SHS girls win at Meet of Champions

Forget about Division II.

The Souhegan girls cross country team proved to be the best in the state Saturday – and it wasn’t even that close.

Madeleine Hunt, Arielle Zlot­nick and Jane Leighton were all among the first 17 runners to cross the finish line and the Sabers earned first place at the NHIAA Meet of Champions on Saturday at Mines Falls Park in Nashua.

Souhegan finished with 89 points, which was 30 clear of second-place Pinkerton’s 119. Coe-Brown (127) was third, while Bishop Guertin (137), Al­virne (144) and Merrimack (172) rounded out the top six among the top 19 girls cross country teams in New Hampshire.

Hunt, a senior who won the Division II individual title the previous week, finished seventh among 154 competitors Satur­day with a time of 18:08.9.

Zlotnick, a sophomore, just missed the top 10 with an 11th-place showing at 18:36.9, and Leighton, a junior, crossed the finish line in 17th at 18:50.2.

Shannon Earley, a senior, also collected points with a 39th-place performance at 19:38.4, and freshman Marissa Romano was right behind Earley in 40th at 19:40.2 to cap the team scor­ing and clinch state supremacy.

Junior Elise Lambert (91st, 21:09.6) and senior Emily Eh­renstein (94th, 21:11.5) also com­peted for Souhegan. The seven Sabers will compete at the 82nd Annual New England Inter­scholastic Cross Country Cham­pionships on Saturday at Pona­ganset High School in North Scituate, R.I. The boys race is set to start at 11:30 a.m., while the girls will run at 12:30 p.m.

They will be joined by Mil­ford junior standout Rebecca Durham, who was the top local finisher Saturday with a sixth-place performance at 18:03.3. The top six teams and top 25 individuals qualified for New Englands.

Exeter junior Jacqueline Gaughan won the individual MOC title, topping the second-place finisher by nearly 30 sec­onds with a time of 17:43.2.

Bishop Guertin fresh­man Caroline Fischer was next at 17:43.2.

The Souhegan boys team also qualified for the Meet of Champions, but the Sabers’ season ended with a 13th-place finish among 19 teams.

Patrick McGrath led the Sabers in 34th place with a time of 16:39.9. Garrett Earley (73rd, 17:03.6), Sam Goddard (97th, 17:28.6), Billy Seguin (113th, 17:44), Jake Upton (125th, 18:03.1), Bill Drake (128th, 18:08.6) and Nathan Stine (136th, 18:22.5) also represented the Sabers in the 151-run­ner field.

Nashua North (84 points) emerged as the boys team champion, while Concord (91), Keene (115), Pinkerton (124), Coe- Brown (139) and Oyster River (155) rounded out the top six and New Eng­land qualifiers.

Patrick O’Brien, an Oys­ter River senior, was the runaway winner with a blistering time of 15:03.4. Pelham’s Cameron Starr earned runner-up honors at 15:51.5.