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ConVal girls qualify for state meet

ConVal cross-country coach Judy Heddy had a plan for her teams at Saturday’s Division II meet.

And it almost worked out perfectly.

Heddy believed the girls team had enough to finish in the top six and advance as a team to Meet of Champions, which they did by placing sixth overall with 195 points at Derryfield Park in Manchester, and she wanted the boys to move into the top 15.

The boys finished just shy of that goal, placing 16th as a group and a mere 22 points away from making good on Heddy’s plan. But the ConVal coach could not have been happier with the way things played out for her team, especially after a few years of rebuilding. A year ago, the girls were 19th as a team and had just two runners finish in the top 100. The boys were 20th and had just one in the first 100.

“I think it went well,” said Heddy. “I’m pleased. Its been a good season.”

The girls were 42 points ahead of St. Thomas for the final team spot from Division II, advancing for the first time to the state meet as a team since 2009.

“The girls ran right where I thought they could,” said Heddy. “Going into it we wanted to finish top six and we achieved it.”

The addition of juniors Sydney Michalak and Rowan Wilson really helped round out the girls team. Michalak made the switch from soccer and Wilson moved into the school district from Maine. On Saturday, Wilson led ConVal by finishing 14th overall in 20 minutes and 13 seconds. She was able to break away from Michalak in the final 100 yards to take the top spot for the Cougars and Michalak was 16th in 20:19.

“It was a great finish and at the time I didn’t know who would come out on top,” Heddy said.

Junior Courtney Fisher was 35th in 21:20 and senior Ryleigh Lorimer, also new to the program, was 64th with a time of 22:23. Junior Shannon Glidden was two spots and three seconds behind Lorimer to round out ConVal’s scoring.

In eight regular season meets, sophomores Andrew Hunt and Joseph Bernstein each led ConVal four times. And it was Hunt who came out on top Saturday, finishing in 52nd overall in 18:11. Last year, Hunt was 161st in 21:57 and sixth overall for ConVal. Bernstein, who led the team at the D-II meet in 2011, was 70th on Saturday in 18:44.

“(Andrew) has been driven this year and his running has come a long way,” said Heddy. “I felt he was going to have a good day.”

Sophomore Clay Lyons took 85th with a time of 19:10 and junior Eli Machen gave the Cougars four runners in the top 100 with his 98th place finish. Junior Jesse Edwards was the last ConVal runner to place, doing so in 122nd.

“I think they actually all had good races,” said Heddy. “We just don’t have the depth, but we have all those boys coming back and they’ve taken a huge step.”

The top six teams and 25 individual runners from D-II qualify for Saturday’s Meet of Champions.

This Saturday, the girls will run at Mines Falls on the campus of Nashua South at 2:30 p.m.

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