10/13/18 – Deerfield Cross Country hosts Loomis Chaffee and Choate Rosemary Hall
After a rainy morning, sunshine broke through just in time for the Deerfield Cross Country team to take to the course on Saturday for a spirited tri-meet with Loomis Chaffee and Choate. Parents, grandparents, siblings, and dozens of furry four-legged companions lined the fields to support their harriers, and though the course was soggy after more rain earlier in the week, times were still relatively quick and the races were competitive. On the varsity side, Loomis Chaffee emerged victorious by the score of 19-36, but Deerfield defeated its archrival from Wallingford, besting Choate 26-32. The JV race was all Deerfield once again: the Big Green beat both Loomis and Choate, scoring 23 to Loomis’ 32 and 22 to Choate’s 33.
The varsity race started conservatively, at least compared to last week. Three runners—the number one runner from each team—quickly separated from the group but came through the first mile at a pedestrian pace. Just behind that trio came a gaggle of Loomis athletes, followed by a pack of Deerfield runners. Though the conditions were beautiful for running, the spongy turf made it difficult to make definitive moves through the woodsy sections of Deerfield’s course, so the arrangement of runners at the mile mark was mostly how the race concluded, despite some hard, gritty racing from the Big Green pack. The lead three runners, including Deerfield’s Ricardo Gonzalez, stayed together until the two-mile mark, when they began to string out, with Loomis’ talented top runner taking the lead. Ricardo did well to stay close to those two competitors, and he ultimately finished 3rd overall. Loomis’ strong pack held off Deerfield’s, to cruise in for a convincing win, but Deerfield’s numbers two through seven kicked hard over the final half mile to pass a number of Choate runners and secure the team win. Tom Dillon sprinted over the final two hundred meters to break up a couple of Choate runners and earn the 2nd spot for Deerfield, the fourth different athlete to be Deerfield’s #2 varsity runner this season. Then came a swath of Big Green runners, led by Thomas Lyons. Charlie Lewis, JJ Siritantikorn, and Trey Souder were mere seconds behind Lyons, and William Grosse finished out the varsity seven by running a lifetime best time thanks to a savvy strategic race.
More than 60 runners toed the line for the JV race, and Deerfield’s talented sophomore Mat Panikar took the lead early on, never to relinquish it. Mat ran a smooth, smart race to break the tape and secure a season-best time in the process. Jake Meier and Quinn Hampson worked well together throughout the race and turned on the afterburners in the final half mile to finish 3rd and 4th, making it almost impossible for either rival team to outscore the Big Green. Two ninth graders followed close behind with terrific races: Gabe Zaccheo finished 10th and Chase Cherewatti closed magnificently over the final mile to take 12th. Giles Gordon, Nick Fluty, and Jack de Bruyn Kops all turned in season-best times later in the race, continuing their development and deepening the strength of Deerfield’s JV squad.
Deerfield XC hits the road next Saturday to travel to Exeter for a dual meet with the Big Red. Exeter’s woodsy, speedy course will be a welcome change after two weeks of racing at home, the long bus trip notwithstanding.