A fine first Finale

Bears, Bobcats compete in first Finale in the Valley

by Joshua Spaulding
Sports Editor - Granite State News, Carroll County Independent, Meredith News, Gilford Steamer, Winnisquam Echo, Plymouth Record-Enterprise and Baysider

Jordan Legacy led the Plymouth girls in the Finale in the Valley on Friday, Sept. 27. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
September 30, 2013
WATERVILLE VALLEY — The Newfound and Plymouth cross country teams were part of history on Friday, as the squads competed in the first Finale in the Valley at Waterville Valley on Friday, Sept. 27.

The race featured all the schools involved in the inaugural year of the Waterville Valley Cross Country League. Plymouth coach Dave Robinson was the driving force behind forming the league and the Bobcats served as the host school for the meet, which took place around the Town Square of Waterville Valley.

"Our kids truly experienced an exhaustive last week," Robinson said, noting his team ran at Coe-Brown on Saturday, Merrimack Valley on Tuesday and then took lead roles in Waterville Valley on Friday. "We could not have been more proud of our student-athletes for the sportsmanship they demonstrated and the willingness to assist their regional competitors and respective coaches."

The Bobcat girls greeted the arriving teams and escorted the teams to the tent area and to other facilities. The Bobcat boys were tasked with following the racers and taking down the course markings and signage as well as the tent at the finish line.

Robinson also praised the work of his parent volunteers, as they coordinated t-shirt sales and other meet management tasks, pointing to Tom and Kelsey Ambrose, Dan Uhlman, Brian Chalmers, Jen Chalmers, the Sanborns and Nelson-Pecks for representing what Plymouth Regional is all about.

Robinson also praised Rene Schwartz, General Manager of the White Mountain Athletic Club.

"His hands-on attention to detail, his concerns for the well-being of everyone, his financial benevolence, was just over the top. "We know (he) is already thinking about how we can give our regional high schools an even better and first-class league meet experience."

Newfound coach Earl Mills came away impressed with the way everything panned out on the day.

"I think it was a tremendous accomplishment for a first-time event," the Bear coach said. "With so many schools and kids, I think it went very well."

Mills went on to praise Dave and Lorraine Robinson for being the driving forces behind the entire event.

"Wow did they do a good job," Mills said.

At the conclusion of the race, Robinson made sure to thank the many people who helped make the meet a success. Steve Olafsen (Inter-Lakes), Kathy Aldridge (Gilford), Andrew Mercer (Laconia), Scott Clark (Sant Bani), Ernie Brake (Kearsarge), Paul and Pam Harvey (Kingswood), Mills and Gail Bliss (Newfound), Bob Lord (Berlin), John Eisner (Moultonborough) and Lorraine Robinson and April Stokes (Plymouth) all served on the steering committee, while Dave Severance (Moultonborough), Gary Arsenault (White Mountains), Rob Hamel (Gorham), Kristen Johnson (Lin-Wood), Bernie and Eileen Livingston (Kennett) and John Tuttle (Prospect) and ADs Pete Cofran (Newfound), Tina Binette (Gorham) and Chuck Lenahan (Plymouth) provided key input and guidance.

Robinson also praised the town of Waterville Valley and their public safety officers for making the day a success. Keith Sutherland dealt with the US Forest Service and the grooming of the course, Littletown Trophies, Running Count Inc. and Palmison's Graphics, in addition to Lynn Sanborn of the PRHS graphics art department all contributed to the awards the teams received.

Robinson also praised Waterville Valley Resort and CEO Chris Sununu and Kelsey Chaon for providing the venue and the amenities. The "voice of NH running," Tom McGrath was also on hand to do the meet announcing.

"We had some of the greatest coaches there as well," Mills said of the successful day. "All there for the pure joy of cross country, so it was fun."

As for the meet, Newfound and Plymouth runners came home with some solid results on what was viewed as a tough course.

On the girls' side of things, the top Bobcat was Jordan Legacy, who finished in 23rd place overall in a time of 25:45.

Sarah Prescott was 28th in 26:16 and Sydney Kahl finished in 32nd place with a time of 26:42 to finish as the second and third scorers for the Bobcats.

Kelsie Lewis was the fourth scorer for Plymouth, placing 37th in 27:18 and Carolyn Ebner was the final scorer, crossing in 27:34 for 39th place.

Sam Wisniewski just missed scoring for the Cats, as she placed 40th in 27:39. Sophie Mae Sanborn was 49th in 29:19 and Annie Schwartz was 56th in 30:25. Sarah Chalmers finished 57th in 30:35 and Anneke Huynen was 63rd in 21:15. Nora Doyle was just behind her in 64th place in 31:16, Sophia Adams was 65th in 31:28 and Emily Miller was 66th in 31:31.

For Newfound, Sami Cote led the charge, as she placed 27th overall in a time of 26:15, with Ashley Nowell placing 50th in a time of 29:21. Karissa Woliver was the final Newfound runner, placing 52nd in 29:35.

On the boys' side, Colin Nelson-Peck led the charge for Plymouth, earning League All-Star status with his top 10 finish in eighth in 18:59.

Andrew Chabot was second among the Bobcats, finishing 23rd in a time of 20:21 and Michael Lambrecht was 36th in 21:05 to finish as the third Bobcat.

Daniel Ambrose was right behind him in 37th place in 21:09 for the fourth scoring spot and Chris Schwartz rounded out the scoring in 43rd place in 21:14.

Tyler Lester was 46th in 21:18, Karnar Ueland was 83rd in 23:05, Greg Waterbury was 86th in 23:10, Bobby Kretz was 102nd in 24:03, Garrison Hiltz was 107th in 24:14, Jot Sandhu was 119th in 24:46, Colton Hyde was 121st in 24:59, Domenic Conzano was 122nd in 25:01, Cam Brotzman was 131st in 25:36, Sam Harrigan was 140th in 26:34, Aidan Nelson-Peck was 149th in 28:04 and Elliot Plaisted was 156th in 31:24.

For Newfound, Parker Bergholm was the top runner, as he placed 26th in 20:38.

Dustin Bucklin was second for the Bears, finishing in 51st in 21:39 and Mack Camara placed 63rd overall in 22:13 to finish as the third Bear.

Cam Colby was the fourth Newfound finisher, crossing in 22:36 for 70th place. Jesse Austin rounded out the scoring for the Bears with an 82nd place finish in 23:04.

Evan Collins was 87th in 23:13, Joe Putnam was 123rd in 25:04 and Nick Crosby was 148th in 28:03.

Robinson was especially impressed with the performance of Conzano, who was thought to be lost for the year with an injury, but returned to run a personal best.

He also praised Aubrey Joslin, who suffered a season-ending injury injury in a race at Laconia but wanted to be part of her team and donned a walking boot and walked through the course.

The Bears will next be in action on Friday, Oct. 4, at 4 p.m. at Belmont, while the Bobcats will be in action today, Oct. 3, at 4 p.m. at the Kennett Invitational in Conway.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or sportsgsn@salmonpress.com.

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