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Capsule outlook of the area’s high school cross country teams

  • Coe-Brown’s Addison Cox (113) competes in the Division II girls’ cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Oct. 28, 2017. Monitor file

  • Kearsarge’s Mya Dube is congratulated after she receives her first-place medal following the Division III cross country championships at Derryfield Park in Manchester last October. Monitor file


Monday, September 03, 2018

BOW

Division: II

Coaches: Boys: Katie McDonald (3rd year); Girls: Barb Higgins (5th year)

Last year: Boys: 4th in D-III; Girls: 6th in D-III

Returning starters: Boys: Sam Berube, sr.; Kirpal Demian, sr.; Colin Lessard, jr.; Ben Neff, so.; Gabe Neff, jr.; Caleb Olson, sr.

Girls: Sarah Ciotti, sr.; Libby Parker, sr.; Grace Maurer, sr.; Sofia Darrell, sr.; Emma Conley, sr.; Kate Watt, jr.; Evelyn Hatem, jr.; Meredith Krause, jr.; Louisa Carey, so.

Top newcomers: Boys: Nate Demers, sr.; Matthew Cardarelli, so.; Justin Murphy, so.

Girls: Tory Burke, so.; Autumn Boisvert, so.; Katie Lessard, fr.; Leah Boisvert, fr.

Outlook: The Falcons are moving up to D-II after spending the 2010 through 2017 seasons in D-III, so their outlook is not clear. Despite being one of the smallest schools in D-II, Bow is loaded with an abundance of experience and a roster size (48 boys and 41 girls) that rivals D-I schools. Both teams return their top runners from last year with Kirpal Demian (17th in D-III last year) and Berube (21st) returning to the team that qualified for Meet of Champions last year, and Ciotti (ninth) returning to the girls, who finished one spot shy of MOC qualifying.

“The boys have trained well together throughout the year and have promoted a lively competitive threshold, bringing some new talent with them this year,” coach McDonald said. “I believe they are ready to make a strong showing in D-II.”

Teams to beat: Boys: Oyster River, Coe-Brown; Girls: Oyster River

COE-BROWN

Division: II

Coaches: Brent Tkaczyk (20th year), Tim Cox (19th year)

Last year: Boys: D-II runner-up; Girls: D-II runner-up

Returning starters: Boys: Gavyn Lewis, sr.; Dawson DuBois, jr.; Sam Patteson, jr.; Luke Tkaczyk, so.; Wyatt Mackey, so.; Logan Mihelich, so.

Girls: Addison Cox, so.; Abigail O’Connor, jr.; Ella Malone, so.; Autumn Graham, sr.

Top newcomers: Boys: Lars Hogne, fr.; Porter Heigis, so.

Girls: Miranda Compton, so.; Kelsey Pine, sr.; Tessa Millette, so.; Olivia Noni, so.; Kylie Blad, sr.

Outlook: Boys: The Bears return six of the seven runners that represented Coe-Brown during last year’s somewhat surprising runner-up finish and are still young. “They all have put in great summers of training and are looking forward to it paying off,” coaches Tkaczyk and Cox said. “If they can race as a team, they have a high ceiling.

Girls: The Bears return four runners from last season’s runner-up finish, including Addison Cox, who finished fourth in D-II and seventh at Meet of Champions as a freshman.

“Thank goodness for preseason as each athlete is adjusting to their new roles,” coach Cox said. “With our top three being strong up front, much needed leadership will be provided by our seniors in the middle. They are buying into the process and focusing on the end of the year.”

Teams to beat: Boys: Oyster River, Hanover, Souhegan; Girls: Souhegan, Oyster River, Milford

John Stark

Division: II

Coaches: Patrick Scott (5th year), Christine Anderson (3rd year)

Last year: Boys: 15th; Girls: 13th

Returning starters: Boys: Brandon Langdon, sr.; Jack Hagan, jr.; Collin Astholz, sr.; Reese Montague, so.; Owen Payeur, sr.; Marcus McFall, jr.

Girls: Hailey Erskine, sr.; Haleigh Bilodeau, sr.; Katie Brennan, sr.; Madison McDonald, so.

