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: Comments From Fred Griffin On State Cross Country Meet  ( 3393 )
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« : October 28, 2007, 03:18:48 PM »

Our season on both sides was a complicated tale of sickness and injury and dogged perseverance in the face of both.  From mid- September through mid-October we never fielded healthy squads. Our girls team re-grouped with two weeks to go and put together three improving races.  Our guys never really got back on track physically but mentally and emotionally brought just about as much courage to this testing sport as can be summoned.  Their performance at state meet was a case in point. They adopted the mantra of "whatever it takes!" for the race and that's just what they did, eking out an electrifyingly close win over People's and Thetford.  They looked the gray rat in the eye and made it retreat.

Dustin Hayes has established himself over two years in running and skiing as a big game performer and he rose to the challenge again. He ran with his head up and eyes wide open, keeping our front pack together and in the lead at the halfway point.  Kyle Bochanski put together his best race of the year and his finishing kick past a Stowe runner in the last five yards was pivotal. Jeremy Lawrence, our leader all year, was running-wounded at Thetford, but he held on despite a cracked rib to take 6th.  Our final scoring runner was senior Joel Pfansteil who rallied after weeks of sickness with a great closing effort. If any of those four runners lets down for a heartbeat, we don't win. We lose three seniors from our top seven, but have plenty of help coming along to fill in. It is worth noting that Simon Mann Gow, another sophomore, ran a time in the Challnege race that would have placed him in our top four in the Championship event.

Our girls suspected that Burr and Burton was out of reach, given the amount of training time missed to illness over the last month. Nonetherless they put together what was unquestionably their best race of the year. It is critical to the success of our team that we run as a pack behind Megan and Shannon Kane, our sophomore twins who have been our best runners the last two seasons. Our pack on Saturday was led by Heather Holloway through the halfway point and then Myriah Sheehan, our senior captain, took charge and carried the girls home behind the Kane sisters. This is a remarkable group which was unable to reach their potential this season.  We lose Myriah next year but return a host of talented runners. If we have a healthy season next year we are fully capable of challenging the Burr and Burton team -- or any other D-3 school. Our girls finished their season on a high note, but are already looking forward to next year.

The varsity runners claim the limelight at Thetford, but this was truly a team effort. Out challenge runners and our middle school athletes were all over that muddy course each and every race, 
cheering on the teammates. Their energy is always positive and Joseph Gregoire our 40:00 junior runner, was as cheered by his efforts as was Dustin Hayes.

Oh yes, the winners of the all-important 10th annual State Meet pumpkin carving contest on the ride home were Sheilagh Smith, Jess Champagne, Dan Lawrence, and Michelle Ambrisco.

Now it's time to move forward to x-c skiing!

Henry Raymond
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