:02), Belmont’s Aurora Couto (21st, 21:37) and Bow’s Maya Brochu (24th, 21:52) and Emily Kiah (26th, 22:12) were the other top area runners on the girls’ side.

Football

Pinkerton 27, Concord 6

Key players: Concord – Ronan McGonigle (TD)

Highlights: The Crimson Tide kept things close early, trailing 10-0 after the first quarter and 13-0 at halftime. McGonigle scored on a 3-yard run to make it 20-6 with 3:48 left in the third quarter.

Records: Concord 2-5; Pinkerton 4-3

Field Hockey

Concord 4, Nashua South 0

Key players: Concord – Ella Doherty (2G), Julie Auld (G), Kait McKinnon (G), Jordan Cromwell (2A), Maria Armaganian (A); Nashua South– Courtney Tello (23 saves)

Highlights: Concord controlled the ball in the midfield and attacked the circle consistently, but strong goalkeeping kept Nashua in the game until the end of the second half, when two quick goals sealed the victory for Concord.

Records: Concord 10-4-0; Nashua South 2-12-0

Merrimack Valley 3, Oyster River 2, OT

Key players: Merrimack Valley – Reilly Swislosky (G, 2A), Taylor Bailey (G), Caitlyn Fortier (G), Abby Forbes (midfield), Lauren McLaughlin (midfield)

Highlights: Oyster River took a 2-0 lead late in the first half, but MV made it 2-1 just 3:33 before halftime when Fortier tipped in a shot from Swislosky, who scored herself on a long range shot to make it 2-2. The Pride controlled the second half, but couldn’t find the winning goal in regulation. Swislosky created the goal in OT when she pulled by a defender and took a shot from the middle that Bailey tipped into the net.

Coach’s quote: “We were able to dig ourselves out of another hole tonight after going down 2-0. I was pleased with how we controlled the second half and really put a lot of pressure on their defense. Reilly was able to create a lot of offensive opportunities, not only for herself, but for other people as well. The girls are ready to bring this momentum into the first round of the tournament.” – Merrimack Valley’s Jen Colgan

Records: Merrimack Valley 9-5; Oyster River 5-9

Goffstown 2, Bow 1

Key players: Bow – Alex Larrabee (G), Barrie Guertin (A), Elizabeth Guertin (midfield), Jocelyn Webber (midfield), Maddie Soucy (great saves in goal)

Highlights: It was the regular-season finale for both teams, and Larrabee opened the scoring on a lovely deflection from Guertin. Goffstown scored shortly after and the game stayed tied until 40 seconds left in the second half when Goffstown tucked in the winning goal.

Coach’s quote: “We anticipated a close game today against a strong Goffstown team and it was all that. We have gone to overtime three times this season and I was confident that we could pull off an overtime win tonight. Unfortunately, the Grizzlies denied us by scoring with less than a minute left in the game. Falcon field hockey has shown that they can hold their own with the tough competition of Division II and I am proud of their determination and growth. Now we look forward to postseason play.” – Bow’s Rebecca Cleary, Head Coach

Records: Goffstown8-6-0; Bow 5-8-1

Bishop Brady 6, Monadnock 2

Key players: Bishop Brady – Becca Murphy (2G), Halle Laramie (3G, A), Meagan Stagner (G), Libbey Hicks (A), Riley Marsh (A); Monadnock – Cassidy Purrington (G), Carley Stearut (G)

Coach's quote: “I was very proud of the strong support by everyone during their final regular-season game today. This family of seventeen young ladies has remained together throughout this amazing field hockey season. Their journey continues!” – Bishop Brady’s Kelly Owen

Records: Bishop Brady 12-2-0; Monadnock 1-13-0

Hopkinton 5, Newport 3

Key players: Hopkinton – Katie Meserve (4G), Tora Thornley (G), Fiona Beane (defense), Kate Bouchard (defense); Newport – Eliza Osgood (G)

Coach’s quote: “We played well tonight and we are pleased with ending our season first in the division. As playoffs start we know it can be anyone’s game, so we need to put our heads down and keep working hard.” – Hopkinton’s Kate Hohenberger

Records: Hopkinton 13-1; Newport 8-6

Girls’ Volleyball

John Stark 3, Souhegan 0

Key players: John Stark – Riley Lord (10 kills, 5 aces), Brooke Patnode (5 aces, 3 kills, 11 assists), Brianna Bodner (4 kills, 8 assists), Izabella Nelson (good serve receive and 10 digs)

Highlights: The Generals trailed in the first set until their passing and hitting picked up late and they pulled out a 25-18 win. Stark controlled the second set for a 25-14 win, but had to work to close out Souhegan in the third, 25-20.

Coach’s quote: “We faced a strong service team tonight and had to work hard to give good passes to the setters. We found a way to win and that is what this team does.” – John Stark’s Jeff McClellan

Records: John Stark 12-3; Souhegan 7-8




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