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Mascenic cross-country holds off Conant, sweeps homecoming meet

  • Mascenic’s Landen Vaillancourt and Logan Thibault climb through the fall flowers during Friday’s homecoming meet. Staff photoby Ben Conant

  • The Mascenic cross-country team hosted several schools, including Conant, for homecoming on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic cross-country team hosted several schools, including Conant, for homecoming on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic cross-country team hosted several schools, including Conant, for homecoming on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic cross-country team hosted several schools, including Conant, for homecoming on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic cross-country team hosted several schools, including Conant, for homecoming on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic cross-country team hosted several schools, including Conant, for homecoming on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic cross-country team hosted several schools, including Conant, for homecoming on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Sunday, September 16, 2018 2:49PM

Mascenic’s No. 1 runner Landen Vaillancourt has wondered all season whether he’ll be able to top Campbell’s stud senior Jeffrey Allen when the state meet rolls around. After Friday’s homecoming race, he’s got another runner to worry about – his teammate, Logan Thibault. The pair went 1-2 with both under 17 minutes despite a waterlogged course and Thibault slipping and falling on the first turn. 

“For our two top guys to run sub-17 is a pretty solid race,” said Mascenic head coach Mike Smith. “We learned last year that Landen was the real deal. I think Logan was our third or fourth guy, but you can see he’s had a summer’s worth of training.”

The Mascenic boys are, as usual, one of the top teams in Division III, as the cross-country factory continues to churn out fresh blood and mold team leaders over the course of a year or two. Vaillancourt (16:54) and Thibault (16:56) were followed by Robert McLain (18:15) and Dakota Somero (18:22) as Mascenic took the top four spots before Conant’s Matt Bernier (18:27) came in fifth.

Vaillancourt is leading the pack, but Thibault and McLain, both seniors, are leading the team.

“As seniors, they want to go out, they know they that they can win Division III, so they just want to make sure it happens,” Smith said.

Conant got a second runner, Chris Taylor, in the top ten; Taylor finished seventh in 18:47 for an Oriole team that is looking to be more competitive this season under first-year coach Bill Edson.

“We’re seeing improvement every meet,” Edson said. “It’s not just physical improvement, it’s improvement in their mindset, their racing attitude, and the culture that we are forming. We’re really reinventing who we are as a team so we can be more competitive right through practices and coming into meets so we can be in better shape and we can compete at a higher level … they’re pushing their thresholds and working to get better.”

In the girls’ race, Mascenic sophomore Quinn Aldrich was tasked with chasing Hinsdale’s senior star Margaret St. John. Aldrich, St. John and Conant senior Isabella Mormando started out in a pack. Mormando, still getting up to speed after illness cost her most of her junior year, fell back a bit, but Aldrich kept pace.

“[St. John] was really fast,” Aldrich said.  “I was staying with her the first lap, but in the second lap, she started going faster and I couldn’t keep up with her.” 

St. John finished first in  21:41, with Aldrich on her heels in 21:5. The Viking sophomore has become the de facto No. 1 for Mascenic after three teammates defected to play volleyball this fall, and after the year of training at the high school level, she looked the part of the leader with her homecoming finish.

“I’ve never really placed this high before, it’s pretty exciting,” Aldrich said.

Mormando took third in 23:33, holding off Mascenic’s Sophie Callahan (third, 24:01). Vikings Kylie Bane (6th, 24:53), Maya Callahan (8th, 25:06) and Victoria Smith (9th, 25:10) all found the top ten as Mascenic won the girls’ team race as well.

Conant’s next three were Eva Shirey (12th, 26:54), Bailey Despres (13th, 27:00) and Alleigh Lapinsky (14th, 28:29).

The Orioles host their own homecoming race on Thursday at 4 p.m., while the Vikings are off to the Manchester Invitational Saturday at 10 a.m.