Barely a year after Hurricane Irene washed their course down the Deerfield River, the Deerfield boy’s cross country team kicked off the 2012 season by hosting the Peter Brush Invitational on a sparkling Saturday afternoon. Six schools arrived on the verdant Lower Level to begin their seasons in a casual, friendly atmosphere. With no team scoring, the focus of the Brush Invitational is to encourage full participation and provide an opportunity for veteran runners to get an early-season benchmark and for newcomers to get a taste of competitive cross country.
No Varsity or Junior Varsity distinctions are made at the Brush Invitational; rather, races are run by age group. In the underclass boys’ race, a talented sophomore from Suffield Academy ran away with the race, leading from tape to tape. Deerfield fielded a handful of talented underclassmen, led by newcomer Gene Thagard ’15 in 7th place overall. Two more new students followed: Henry Sanford ’15 finished 25th and Charlie Brahaney ’15 came across in 30th place.
In the upperclass race, Robert Beit ’13 ran an aggressive race to finish 2nd overall behind a talented post-graduate from Cushing Academy. Classmates and co-captains George Reich and Ben Wood came in soon after, taking 6th and 10th places, respectively. Deerfield’s next pack of runners came through just under 20 minutes, taking four of the eight places from 24nd – 31st.
Special congratulations are in order for all those runners who completed their first high school race today. It was a beautiful, fun day for the runners, coaches, and spectators alike, capped off with the traditional feast of Mr. Brush’s fresh apples. Next weekend, Deerfield’s harriers will trim the squad to enter the competitive Canterbury Invitational. Last year, Deerfield finished a close second to Loomis Chaffee.