Both boys' and girls' cross-country teams had impressive outings at the 40th annual Manchester Invitational in Manchester, New Hampshire, on September 26. Harwood teams competed in the small school division (less than 1,000 students). Harwood has less than 600 students in grades 9 through12 and was one of the smaller schools in that division.
Harwood's Sam Nishi led the entire course until the last quarter mile, when Patrick O'Brien of Oyster River overtook him. "I give Sam a lot of credit. The pace was slow, only 5:20 at the first mile, so Sam took the lead and made the others run his race. However, it was a tough day to be the leader. I think the unusually warm temperatures may have hurt him a little more than the runners from southern New England," said coach John Kerrigan. Sam's friend and teammate Jacob Palmerio had his best race ever. Jacob finished an impressive 22nd place. He was followed by his brother Anthony (50), Morgan Baughman (58), Colin Fennelly (83), Kyle Dash (95) and his other sibling Nathan (109).
"I was very pleased with the results. Much of the credit for the solid team performance (third place) goes to co-captain Jacob Palmerio who inspired the others with is outstanding performance today," said Kerrigan.
Harwood girls placed second in the 30-team field. Only Greely (the number-one ranked team in the state of Maine) was able to hold off the Highlanders. Harwood girls were led by a stellar performance by freshman Erin Magill. Erin placed 12th in an elite field of runners. Even better – she broke the 20-minute barrier. A Harwood freshman, Erin had the best time ever recorded, 19:59.7, and she joins only five other Harwood runners that have gone under 20 minutes. Harwood's Anneka Williams put up a gallant effort. With only a quarter mile left in the race, Anneka was comfortably in the top 10, leading her younger teammate, Erin, by 10 seconds. "On the final turn, I could tell something was terribly wrong. Her skin looked pale and her muscles tight. Anneka collapsed at the finish. She showed much courage and respect for her teammates by making it to the finish line. She was diagnosed with heat prostration. She is a tough and intelligent girl. I am sure she will bounce back from this," said coach Kerrigan. Charlotte Boyden, 30th, followed her. Harwood's fab four freshmen continue to impress. Phoebe Sweet finished 37th, Jordy Kulis 43rd and Isabella Jamieson 58th. Harwood freshmen were supported by the wise pace setting of sophomore Lily Clark, who was only 15 seconds over her PR and finished in 54th place.
Harwood will compete with 78 other schools in Belfast, Maine, this weekend at the Maine Festival of Champions. The Highlanders are looking forward to matching their third place (girls) and second place (boys) finishes from 2013.