10/20/18 – Deerfield Cross Country versus Phillips Exeter
After a long, beautiful drive through the leaf-lined byways of northern New England, the Big Green cross country team arrived in Exeter, New Hampshire, on Saturday for a dual meet with the boys from Phillips Exeter. A very strong Exeter team, combined with the long drive and a tough week of training, proved to be too much for the Deerfield boys to overcome. Exeter ran away with the meet, winning both varsity and junior varsity races with excellent team performances.
The first mile of Exeter’s course is mostly flat, winding through woods along a wide dirt path, and the Big Red runners took the race out quickly. Deerfield’s stalwart lead runner, Ricardo Gonzalez, ran bravely at the front, the lone white uniform amid a cluster of red. As the leaders emerged from that first loop—at roughly the halfway point of the race—Gonzalez battled with Exeter’s #3 runner; the host team’s top two had already gapped the field. A string of Exeter runners followed, broken up here and there by Deerfield’s remaining varsity runners. From the start, two Deerfield ninth-graders, Trey Souder and William Grosse, ran aggressively to do their best to disrupt Exeter’s pack, with their more senior teammates, Thomas Lyons and Charlie Lewis, running a bit more conservatively with their eyes on the wooded middle section of the Exeter course.
It was in those woods where the race was decided, as Exeter’s pack surged past Deerfield’s tiring runners to seal the victory. Gonzalez found the energy reserves necessary to distance himself from the opponent who dogged his heels at the halfway mark, earning a respectable 3rd place finish, but after him the red wave was strong and deep. Characteristically strong over the final mile, Thomas Lyons was the next Deerfield runner to emerge from the woods, and he put together a sustained surge over the final half-mile, an interminable loop around several soccer fields and an observatory, to pass a number of Exeter runners and finish 12th overall. Behind Lyons came those two brave ninth-graders: Souder finished 15th and Grosse 17th. Charlie Lewis and Tom Dillon crossed the finish line just behind, with JJ Siritantikorn wrapping up the varsity seven for the day in 23rd.
As usual, Mat Panikar led the way for Deerfield’s JV, taking 10th overall in that race with a strong time considering the relatively slow course. Jake Meier was right on his heels, followed by Quinn Hampson and Chris Thagard—the only Big Green harrier to run his season’s best time on the day! A string of ninth-graders followed that pack, led by Chase Cherewatti; Gabe Zaccheo and Giles Gordon weren’t far behind, and the experience for those boys of running on the Exeter course for the first time will come in handy when we next travel east to face the Big Red again.
Another challenging dual meet lies ahead for the Big Green: on Sunday, they will travel to Andover for a showdown with Phillips Academy on their fast, fun course.