NHIAA Boys' Cross Country: Prospect Mountain, Oyster River, Pinkerton run to team titles
MANCHESTER - Pinkerton Academy of Derry picked up another championship in Division I. Senior Jeremy Brassard of Coe-Brown of Northwood as an individual and Oyster River of Durham as a team were back on top, too, in Division II, and Prospect Mt. of Alton collected its first hardware in Division III in the NHIAA boys' cross country Division meets at a breezy and chilly Derryfield Park on Saturday.
Pinkerton coach Mike Clark proudly handed the championship plaque off to one of his runners.
"You were a little baby the last time you held the championship trophy," he said.
Owen Clark, the coach's son, was only a few months old when the Astros last won the state championship. He ran for his Dad on Saturday.
Pinkerton has come close plenty of times since.
"Six of the last eight years we were the runnerup," Mike Clark said. "Oh my gosh. We've been knocking on the door for a long time."
Thanks to some strategy adjustments during the race, they broke through the door again on Saturday.
Clark expected team leader Phil Parent to be among the frontrunners in the race on Saturday, but he was coming off an injury and had trouble breathing. The word went out to the rest of the runners on the course and Ton Hanlon and others picked up the pace.
"Everybody kept their eye on the ball," Clark said. "We made some adjustments and these kids listen so well. And then they executed it."
In the end, Parent finished sixth and Hanlon 12th.
"We had that pack mentality all year," Clark said. "Everyone had closing speed, too. Phil probably picked off four guys at the end."
The Astros finished with 97 points and Nashua South had 141. Timberlane of Plaistow was at 143 and Bedford at 157.
Pinkerton has won seven titles and been runnerup 10 times in Clark's 32 years as head coach.
Brassard bounced back from a tough race in the Manchester Invitational to defend his Division II title and post the fastest time of the day.
He finished in 15:51, 14 seconds ahead of Souhegan junior Eli Moskowitz. Brassard won last year's Division II meet in 16:08 and went on to win the Meet of Champions in 15:46.
"Since the Invitational, he's been on fire, the Jeremy of old," said Coe-Brown coach Tim Cox.
"I'm pumped, but I'm more excited that our team is going to the Meet of Champions," Brassard said. "We haven't been there as a team since my freshman year. That's very special."
Coe-Brown finished third with 109 points, behind Oyster River with 74 and Souhegan with 89.
The top six teams in Division II, top eight in Division I and top five in Division III qualify for the Meet of Champions.
Freshman Patrick O'Brien, senior Neal Mistretta and junior Cameron Barth finished in a three-man pack from 10th to 12th to lead Oyster River.
The Bobcats won titles in 2010 and 2011 and Souhegan was first last year.
Seniors Drew Tuttle and Mike Fife came in fifth and seventh respectively to lead Prospect Mountain to its title.
"They've been strong all season," said Hopkinton coach Rob Nadeau. "They've got some good runners at the top and fill in well behind them."
Prospect Mountain had 110 points to edge Bow with 120. Monadnock Regional of Swanzey was third at 126 and Mascenic Regional of New Ipswich was at 162 and Hopkinton at 172.
Mascenic Regional junior Tim Fafard won the race in 16:04 and Cameron Daly of Inter-Lakes was the runnerup. Hopkinton's Dom Reppucci finished third.
.? Complete results - Page C10