Souhegan earns 2nd in New England

Sabers lead strong effort from Granite State girls

Geoffrey Wilson couldn’t con­tain his excitement late into Saturday night.

He had no reason to curb his enthusiasm. Wilson, Souhegan High School’s cross country coach, had just returned from the 82nd New England Asso­ciation Cross Country Cham­pionships at Ponaganset High School in North Scituate, R.I. – an event that saw his Sabers girls team finish second.

"It’s been a phenomenal year for us," Wilson said. "We were ranked second in the pre­season, we stayed in the top five all season, and then we won the Division II and Meet of Champi­ons titles.

"We peaked at the right time. Three weeks in a row these girls put it all together."

Leading the way for Souhe­gan was Division II individual champion Madeleine Hunt. The senior followed up her seventh-place MOCs run with an eighth-place showing at New Englands – navigating the course in 18 minutes and 22.73 seconds.

The girls race was won by Ex­eter junior Jacqueline Gaughan (17:34.11), with Bedford junior Leya Salis (17:54.90) second and Bishop Guertin freshman Caro­line Fischer (18:00.60) third.

New Hampshire placed six runners in the top 10, including Manchester West sophomore Julia Robitaille (18:10.13) in sixth and Oyster River junior Danielle Slavin (18:23.53) 10th.

The Granite State was just as strong teamwise, with Souhegan (second, 163 points), Pinkerton Academy (third, 227), Bishop Guertin (fifth, 238), Coe-Brown (eighth, 269) and Alvirne (ninth, 275) all in the top 10 behind meet winner Champlain Valley (121) of Vermont.

Wilson was as excited for the state as he was for his team.

"It was a great day for New Hampshire girls cross coun­try," Wilson said. "It shows the strength of New Hampshire cross country.

"Three of the top five run­ners, six of the top 10, and five of the top 10 teams."

Helping Hunt get Souhegan that runner-up finish were soph­omore Arielle Zlotnick (28th, 18:51.65), junior Jane Leighton (33rd, 18:58.57), freshman Maris­sa Romano (95th, 19:53.03) and senior Shannon Earley (121st, 20:08.41).

Other locals finishing in the top 75 were Bishop Guertin freshman Caroline Towle (39th, 19:06.52), Milford seniors Alex Matsis (43rd, 19:17.10) and Re­becca Durham (49th, 19:17). Al­virne senior Shaylyn Saunders (65th, 19:30.13) and Merrimack junior Bailey Carrillo (67th, 19:30.59).

There weren’t as many strong finishes on the boys side, but Nashua North did have two run­ners in the top 35 – junior David Vorbach (31st, 16:09.77) and senior Connor Muise (32nd, 16:10.21) – on its way to eighth as a team.

The Titans finished with 294 points. Staples High School, of Westport, Conn., won the boys title with 72 points.

Alvirne senior Noah Bellomo (37th, 16:16.66) was the only oth­er local runner to finish in the top 75 in the boys meet.

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