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Cross-country: ConVal girls finish second, move on to MOCs

  • The ConVal girls cross-country team finished runner-up in the Division II Championships on Saturday at Derryfield Park in Manchester, qualifying for Meet of Champions as a team. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The ConVal girls cross-country team finished runner-up in the Division II Championships on Saturday at Derryfield Park in Manchester, qualifying for Meet of Champions as a team. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The ConVal girls cross-country team finished runner-up in the Division II Championships on Saturday at Derryfield Park in Manchester, qualifying for Meet of Champions as a team. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The ConVal girls cross-country team finished runner-up in the Division II Championships on Saturday at Derryfield Park in Manchester, qualifying for Meet of Champions as a team. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • ConVal’s Marina McMahon emerges from a pack of runners. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

  • The ConVal girls cross-country team finished runner-up in the Division II Championships on Saturday at Derryfield Park in Manchester, qualifying for Meet of Champions as a team. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The ConVal girls cross-country team finished runner-up in the Division II Championships on Saturday at Derryfield Park in Manchester, qualifying for Meet of Champions as a team. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The ConVal girls cross-country team finished runner-up in the Division II Championships on Saturday at Derryfield Park in Manchester, qualifying for Meet of Champions as a team. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • ConVal’s Schuyler Michalak keeps pace with Coe-Brown’s Ella Malone in the DII divisional championship race. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

  • The ConVal girls cross-country team finished runner-up in the Division II Championships on Saturday at Derryfield Park in Manchester, qualifying for Meet of Champions as a team. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The ConVal girls cross-country team finished runner-up in the Division II Championships on Saturday at Derryfield Park in Manchester, qualifying for Meet of Champions as a team. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The ConVal girls cross-country team finished runner-up in the Division II Championships on Saturday at Derryfield Park in Manchester, qualifying for Meet of Champions as a team. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The ConVal boys cross-country team advanced to Meet of Champions after finishing fifth in the Division II Championships at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • ConVal’s Harrison Kim gains on Sanborn’s Owen Stocker. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

  • The ConVal boys cross-country team advanced to Meet of Champions after finishing fifth in the Division II Championships at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The ConVal boys cross-country team advanced to Meet of Champions after finishing fifth in the Division II Championships at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The ConVal boys cross-country team advanced to Meet of Champions after finishing fifth in the Division II Championships at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The ConVal boys cross-country team advanced to Meet of Champions after finishing fifth in the Division II Championships at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The ConVal boys cross-country team advanced to Meet of Champions after finishing fifth in the Division II Championships at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The ConVal boys cross-country team advanced to Meet of Champions after finishing fifth in the Division II Championships at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, October 29, 2018 2:12PM

ConVal cross-country coach Lance Flamino knew his girls’ team was among the top four teams in Division II. He just wasn't sure how it would all shake out once the Cougars took to the course at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday for the state divisional races.

Coe-Brown has been dominant all year, but ConVal was right there with the likes of Souhegan and Oyster River, jockeying for that runner-up spot and maybe, just maybe, challenging Coe-Brown for the title.

In the end, though, Coe-Brown proved to be too much for the Division II field, but ConVal did what it set out to do heading into the wet and cold race day, putting enough separation between themselves and Souhegan and Oyster River to take runner-up in Division II. The Cougars finished with 84 points, 22 off the winning pace of Coe-Brown, and 16 ahead of Souhegan for second. ConVal qualified for Meet of Champions Saturday at Mines Falls in Nashua with its second place finish, while the boys squad did the same by taking fifth overall.

“We knew Coe-Brown would be really tough to beat in a championship race,” Flamino said. “So to get that runner-up spot, we’re really happy with that.”

After finishing fourth in D-II last year, this was another big step in the right direction for a girls program that has been getting better and better over the last few years. And once again ConVal was led by its group of talented seniors.

Clare Veverka topped the depth chart for the Cougars for the fourth straight year, improving two spots ahead of her 2017 finish, by placing fifth in 19:20. She was only three second behind Coe-Brown’s top finisher, sophomore Addison Cox, for fourth. All season long, Veverka and fellow senior Rachel Hurley have been pushing each other. And the close racing continued on Saturday, as Hurley was just one spot and 3.5 second behind her teammate to give ConVal two top 10 finishers.

“Division II girls is a very competitive, so top 10 finishes is great for them,” Flamino said. “They’ve been pushing each other in workouts and training runs all year and its been mutually beneficial for both of them.”

Schuyler Michalak was 11th overall in 20:04.2, a 17 spot improvement from last year and just one spot ahead of Coe-Brown’s third finisher. So through the top 12, ConVal actually had a slight edge in the race for the Division II title.

Senior Sarah Newell claimed the 24th position with a time of 21:09.3, just one spot behind Coe-Brown’s Miranda Compton, which kept ConVal in line for the title with one remaining scoring spot for each team.

ConVal’s fifth runner, senior Molly Janoch, took home 51st overall in 22:18.4, while Coe-Brown got a top 30 finish from Tessa Millette to secure the title.

“I was hoping for that win, but I’m really happy with how the team performed and how hard we worked,” Hurley said.

Sophomore Reagan Riffle and junior Marina McMahon finished 55th and 56th respectively to complete the team effort. While it wasn’t quite enough to win a divisional title, the Cougars are more than pleased with its third straight trip to Meet of Champions as a team. And this Saturday, they will try to improve upon their eighth place finish a year ago.

For the boys, it had been a decade since they qualified for Meet of Champions as a team when the program took second overall. It had been so long that the last time ConVal advanced to the state race as a team, Division II was known as Class I. So Saturday’s performance is a pretty big deal and came with some nerve wracking moments.

“The big goal the whole season was qualify as a team,” Flamino said. “We knew we had a shot at a top five or six spot if we had a good day.”

It wasn’t until the school's name was called during post race ceremonies that members of the team knew they had accomplished their biggest goal of the season. It was clear it meant a lot to the seven runners to have another day to race with each other.

For much of the race, junior Harrison Kim was pacing the ConVal team. He had a decent lead over senior teammate Evan Coyne coming out of the woods, but Coyne slowly started to gain.

It wasn’t until the last the last turn that Coyne thought he had a chance to catch and pass Kim. And so he did. Coyne finished 14th overall in a time of 17:32.3, which was just two spots and less than a second ahead of Kim (16th, 17:33.1).

“When I came around that tree at the end he was right in front of me,” Coyne said.

The duo would have qualified for Meet of Champions regardless of the team finish, since the top 25 individuals move on, but it’s much nicer knowing the rest of the team will be there too.

“Going into it, we knew we could do well,” Kim said. “The conditions made it difficult, but you just have to try and be mentally strong and remember everyone is running in the same conditions.”

Sophomore August Kotula was 40th in 18:26.4, followed by fellow second-year runner Danny Veverka in 42nd with a time of 18:27.5. Senior Max Boisvert gave ConVal the distinction of all five of its scoring runners in the top 50 in 19:00.1. Haven Deschenes (19:07.4) and Tyler Beard (19:17.3) were 56th and 62nd.

“The team was really confident and it showed today,” Coyne said.

Now it’s on to Meet of Champions for both squads.

“I’m so excited to see what we can do at Meet of Champions,” said Clare Veverka​​​​​​.