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Benson tops field in second NH Series race

AUSTIN BERNIER pushes through the course at White Mountains Regional High School during Saturday’s New Hampshire Series race. Jonathan Benton - Coos County Democrat. (click for larger version)
January 24, 2011
NORTH CONWAY — The Kennett cross-country ski team walked the tight rope amidst all of last week's weather woes and managed to squeeze in a pair of races.

The Eagles joined the rest of the New Hampshire high school teams in Whitefield on Saturday, Jan. 22, for the second New Hampshire Coaches Series race, a classical 5K.

The story of the day for the Eagles was certainly Hannah Benson. The Kennett sophomore rocketed to the top of the scoring sheets with a time of 17:28, which was more than 20 seconds ahead of her closest competitor, Hanover's Emily Nice. Nice had barely edged out Benson for second place in the first New Hampshire Series race at Gunstock in early January.

On the boys' side, the Eagles raced their way to seventh place, even without top gun Sean Doherty.

Henney Sullivan led the way, clocking in with a time of 17:55 to place 23rd overall. He was just one second ahead of teammate Torin LaLiberte, who finished 24th in 17:56.

Austin Bernier was next for Kennett, as he placed 36th overall in a time of 18:42. Drew Bormann was the fourth Eagle scorer, finishing 52nd in a time of 19:35.

Duncan Cromwell placed 71st in a time of 20:25, while Robert Schrader skied to 88th place in 20:49 and Pete Grzesik was 113th in a time of 22:46 to round out the Kennett field.

In the junior high race, Bartlett's PJ Benson was second for the boys in 19:38, with teammate Donovan Spaulding finishing fourth in 20:18 and Malcolm Badger taking fifth in 20:33. Jackson Ross-Parent, also of Bartlett, was 17th in 23:02.

Kyle Alber was the first Kennett middle school racer, finishing 27th in 25:11. Bartlett's Ian Lubkin was 41st in 28:23, with teammate Peter Mayer in 47th in 30:14. Bartlett's Chris Burton was 50th in 31:59 and Kennett's Nathaniel Mathieu placed 51st in 33:33.

For the girls, Bartlett's Elizabeth Duffy was fourth in 23:25 and teammate Eva Bates was 23rd in 28:30.

Kennett's Katie McPherson placed 31st in 30:32, with Bartlett's Ariel Fogden taking 50th in 36:11 and teammate Mae VanRossum finishing 53rd in 40:08.

Though the team's Tuesday meet at Plymouth was cancelled, the Eagles were able to squeeze in a race at Bretton Woods on Wednesday, Jan. 19.

The Kennett boys came away with the top score overall, with LaLiberte leading the way in the 5K classical race with a time of 21:09 to take first place overall.

Sullivan raced to fourth in a time of 22:27, with Bernier just seconds behind, finishing fifth in 22:39.

Bormann was 10th overall in a time of 23:26 to round out Kennett's scoring on the afternoon.

Cromwell finished 11th in 23:27, with Schrader closing out the Eagle skiers in 22nd place in 26:24.

In the girls' race, Benson was the top skier by more than four minutes, finishing in a time of 20:41. Amber McPherson came home 24th overall in 33:33 to finish out the flock of Eagles.

Alber was the lone Eagle junior high skier, finishing eighth in 31:03, while Katie McPherson led the Eagle junior high girls in 14th place in 40:13. Cathy Sandstrom was 16th in 44:30.

Coach Steve Vosburgh's troops return to action on Tuesday, Feb. 1, for a 2 p.m. meet at Gunstock. On Thursday, Feb. 3, the Eagles will host the pre-state meet at Whitaker Woods at 2 p.m.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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