October 7th – Deerfield XC vs. St. Paul’s School @ St. Paul’s
After a long but beautiful drive through the autumn-hued trees of New Hampshire, the Deerfield boys cross country team arrived in Concord for their first dual meet of the season against St. Paul’s School. This was the first head-to-head matchup between these two teams in many years, and the home team played excellent hosts on a warm, overcast day. The St. Paul’s course features many terrain changes and a series of entertaining woods loops, and it was in excellent shape for a fair, challenging competition. After all the scores had been tallied, Deerfield’s varsity seven earned a convincing win, scoring 22 points to St. Paul’s 36, while the junior varsity’s 38 points were second to St. Paul’s 25.
The day’s racing began with the JV race, and Deerfield’s harriers took the first mile out aggressively. At the one mile mark, three Big Green runners led the way by a few seconds. Nearly two miles of trail running followed, and the hometown St. Paul’s runners attacked on those well-worn paths to break up Deerfield’s pack. Ultimately, no St. Paul’s athlete could challenge Deerfield’s top JV finisher, ninth grader Mat Panikar. After Panikar crossed the line to win the race, Ian Gordon ’19 was the next Deerfield finisher in 3rd place overall, followed by Teddy McCarthy ’20 in 7th after a solid pack of St. Paul’s runners. Deerfield had a pack of its own, capturing 10th through 12th place thanks to the efforts of Christian Ransom ’19, Vanja Obradovic ’18, and Jimmy Patton ’20. Nick Fluty ’20 wasn’t far behind, finishing 14th in one of the better races of his career. Other Deerfield JV finishers included Charles Shearon ’18 (19th place) and Seth Thayumanavan ’20 (20th).
Whether because of the long bus ride, the morning slate of SAT testing, or the late (5:00 p.m.) start, the varsity race unfolded as a tactical affair. No one athlete wanted to lead the first mile, which led to a pedestrian mile split and a huge pack of runners clumped together as everyone began to loop around the sylvan section of the course. Once the real racing started, a group of five runners separated themselves quickly and dueled back and forth throughout the winding trails. The definitive move came with about three-quarters of a mile to go, when Deerfield’s Will McNamara ’18 surged ahead and never relented. McNamara’s kick, and the effort required to match it, almost drained enough from St. Paul’s number one runner for Ricardo Gonzalez ’19 to catch him, but the gap was too much and Gonzalez came across in 3rd. One more red-clad runner crossed the line before the Deerfield pack appeared to seal the day’s result: Marco Marsans ’18, Declan Cullinane ’21, Charlie Lewis ’21, and Jake Meier ’20 all ran terrific tactical races to ensure Deerfield’s win, capturing 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th places, respectively. Thomas Lyons ’21 completed Deerfield’s varsity seven for the day, finishing 15th overall in a season’s best time, and Hayden McGuinness ’20 ran a strong race on the rebound from a minor injury to take 18th place.
Deerfield will take the cross country show on the road again next weekend, when we travel to Loomis Chaffee school in Connecticut to face the hometown Pelicans and Choate Rosemary Hall. Go Big Green!