Monadnock region has produced a number of high level runners

I got an email the other day about the recent accomplishments of Job Christiansen.

The former Mascenic running star finished 35th at the NCAA Division III Cross-Country Championships to earn All-America honors. And the accomplishment got me thinking.

Since I began my tenure at the Ledger-Transcript, I have seen a large number of high-level runners grace the rosters of local cross-country teams. So I took some time to check up on the best and brightest to dominate the sports pages over the years and what I found was that many are still doing the same thing in various parts of the country.

My first year covering sports in the region may have been the best year for cross-country that this area has ever seen. In 2006, ConVal won both the Class I and Meet of Champions titles, while the Mascenic boys and girls swept Class M-S. The Cougars would go on to repeat their feat in 2007, while the Mascenic boys won the last of its three straight class championships.

Leading ConVal in those back to back New Hampshire state titles was Alex McGrath. As a senior in 2007, McGrath won Class I and Meet of Champions and now as a redshirt senior at Division I William & Mary, McGrath is the Colonial Athletic Association champion after setting a new course record for his first collegiate title. He earned All-Southeast region honors for the second year as well.

Headlining the Mascenic boys three-peat were John Little and Jake and Job Christiansen. Little went on to run at the University of Vermont, a Division I program, while Jake and Job chose Division III Calvin College. Little was the second Mascenic runner in two years to choose UVM, joining Samantha Leach.

The Christiansen’s younger sister, Jacy, who won two Class M-S individual titles, decided to attend Division I Liberty University in Virginia and as a sophomore this year placed eighth in the Big South Conference Championships.

Ethan McBrien, who was a big part of both the ConVal state championship teams and also finished third overall in Class I as a senior in 2008, is now a senior at the University of Vermont and recently led his team with an eighth place finish at the America East Championships and was 66th overall in the NCAA Division I Northeast Regional.

Dylan Fisher, who placed one spot ahead of McBrien in the Class I race as seniors, just completed his final cross-country season at D-I Fairfield University with a personal best run at the Northeast Regional.

ConVal graduate Emma Bolduc, a sophomore at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, helped her team win the ECAC title and with her 24th place finish earned All-East honors, as she consistently finished in the top four on her team.

Bolduc’s former teammate, Christina Shonbeck is now a junior running for The Citadel, a Division I military college.

And while there have been a number of Division I runners to come out of the area, there have also been some to run at the lower college levels. Ethan Ley, a former Conant runner, is a junior at D-III Beloit College in Wisconsin and 2012 graduate Adam Medeiros just completed his first season at Hood College, a D-III school in Maryland. Former Mascenic runner Tim Pipp also had quite a career at Keene State.

It is quite impressive to see that many athletes from one sport go on to compete at the college level, and the trend should continue. Mascenic senior Elizabeth McGurk will likely be running somewhere next fall and sophomore Tim Fafard definitely has the talent to make the transition.

And lets just hope this tradition lasts for years to come.

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