November 4th – Deerfield vs. NMH, St. Paul’s, Eaglebrook, and Bement @ NMH
After last weekend’s deluge rendered Deerfield’s playing fields a spongy quagmire, Northfield Mount Hermon stepped up to host this year’s cross-valley showdown between the Big Green and the Hoggers. St. Paul’s School joined the fray for the first time this year, as did runners from Bement and Eaglebrook in the JV race. Northfield’s course, in addition to draining well, is a beautiful but challenging circuit through their hilly trails, always a great test for teams a week before Championship Saturday. NMH triumphed in the varsity race, beating Deerfield in a close race 26-31, but Deerfield raced very well and earned a strong win against St. Paul’s, 20 – 41. Deerfield’s JV squad continued its terrific season, beating both NMH (21-38) and St. Paul’s (25-30).
The day’s racing began with the junior varsity race, and Deerfield’s own Mat Panikar took the race out at a torrid pace over the first half mile or so of rolling trail wending through Northfield’s hay field. While a talented young runner from Eaglebrook proved too tough for all the high school harriers to win in dominating fashion, Panikar held on to take 2nd overall. He had to fend off a late charge from his teammate and fellow 9th grader Thomas Lyons, who dipped under 19 minutes for the third time this season. Hayden McGuinness was next for Deerfield, finishing 6th, followed by his classmate Chris Thagard, who is rounding back into shape just in time for New Englands. The upperclassmen parade came next, with Donnie Sparks, Ian Gordon, and Neil Nie rounding out the JV top seven on this day. The JV finishes the regular season with a 4-3 record and a strong win at the Westminster Invitational.
In the varsity race, Deerfield’s top three runners set out to chase Northfield’s strong one-two punch up front. The first half-mile was a tightly-bunched affair, and the real racing began in NMH’s labyrinthine trails. When the runners emerged from the woods, Northfield’s two leaders were shoulder-to-shoulder out front, with DA’s Ricardo Gonzalez chasing not far behind. That would be the finishing order at the front, but the chase pack was a cluster of blue, green, and red athletes all vying for position in the final quarter mile. Coming down from the hay field hills, a duo of NMH runners held position over Deerfield’s co-captains, Marco Marsans and Will McNamara. Marsans dug deep and unleashed a furious sprint over the final straightaway to capture 4th overall, while McNamara gave it all he had to hold on to 8th. Then the green wave rolled in: JJ Siritantikorn, Tom Dillon, Jake Meier, and Declan Cullinane swept 10th through 13th places, followed closely by Charlie Lewis in 15th overall. When the dust had settled and the times were recorded, Gonzalez’s, Marsans’, and McNamara’s times were the three fastest all-time by Deerfield athletes on the NMH course.
With the dual meet season behind them, the Deerfield boys’ XC team looks ahead to next Saturday’s NEPSTA Division I Championship meet. Dual meets this year were close each week and the Deerfield pack grew stronger week by week. A big championship meet will be a different setting and the scoring should shake out somewhat differently, but the DA boys are geared up to put in their best race yet in their quest for the podium! Races kick off on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on the campus of Choate Rosemary Hall.