Before each cross-country race all Harwood Union runners do a cheer at the starting line. Most times it is 1-2-3 Harwood. Sometimes it is the Kerrigan’s army cheer, which ends with – “What are we going to do?” Then everyone screams “win.”
Going into the U-32 Invitational, U-32 girls were ranked second in all of Vermont with their only loss to Division 1 powerhouse CVU. Harwood girls were ranked a very distant seventh in the state. According to coach Andrew Tripp of U-32, Harwood girls were facing the strongest ever U-32 girls’ team and, on their home turf, Harwood coach John Kerrigan reported.
As the Harwood varsity girls were getting ready to do the 1-2-3 Harwood cheer Libby Spina asked her teammates, “How come we’re not doing the Kerrigan’s Army Cheer?” One of the girls replied with, “Because it ends with win!”
There is no way we are going to win agreed some of the girls. Spina said, “Let’s do it anyway.” And so, they did. Win that is,” Kerrigan said.
Tom Thurston, father of varsity runner Julia Thurston, observed the race at the halfway point. He remarked to Kerrigan “Boy, John, the kids are running well, I think you can win.” Kerrigan replied with, “The U-32 girls are so strong, the only way we can win is if they beat themselves and one of them drops and even if that happens it will be very close.” Kerrigan’s words turned out to be prophetic.
Just moments after their conversation, U-32s Ginger Long dropped from the course. Long is ranked No. 1 in the state and set a blazing pace through the first half of the race, Kerrigan noted.
Harwood girls rallied. The final score was extremely close. It doesn’t get any closer. In cross country the top five places from each team count to determine the final score. If there is a tie after five runners, the sixth runners from each team are scored. Maisie Franke made the difference as Harwood’s sixth runner.
“It was unfortunate for Ginger and the U-32 girls, they are a fantastic team and I am sure they will bounce back,” Kerrigan said.
Our girls ran well,” noted Kerrigan. Libby Spina (24th) and Heidi Halverson (13th) had personal record times. The winning team was led by Charlie Flint (4), Julia Thurston (11); also helping the winning effort was Hazel Lillis (19) and Maisie Franke (34).”
The young Harwood boys’ team placed fifth in a competitive 16-team field. “We had two sophomores and two freshmen in our top four. Some of our older runners are still coming back from viruses they picked up during the beginning of the school year. They all hung tough today,” the coach said.
Harwood boys were led by Indy Metcalf (7), Chris Cummiskey (15), Lincoln Gage (25), Chapin Rivers (37), Wyatt Popowicz (46) Atticus Ellis (47) and Cooper Hansel (48).” Indy, Chris, Chapin and Atticus all had personal best times today!” said the longtime coach.
Freshman Nicky Service finished 8th in the JV boys’ race with teammate Tanner Hatch (11th) just a step off the podium. Victor Fowler had a strong race finishing 34th.
Freshman Pippa Diller (12) led the Harwood JV girls. She was followed by strong results from Hadley Andersen (14) and Rowan Clough (15)
Harwood cross-country runners will travel to Manchester, New Hampshire, for the Manchester Invitational on Saturday, September 24. The Manchester Invitational is the largest scholastic event in all New England.