By Lloyd Jones
BERLIN — The Berlin High boys’ cross-country team gave everything it had in the Division III Championships at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. The boys from Berlin finished 12th overall, just 18 points out of a top 10 finish.
The Berlin girls and the Gorham girls’ and boys’ teams did not have five runners finish (nor enter) the race and thus did not post team scores for the meet.
The Mountaineers will, however, be represented at the prestigious Meet of Champions, which brings together the top six runners and 25 individuals from each of the three divisions to compete this Saturday in Derryfield. Junior Sam Stiles punched his ticket to the MOC with a fine 23rd place showing on Saturday.
There were 25 scoring teams in the 5K race for the boys. Mascenic Regional placed four boys in the top 15 and five in the top 24 to win the championship with 56 points.
Kearsarge, which had five boys in the top 22, finished with 78 points to earn runner-up honors in second, whole Campbell rounded out the podium in third with 89 points.
Other team scores were: Bow, 156; Winnisquam, 206; Monadnock, 226; Laconia, 244; Moultonborough, 271; Conant, 294; Inter-Lakes, 295; Hopkinton, 303; Berlin, 313; Belmont, 335; Gilford, 336; Derryfield, 388; Newmarket, 433; Newfound, 499; Epping, 533; White Mountains, 539; Prospect Mountain, 554; Hillsboro-Deering, 595; Hinsdale, 607; Bishop Brady, 608; Fall Mountain, 612; and Raymond, 719.
Individually, Campbell junior Jeffrey Allen topped a field of 185 runners, the largest from the three divisions (121 for Division I and 149 in Division II) for boys, to win the race by 22 seconds in 16:28. He averaged a 5:18 per mile pace.
Freshman Landen Vaillancourt of Mascenic Regional was second in 16:50, while Moultonborough senior Tyler McLaughlin was third in 16:56.
Stiles led the Mountaineers with his 23rd place showing in a time of 18:13. He averaged a 5:51 per mile pace. He was just 10 seconds out of 19th place.
Other Berlin finishers were freshman Michael Howery, 31st, 18:37; junior Ian Laroche, 62nd, 19:21; junior Kolbe Delafontaine, 88th, 20:07; freshman Jace Arsenault, 124th, 21:26; junior Cole Thomas, 132nd, 21:46; and freshman Elijah Gilchrist, 135th, 22:15.
Coach Bob Lord was pleased with the effort from his young troops. Berlin did not have a senior race in the State Meet.
“The future looks good, Lord said during the preseason. “These freshmen could be the boost we need this year, and the core of a great team in a couple of years if they can bring others into the fold.”
Gorham had just one boy in the race — Rob Morehouse — who finished 60th overall in 19:18.
For the girls, Campbell packed five runners into the top 22 to run away with the team title with 74 points.
Hopkinton, which had five girls in the top 27, was the state runner-up in second with 92 points. Kearsarge rounded out the podium in third with 125 points.
Other scoring teams were Mascenic Regional, 145; Monadnock, 146; Bow, 156; Belmont, 162; White Mountains, 209; Hinsdale, 285; Inter-Lakes, 290; Gilford, 308; Fall Mountain, 318; Derryfield, 320; Winnisquam, 357; Newmarket, 364; Moultonborough, 375; Bishop Brady, 380; and Conant, 451.
Individually, Kearsarge sophomore May Dubie won the race by 8 seconds in 19:59. She averaged a 6:26 per mile pace.
A pair of freshmen filled out the podium with Delaney Swanson of Monadnock and Cassie Hemming of Campbell finishing second and third, respectively, in 20:07 and 20:11.
There were 136 girls who finished the race, the second most of the three divisions (111 in Division I and 140 in Division II).
Gorham had three runners race with sophomore Anna Roberge leading the way in 63rd place in 24:17. She averaged a 7:48 per mile pace.
Other Huskies were eighth grader Zoe Grondin, who was 87th in 25:43, and seventh grader Nevaeh King, 125th, 29:22.
Coach Rob Hamel hopes to grow the program in the future.
“My program is built in creating self-confidence in the runners,” Hamel said. “It’s quite simple, actually. The more students run, the more miles they get under their belts, the faster they become. It's a wonderful metaphor for hard work. You get out of any endeavor what you put into it, and when students see the miles rack up and their times go down, they see the motivation for hard work.”
For Berlin, sophomore Grace Cliorite led there Mountaineers with a 98th place result in 26:23. She averaged 8:29 per mile.
Other Mounties were freshman Emily Morris, 116th, 28:41; and freshman Alyssa Delafontaine, 128th, 29:55.