10/28/18 – Deerfield Cross Country vs. Phillips Academy
On Saturday, the Deerfield boys’ cross country team traveled to Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., for their annual dual meet with the Big Blue. Andover’s course is a favorite among runners all around New England; it features two loops around the Academy’s Great Lawn and an enjoyable traverse of the winding trails of their bird sanctuary. Though the day dawned raw and gray, times were still faster than last week’s race at Exeter, thanks to the firm footing on Andover’s trails. This week’s racing featured two races, splitting the varsity and junior varsity teams. Andover emerged victorious in both, though Deerfield enjoyed a positive return to more aggressive, competitive racing.
The varsity race started fast: the first eighth of a mile covers the length of the Great Lawn, climbing a deceptively challenging, long hill along the way. All fourteen harriers floored it at the start of the race, and as they left the Great Lawn and headed toward the woods, Andover’s top runner and his Deerfield counterpart, Ricardo Gonzalez, had barely separated themselves from the galloping herd. After circling the Chapel, both teams entered the Bird Sanctuary, with a slight gap separating the top two runners from a jumbled chase pack of white and blue jerseys. Gonzalez and Andover’s number one runner quickly distanced themselves from the pack, cruising shoulder to shoulder for the next two miles. The pack racing unfolded more definitively: at one of the first upslopes, Andover’s pack made a move that only tri-captain Tom Dillon matched. Dillon remained surrounded by Big Blue harriers for the remainder of the race, while his Big Green teammates worked courageously to close the gap through the meandering trails and rolling hills. When the first athletes turned the corner around the Chapel and reentered the Great Lawn, Gonzalez and Andover’s lead runner remained shoulder to shoulder. Trading the lead a few times over the final quarter mile, Gonzalez faded by a few strides over the last turn to finish a strong second, running a season’s best time along the way. Next came a string of Andover runners, sealing the team win for the Big Blue, though Dillon and tenth-grader Charlie Lewis managed to break them up, earning 7th and 8th place, respectively. Roughly one hundred meters back came Deerfield’s pack, thundering across the line together: Trey Souder ’22 (10th), Thomas Lyons ’21 (11th), Mat Panikar ’21 (12th), and William Grosse ’22 (13th) rounded out the varsity seven.
The JV race started aggressively, too, with Deerfield’s 11th grade strongman Jake Meier leading the way as the race left the Great Lawn. Quinn Hampson ’22 was close on his heels, with Meier’s classmate, Chris Thagard, in hot pursuit. Meier traded the lead with two evenly matched Andover runners throughout the challenging 5K course, and ultimately returned to the Great Lawn in third place overall. Marshalling his strength for a final surge, Meier gradually built speed and turnover in the final quarter mile to pass one competitor, finishing 2nd overall. Hampson wasn’t far behind, turning in an excellent race to earn 4th place, followed immediately by Thagard in 5th. Three promising ninth graders were next to finish for the Big Green: Chase Cherewatti (9th), Gabe Zaccheo (10th), and Giles Gordon (16th) all ran terrific races, pointing toward a great finish to the season for the next generation of Deerfield harriers. One of the more exciting finishes of the day came just after Gordon’s finish, when Nick Fluty ’20 put together a massive kick to charge past several Andover athletes, finishing with a wild sprint to the finish line where he barely missed passing one more competitor.
With one more dual meet left on the schedule—a home meet next Saturday against NMH—Deerfield’s XC team has its eyes set on “finishing up strong” as it marches towards the New England Championships at Avon Old Farms. Saturday’s race against NMH will be the final home meet for Deerfield’s senior tri-captains: Tom Dillon, Ricardo Gonzalez, and JJ Siritantikorn. Come out to support these four-year contributors and their teammates!