When he scans his roster for the upcoming 2014 Division cross-country campaign, veteran Londonderry High coach Matt Smith sees a number of highly-valuable veterans and a crew of talented newcomers who will look up to those battled-tested vets for leadership and perhaps advice.
Smith’s 2013 Lancer crew claimed a fifth- place finish against a tough field of teams at the Division I cross-country championships in Manchester’s Derryfield Park last autumn. A number of key harriers graduated from that LHS group – which also snared 11th place at the New Hampshire Meet of Champions a week after the divisional event – this past spring, but key members who return include senior Nick Leach, junior Jared Kane, and sophomore Chris Zaino.
Other varsity returnees who will be looked on to step up this fall are juniors Bailey Hamilton, Cam Dickson, Noah Schrank, and Josh Wasserman, and sophomore Jack Stuart.
Joining that bunch are promising newcomers Declan Hotter (a sophomore), Nathan Seeley, Jeff Cieslikowski, and Tyler Seeley (all freshmen).
“We are a young and inexperienced team,” said Smith. “There are a couple of guys who need to step to the forefront and lead by example for us to be successful. Our young guys have had a great summer, and that work ethic needs to continue. All of that said, there is still a lot of talent in this group, and we expect to compete for a top-three finish at the Division 1 meet and qualify for New Englands.”
When he looks at the rest of Division I, the Londonderry coach lists the defending champions from Pinkerton Academy, the Timberlane Regional High Owls from Plaistow, and the Alvirne High Broncos of Hudson as upper-echelon opponents.