NHIAA Cross Country: Back-to-back for Coe-Brown's Brassard
NASHUA - Defending the Division II state cross country title seemed easy compared to what it took for Coe-Brown of Northwood senior Jeremy Brassard to repeat at the Meet of Champions on Saturday.
Brassard found a final burst of strength to hold off Tim Fafard of Mascenic Regional High School of New Ipswich inside the last 30 meters in a thrilling finish of the boys 5K, winning by four-tenths of a second.
"I just said it can't happen like this," said Brassard, who won his second straight Div. II individual title last week by a margin of 14 seconds.
Brassard led Fafard by about a stride as two entered the final stretch across the football field at Nashua South High School. Fafard pulled even about midway across the field and appeared on the verge of overtaking Brassard as he labored through each step before determination kicked in at the very end of the Mines Falls course.
Brassard won his second straight Div. II title last week by a margin of 14 seconds, posting the fastest time of the day at the NHIAA meet at Derryfield Park. He was the fastest again on Saturday, but only by a fraction.
Brassard dived across the finish line and immediately collapsed, finishing with a time of 15 minutes, 50.0 seconds. Fafard, a junior who won the Div. III title last weekend, was second at 15:50.4.
"I was catching up to him and I was thinking he was done," Fafard said. "I'm pretty happy. If I got second and Jeremy was behind me, I'd wonder what was going on. But Jeremy being one of the best in the state, I'm pretty proud that he's the only one that beat me."
The boys race followed a surprising finish in the girls 5K.
Oyster River of Durham sophomore Maegan Doody won it with a time of 18:12.0, 6.3 seconds better than Div. II champion Emma Newton of Hollis/Brookline. Newton won the state meet last week by 11 seconds, but could not catch Doody as she pulled ahead of the pack with about a mile still to go and managed to hang on until the end.
"I was really worried that whole time but I guess I got lucky with making a move when I did," said Doody, third last week in the Div. II state meet. "It feels really good, especially after my race last week."
Doody said she tried to keep pace with Newton and Coe-Brown sophomore Elisabeth Daniels as the three top finishers in Div. II last week led the entire pack again on Saturday.
"We've been working on being patient," Oyster River coach Fergus Cullen said.
Daniels, whose second place last week helped lead Coe-Brown to the team title, finished third on Saturday with a time of 18:20.3, two seconds behind Newton and 7.7 seconds after Doody.
"It's great to race with them because I can always count on them to take it out nice and fast and pull me to the finish," Daniels said.
Daniels' finish helped Coe-Brown win the team title Saturday. Pinkerton Academy of Derry was second and Bishop Guertin High School of Nashua was third.
Oyster River won the boys team title Saturday, followed by Pinkerton and Coe-Brown.