Top newcomers: Girls: Brianna Langdon, fr.; Grace Caplan, fr.; Katie Palmateer, fr.; Karina Keirsted, fr.

Outlook: Boys: The Generals are a small, but experienced team that is looking to improve on last year’s finish in D-II. The team has a clear frontrunner in Langdon, who finished 16th in D-II last season.

Girls: The Lady Generals have dedicated senior runners who will lead the team for a final season. This year’s squad includes a quartet of promising freshman who look to bolster John Stark’s depth and improve the Generals’ standing in local results and in D-II.

Teams to beat: Boys: Coe-Brown, Oyster River; Girls: Souhegan, Coe-Brown, Oyster River

MERRIMACK VALLEY

Division: II

Coaches: Dave Irving (16th year), Sandu Rebenciuc (4th year)

Last year: Boys: 7th; Girls: 14th

Returning starters: Boys: David Reynolds, sr.; Matt Reynolds, sr.; Ethan Dodenhoff, so.; Connor Butt, sr.; Christian Oglesby, jr.

Girls: Emma York, jr.; Madisyn Garrity, jr.; Maizie Thurber-Wells, sr.; Tristan Beyer, sr.

Top newcomers: Boys: Wylie Sanders, sr.

Girls: Sophia Reynolds, fr.; Addie Hodge, jr.

Outlook: Boys: Finishing one place shy of advancing to the Meet of Champions “really motivated the boys this summer and they are coming into the season in great shape,” Irving said. “We return five of the top seven, and while there is a bit of a drop off in experience after that, we hope to develop some depth. Staying healthy while still increasing our fitness will be the goal.”

The Pride have a solid 1-2 punch with New England Championship qualifier David Reynolds (fourth in D-II and at Meet of Champions last year) and twin brother Matt Reynolds (15th in D-II) returning.

Girls: The Pride girls’ team lacks the numbers to be competitive in the top of Division II, but have some athletes who could be towards the top of the individual standings.

“Overall there is a lot of experience on the team and with the key addition of a couple runners we are looking to improve on last year’s division finish,” Irving said. “Freshman Reynolds (last year’s middle school state champion) and a much-improved junior York will be very competitive in D-II, while senior Thurber-Wells will provide the team with very strong leadership.”

Teams to beat: Boys: Coe-Brown, Oyster River; Girls: Souhegan, Coe-Brown, Oyster River

PEMBROKE

Division: II

Coach: Lance Adams (1st year)

Last year: Boys: 16th; Girls: 18th

Returning starters: Avery Gamache, sr.; Jack Harkness, so.; Oscar Gamache, so.; Alex Chiavaras, so.

Top newcomers: Charlotte Corbitt, fr.; Olivia Berkeley, fr.; David Testerman, fr.; Casey Schuman, fr.; Shane Milne, fr.

Belmont

Division: III

Coach: Aaron Hayward (12th year)

Last year: Boys: 13th; Girls: 7th

Returning starters: Boys: Aidan Rupp, sr.; Nick Miles, jr.; Micah Edgren, so.

Girls: Alice Riley, sr.; Makayla Palmer, sr.; Mercede McIntyre, jr.; Hannah Leclair, jr.; Aurora Couto, so.; Chloe Jackson, so.

Top newcomers: Boys: Jared Whitcomb, so.; Chris Pare, fr.

Girls: Tatiana Magdich, fr.

Outlook: The Raiders are a young and experienced team. Riley is looking to win a second D-III title (she won in 2016 as a sophomore and finished 11th last year) and Palmer is healthy and ready to build off of her successful 2016 season. Rupp had a breakout season last year for the boys. After that, the rest of the boys’ and girls’ rosters are made up of athletes that have one year of running experience or less.

“(We are) a true blank slate,” Hayward said. “I have no idea how far we’ll grow in the season. It will be a challenge we embrace together.”

Teams to beat: Kearsarge, Campbell, Hopkinton, Mascenic

Bishop Brady

Division: III

Coach: Bill Heath (17th year)

Last year: Boys: 23rd; Girls: 17th

Returning starters: Boys: Oscar Miller, jr.; Max Brown, so.; Will Verdi, jr.

