According to the latest polls from the Vermont Cross-Country Coaches Association Harwood girls are ranked first among Division II schools and fourth overall when all divisions are considered.
Looks like this is about to change. Harwood girls were solidly beaten by a strong U-32 team running on their own course at the U-32 Invitational on Saturday, September 28. Harwood placed three girls in the top 10. Ava Thurston continued her winning streak beating her closest competitor, May Lamb of U-32, by 59 seconds. Britta Zetterstrom finished fifth, less than 2 seconds behind U-32’s second runner, Lana Page. Caelyn McDonough finished 10th just behind two U-32 runners. Although Harwood’s trio of Jill Rundle (22), Charlie Flint (23) and Julianne Young (24) finished solidly together, it was not enough to beat the Raiders.
“We have two freshman runners in our top five. They are improving rapidly and should stir things up a bit with another month of racing experience. Julianne is slowly improving from her injuries. Hopefully by state meet we can be much closer. But we are going to need some help from other teams. Although Ava won by almost a minute, the top U-32 girl placed second. We gained a minute in team time comparison but only one place in the final score. Hopefully individuals from other teams will fill that gap,” said coach John Kerrigan.
Anlu Thamm ran well in her first varsity race finishing 33rd, as did Alex Pendo who finished fourth in a very competitive JV race. The pack of Hadley Keilich (14), Sarah Kate Smith (15), Masie Frank (16), Willa Yonkman (20), Laura Martinez (22) and Madison Keilich (24) helped lead Harwood JV girls to a second-place finish to winners CVU.
Harwood boys finished seventh in the 16-team field but only 23 points out of second. They were led by team captain Carlton Cummisky (11), Luke Groom (26), Ebbe Lillis (31), Zennor Dimario (41), Jack Lamphere (43) and Vinnie Spina (45).
“We had our top five runners in before every team except the winning team (U-32),” the coach recalled.
“We are slowly decreasing our gap time (time between No. 1 and No. 5). We have dropped it from 2:30 minutes at Essex to 1:50 at U-32. We will need to drop it to less than a minute to be competitive,” Kerrigan said.
Harwood JV boys had six finishers in the top 50: Silas Yonkman (33), Holden Stephenson (41), Levi Forkey (43), Jonah Busker (45), Ben White (46) and Mason Berry (47).
Harwood will be competing this Saturday, October 5, at the Maine Festival of Champions. They will be competing against 85 teams from Maine, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Rhode Island. Over 2,000 runners are expected to race the course in Belfast, Maine.