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Running for a chance to advance

Fafard and McGurk finish in top four

Both Mascenic senior Elizabeth McGurk and sophomore Tim Fafard had shown to be among the best runners in their respective fields entering the Division III Meet at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday.

And the first postseason race of 2012 was their chance to prove it.

Fafard, who placed 10th as a freshman last year, finished third overall in 16 minutes and 27 seconds, just 15 seconds behind Fall Mountain senior Levi Frye. McGurk earned fourth in the girls race with a time of 20:20 and was 42 seconds off the winning pace of Laconia senior Sami Hicks.

“Tim was playing with the big boys there. Those are not first timers. Those are guys who have race experience,” said Mascenic coach Mike Smith. “For him to finish in the third position is good for him.”

Fafard held the early lead and looked to be holding a good pace. Just shy of the midway point, he fell behind Frye and Andrew Weckstein of Bow, who finished second, in order to prepare for the last set of hills.

Coming out of the woods, Fafard was right with Weckstein and both were trying to make their move to catch Frye. But in the end, Frye had too big of a lead and Weckstein was able to hold off Fafard’s last effort.

“I waited a little longer than I should have to pick it up to catch them,” said Fafard. “But it’s pretty good knowing that of all the people here, only two beat you.”

In the girls race, McGurk held a spot in the top group heading into the woods and by the time the lead pack came out with less than 1,000 meters to go, the race had all been decided. Hicks had a sizeable lead on Hopkinton sophomore Emily Calder, who finished second, and White Mountains Jaclyn Kleinschrodt. McGurk made a big push to get in front of Kleinschrodt, but finished seven seconds back.

““I’m actually pretty disappointed. It’s probably one of the slowest times I’ve run all season,” said McGurk. “I know I could have run faster.”

McGurk, who placed seventh in 2011, did defeat last year’s champion, Derryfield sophomore Casey Hecox.

“I think when she looks back she’ll realize she wasn’t having an on day,” Smith said. “But for her to move through the pack the way she did is a sign of experience.”

Mascenic freshman Avery Traffie had an impressive showing in his first trip to the divisional meet, placing six spots out of automatically qualifying for Meet of Champions in 29th with a time of 18:02.

As for Conant, the boys placed 21st out with 535 points. Junior Colby Whitcomb led the Orioles by finishing 52nd in 18:59. Whitcomb was the only hold over from last year’s squad that advanced to Meet of Champions. Sophomore Kyle Moreau placed 84th in a time of 19:51 and junior Conner Hahnl was 104th. Junior Derek Williams placed 164th and freshman Aaron Bresnick was 167th.

For the Conant girls, junior Jula Trimble led the way by taking 107th in 27:30. Sophomore Ivy Chalke and senior Lianne Vaillancourt finished 136th and 137th respectively. Rebekah Chaisson was 146th.

The top 23 individuals and five teams advanced from Division III to Meet of Champions. The state race will be held on Saturday at Mines Falls at Nashua South High School. The girls run at 2:30 p.m. followed by the boys at 3:20 p.m.

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