Concord boys run to fifth place at New England Championships

Monitor staff
Sunday, November 12, 2017

After two weekends of historic performances at the Division I Championship and the Meet of Champions, the Concord boys’ cross country team fell short of its ultimate goal, but the Tide still finished fifth at the New England High School Championships on Saturday.

It was the first top-five finish for the Concord boys’ program since the Crimson Tide placed third in 1983 and it was the school’s best overall finish since the Tide girls won the New England title in 2002.

The Coe-Brown girls finished seventh, up one spot from last year, while the Bears boys came in 13th.

Connecticut champions Xavier (74 points) won the boys’ team title, topping the defending New England champions from Staples, Conn. (103).

Bishop Hendricken, R.I., one of just two teams to beat Concord all season, came in third with 126 points. La Salle, R.I. (159) and Concord (202) rounded out the top five.

“It was very clear from the get-go that we were not having a particularly strong performance,” Concord Coach Tristan Black-Ingersoll said. “Our benchmark is consistency, running strong every meet. The kids ran really hard and had historic performances the last weeks. But eventually you run up empty and I think we did today.”

Junior and D-I champion Forest MacKenzie was the Tide’s top runner and best NH finisher in the race, finishing 14th in 16:03 on the 5K course in Belfast, Maine.

Seniors Ollie Spencer (35th, 16:22) and Matt O’Brien (61st, 16:36) were in the top quarter of the pack of over 250 runners and significantly improved over last year’s New England performances.

MacKenzie, Spencer and O’Brien finished 57th, 127th and 133rd last year.

“You have to lose periodically,” Black-Ingersoll said. “If you never lost, there would be nothing significant about winning. ... Three of the schools that beat us were private schools. I think next year we are going to surprise some of the established prep schools that generally win this meet.”

Nate Nichols (80th, 16:49), Eli Boesch-Dining (83rd, 16:49), David Cook (123rd, 17:05) and Ryan Devine (129th, 17:08) were the other Concord runners.

While it wasn’t the ending the Tide hoped for, the squad is optimistic for next season.

According to Black-Ingersoll: “On our way back the guys said, ‘When we step off the bus, that’s step one towards winning the New England title next year.’ ”

The Coe-Brown boys dropped three spots from their 10th-place finish last year, a significant achievement given the youth and inexperience of the Bears’ squad. The Bears also beat 14th-place Oyster River, 425-458. Oyster River beat Coe-Brown by 10 points for the Division II title two weeks ago.

Senior and D-II champion Evan Tanguay improved upon his 63rd-place finish last year, coming in 36th at 16:23.

Freshmen Luke Tkaczyk, Wyatt Mackey and junior Gavyn Lewis finished 131st, 132nd and 133rd, respectively, and were separated by just 0.14 seconds at 17:08.

Dawson Dubois (154th, 17:24) and Logan Mihelich (166th, 17:38) were the other Coe-Brown runners.

Merrimack Valley’s David Reynolds (52nd, 16:33) also competed.

Fairfield Prep’s (Conn.) Drew Thompson won the individual title in 15:16.66.

On the girls’ side, New Hampshire showed its dominance, sweeping both the team and individual titles.

Pinkerton (163) won the New England title after finishing third last year. Bishop Guertin (183) finished second and Glastonbury, Conn. (212) narrowly beat the defending champions from Champlain Valley, Vt. (215) for third.

Souhegan (236) edged La Salle, R.I (238) and Coe-Brown (239) for fifth-place.

Souhegan also narrowly beat Coe-Brown for the D-II title by 10 points two weeks ago.

Manchester West’s Julia Robitaille (D-II girls’ champion) won the individual title in 17:31.65. Defending titleholder (and D-I champion) Jackie Gaughan from Exeter finished sixth in 18:07.

Coe-Brown’s Addison Cox (17th, 18:40) was the third-fastest freshman in the race of over 250 runners while Concord’s Morgane Orcutt (32nd, 18:59) was the fourth-fastest freshman. Orcutt finished just in front of Kearsarge’s Mya Dube (33rd, 18:59).

Abby O’Connor (60th, 19:27) and Elly McDonough (74th, 19:32) were the next two runners across the line for the Bears. O’Connor and McDonough finished 123rd and 100th last year.

Sarah Dupuis (130th, 20:13), Ella Malone (132nd, 20:14), Raven Barnes (185th, 21:05) and Autumn Graham (219th, 21:35) rounded out Coe-Brown’s runners.