If Londonderry High School was going to remain in the running for the 2015 Mack Plaque title – and break Pinkerton Academy’s 13-year hold on the award – the Lancers’ cross-country teams were going to have to run well in their head-to-head battle with the host Astros in the Mack Plaque meet in Derry Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Pinkerton came into the four-team cross-country meet holding a 4-2 lead in the Mack Plaque games, so the Londonderry guys and girls had to win their races and tie the team tally at 4-4 and force the competition to cheerleading and the state spirit championships later this fall.
However, the academy boy and girl harriers ended any Mack Plaque speculation by winning both their races with the Lancers, Exeter and Bishop Guertin handily to keep the Mack hardware in Derry.
The Pinkerton Lady Astro Trailblazers tallied a team score of 19 to easily defeat the visiting Lady Lancers (score of 42) as well as Exeter (88) and Guertin (101).
Ariel Vaillancourt paced the undefeated Trailblazers’ effort by finishing first in the field with her winning time of 19 minutes and 15 seconds.
Londonderry had its standout Kalin Gregoire finish second (19:23), but the academy side then snagged four consecutive places by taking third through sixth with the work of Taylor Lacey (19:42), Morgan Sansing (19:43), Sara Muller (20:22), and Maison D’Amelio (20:22).
Londonderry’s Madison McKivergan notched seventh place (20:28), but Pinkerton then snared the eighth and ninth places via the efforts of Veronica Sullivan (20:31) and Jordan Vaillancourt (20:31). The Lady Lancers tallied 10th place, thanks to Alex Seeley (20:35).
“Kalin Gregoire had a great race with a good time,” said LHS coach Ed Burgess. Madison Mckivergan had a good race and held on. Alex Seeley had one of her better races of the season, and Courtney Guay and Kaitlyn Marchandt ran fine. Freshman Kaelen Rourke is coming along nicely. PA is just out of our league. They are one of the best teams in New England right now and probably the best in New Hampshire.”
Five runners broke the 16-minute mark on the Pinkerton course in the Mack Plaque race. But the bad news from the Londonderry standpoint was that four of those harriers were Astros.
The academy guys finished with a team score of 20 to easily defeat Londonderry (41) as well as Bishop Guertin (89) and Exeter (108).
Astro veteran Nico Sevilla paced the talented running crowd by finishing first overall in 15:26.
“Only Chris Pietrocarlo with a 15:24 in 2009 and Londonderry’s Joe Letourneau with a 15:21 in 1996 have run faster,” said PA veteran coach Mike Clark.
Londonderry’s Cam Dickson placed second with a 15:35, which is eighth on the all-time list of male runners on the PA course.
Astro Noah Davis (15:44), Tom Hanlon (15:53), and Calvin Graves (15:58) got the third through fifth spots, and taking the sixth spot was Londonderry’s Jared Kane in 16:04.
The next three places were won by the Astros’ other top-seven-level harriers, with Pat Bastek finishing seventh in 16:14, Sam Lanternier taking eighth place in 16:18, and Jon L’Abbe nabbing ninth with a 16:20.
Rounding out the top 10 was Londonderry’s Josh Wasserman with his time of 16:21.
“Obviously we would have liked to give them a better race, but we still had a lot of good things,” said LHS coach Matt Smith. “Cam Dickson continued his outstanding season by breaking 16:00 once again. Jared Kane and Josh Wasserman both ran very well, as did a number of others. Overall it was another solid step toward being ready for the Division I meet at the end of the month.”