Top newcomers: Boys: Joe Tierney, so.; Charlie Miller, fr.; Will Spencer, jr.

Outlook: Without a girls’ team, Green Giant cross country will be represented entirely by its boys’ squad. With more boys on the roster this year and three returners, including last year’s top runner, Oscar Miller, Heath expects that the boys will improve on last year’s result.

Teams to beat: Boys: Mascenic, Kearsarge

HILLSBORO-DEERING

Division: III

Coach: Steve Cousens (2nd year)

Last year: Boys: 21st; Girls: DNS

Returning starters: Boys: Nathan Ledvina, so.; Tucker Sheehan, sr.; Skyler Smith, so.; Zach Camp, sr.; Kyle Bergstresser, sr.

Girls: Emma Curley, so.; Elizabeth Labier, so.; Alannah Johnson, jr.

Top newcomers: Boys: Izaac Healey, so.; Stephen Johnson, so.

Outlook: The Hillcat girls only have three athletes, so H-D will not have a team score, but all three runners are returning from last year, including the captain, Labier. The boys’ team consists entirely of seniors and sophomores and is returning its strongest runner, Camp.

“They are great, supportive teammates,” Cousens said. “All of the returning runners improved tremendously during the course of last season and hope to pick up where they left off.”

HOPKINTON

Division: III

Coach: Rob Rothe (3rd year)

Last year: Boys: 11th; Girls: D-III runner-up

Returning starters: Boys: Theodore Mollano, so.; Simon Page, sr.; Shepyrd Murdough, jr.; Nick Simpkins, so.; Michael Eggers so.

Girls: Emma Rothe, jr.; Sydney Stockwell, jr.; Lily Sabol, jr.; Cate Westbrook, so.; Lilia Klingler, so.

Top newcomers: Boys: Parker Wuellenweber, fr.

Girls: Cailey Stockwell, fr.; Anna O’Reilly, fr.

Outlook: Girls: The Hawk girls did not graduate any runners from last year’s runner-up team and return five of their top seven, including Emma Rothe and Sydney Stockwell, who finished eighth and 10th in D-III last season. Add a couple of standout freshmen in Cailey Stockwell and O’Reilly into the mix and Hopkinton will be a force to be reckoned with.

“With more strong runners behind them, the team shows good depth and should be a major force within D-III and beyond,” Coach Rothe said.

Boys: Hopkinton returns the majority of its scoring runners from last season’s championship meet. Mollano, Page, Murdough, Simpkins and Eggers look to lead the way, but an eager group behind them is ready for the challenge. Page is the only senior and the Hawks are a young squad overall but “they continue to grow and strengthen each season,” Coach Rothe said. “I know they’ve been working hard and are hungry to get out on the courses to show what they have this season. I’m excited to see their accomplishments.”

Teams to beat: Boys: Mascenic, Kearsarge; Girls: Campbell, Kearsarge

KEARSARGE

Division: III

Coaches: Peter Angus and Ernie Brake (16th year)

Last year: Boys: D-III runner-up; Girls: 3rd

Returning starters: Boys: Ben Boulton, sr.; Trevor Pauling, sr.; Ed Stowell, jr.

Girls: Marliese Baer, jr.; Jenna Bears, jr.; Mya Dube, jr.; Cassie Gilbert, so.; Avril Prak, sr.; Liz Soule, jr.

Outlook: The Cougar boys lost four of its top seven from last year’s runner-up team and are looking for their younger runners to fill some holes in their roster. The girls on the other hand return six of the seven runners, including Dube, the defending individual champion, who led Kearsarge to third place and have the largest roster in program history at 19 strong.

“This is the largest girls’ team we have ever had and the quality of our depth is great. I think it will be an exciting year for the girls’ team,” said Angus, adding that the boys’ team “has great numbers this year and is looking forward to a competitive season.”

Teams to beat: Boys: Mascenic, Campbell, Winnisquam; Girls: Hopkinton, Campbell

WINNISQUAM

Division: III

Coach: Feliccia Chirgwin (2nd year)

Last year: Boys: 5th; Girls: 14th