GNG Girls Show How Teamwork Works in Week 2 Win at Fryeburg

Posted by: SamPfeifle on Sun Sep 15th, 2019 8:32 pm
While Sofie Matson was busy shattering the course record at the Southern Maine Cross-Country Classic this weekend, alongside most of Maine's elite high school runners, a number of Western Maine Conference schools headed west to Fryeburg Academy for a tilt on a very flat, and very fast, course through the school's adjoining clover fields, without even a spin up and down the course's traditional hill. While the winning times might not be eye-popping -- 21:04 for the girls, 17:01 for the boys -- many runners for each of the nine teams put up PRs and the race put the teamwork aspect of cross-country front and center, especially on the girls side, where Gray-New Gloucester took home their first competitive meet win in memory for either of coaches Adam Zukowski and Becky MacDonald (GNG girls won their home meet last year, but they were the only qualifying team that day). In a field with just 34 runners, a few teams were out from the start. [img:3pqwpc85]https://portlandsbestalbums.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/fryeburg-girlsstart-e1568593005976.jpg[/img:3pqwpc85]Traip's Kiara Audette won handily, with no one in the picture for the second half of the race, but with only two other fellow runners, her solo victory was somewhat hollow. [img:3pqwpc85]https://portlandsbestalbums.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/fryburg-girls-winner-e1568593027356.jpg[/img:3pqwpc85]However, second place finisher Blythe Thompson had a team of 10 others behind her, and while she looked to have second well in hand with a quarter mile to go, she ended up having to put in every effort to hold off the home team's Merys Carty in a sprint to the finish that saw her just edge ahead. Fryeburg also took a fourth, when Juliana Stanton came in seven seconds later. However, any cross-country coach will tell you that pack time is everything, and it was Gray-New Gloucester who clustered together best on the day, with freshman Leah Cote and junior Abby Dulac working together to take fifth and sixth, and Madison Garcia and Brooke Martin (sister to recently graduated John Martin, a 1000-point scorer in basketball for the Patriots) pushing each other to eighth and ninth, just ahead of Waynflete's Ellie Simmons and Maddie Landry. [img:3pqwpc85]https://portlandsbestalbums.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/fryburg-gng-pack-e1568593055685.jpg[/img:3pqwpc85]That left the team standings as:Fryeburg - 5GNG - 24Waynflete - 26But Ruby Pfeifle (your humble scribe's daughter, it's true) took 13th, scoring 11 points (runners whose teams don't qualify five runners don't score points), to put GNG at 35, while Waynflete's Julia Werner took 15th (12 points), putting Waynflete at 38. Meanwhile, Fryeburg took 16, 17, and 19, to finish third at 57.Truly, pack time was the difference:GNG - 1:49Waynflete - 2:39Fryeburg - 11:40We saw the same dynamic play out on the boys side. This time, with a much larger field (85 finishers) that ran fairly deep, with 21 runners breaking 20:00. [url=http://www.mbr.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=98&t=80959&p=600314#p600314:3pqwpc85]Dan Dors Invitational winner and third-place finisher William Levasseur and Mark D'Alessandro, both of St. Dom's, got out in front quickly, and Lake Region rival Nathan Casali was on hand to get revenge, having split the St. Dom's runners two weeks ago. [img:3pqwpc85]https://portlandsbestalbums.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/fryeburg-boys-start-e1568593066202.jpg[/img:3pqwpc85]But the two from St. Dom's got out fast and never relinquished the lead, with D'Alessandro leading wire to wire ahead of a field that stayed tight throughout the race, giving onlookers a cool visual against the fields of green. [img:3pqwpc85]https://portlandsbestalbums.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/fryeburg-boys-midrace-e1568593078508.jpg[/img:3pqwpc85]Yet again, however, pack time would prove important in the team standings. When GNG's Wyatt Fessler finished third, beating out Casali this time, it may have been hard for race-watchers to predict that neither St. Dom's or GNG would see another runner finish until GNG's Raymond Woodworth came across the line 17th. In between, Lisbon, Traip, Lake Region, and Freyburg all saw three runners finish, setting up one of the tighter races this observer has witnessed, top to bottom, with sprints deciding any number of places, including this razor-thin finish that saw Traip freshman Zach Stacy just edge out Lisbon senior Michael Ray for 13th.[img:3pqwpc85]https://portlandsbestalbums.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/fryeburg-boys-finish-e1568593041849.jpg[/img:3pqwpc85]Ultimately, though, Traip's race-best pack time of 1:34 was bested by Lisbon sophomore Adam Laviolette's fifth place finish, which put them six up over Traip top-finisher freshman Andrew Brayne at #11, and Lisbon junior Max Boulet closing the door with a 25th place, ahead of Traip's fifth scorer Kai Arsenault at #28. Lisbon 73, Traip 82 (and a long drive home to Kittery). Lake Region edged out the home team for third, 85-90.That 1-2 finish for St. Dom's? Not enough to avoid a 6th place finish overall. That's what a race-worst 5:53 pack time will do to ya. GNG's 2:42 helped them to 5th, 102 to 106, with Waynflete and Old Orchard rounding out the teams at 7th and 8th, respectively.Next week, GNG plays host to Freeport, Maine Coast, Sacopee Valley and Traip as part of their homecoming weekend on one of the hilliest courses in Maine, while St. Dom's hosts the other Western Maine Conference meet, with Lake Region, NYA, Poland, Yarmouth, and York.