Girls Division 1 X-Country Preview
With official practices having already begun on August 13th, New Hampshire cross-country is well underway. Division One this year looks to be Bishop Guertin's to lose; they return their all of their Varsity squad from last years dominant division one winner. However, Manchester Central and Londonderry come off very successful seasons and look to be challenge the Cardinals. Here are the top ten girls teams to watch, in alphabetical order:
New to division one after finishing third in division two last year, Bedford is a team that should not be taken lightly. Other then losing their number one runner from last year, Hannah Zeltner, Bedford returns pretty much their entire varsity squad. They will be led by Gwenyth Winship, who as a freshman last year ran a 19:31 at D-2's. With a year of experience under her belt, Winship should contend for a top five spot in Division One. Bedford's Kris Larosa and Morghan Linnehan were both under 20:40 last year on the challenging Derryfield course, and should be Bedford's 2 and 3 runners, respectively. The 4-5 runners will likely be Caroline Conrad and Taylor Watts.
Predicted Place of finish: 3rd
Bishop Guertin won the division one title last year in dominating fashion, besting second place Manchester Central by an astounding 29 points. Their entire top seven from last year is intact, so expect another strong showing by them at the D-1 meet. Sarah Burke heads the squad. She finished 7th last year in a time of 19:45. The strength at Bishop Guertin comes in their 2-4 runners: Molly McCabe, Gabby Richardson, and Sarah Murphy took 10th, 11th, and 12th at last years D-1's. With all three under 20:06, this type of depth really enables Guertin to lead from the front in races. The fifth runner for BG is Shauna Salem, who ran 20:42 last year on the Derryfield course. Guertin's top six from last year were all under 20:45 and all in the top 25, so a repeat for the division one title is not out of the question.
Predicted Place of finish: 1st
This years Concord team will be led by Smita Boesch-dining. Boesch-dining was 9th last year as a sophomore, and is the number one returning junior this year. A top five finish at this years D-1's should be a consideration for her. Concord also brings back Erin Waters, who as a freshman last year broke 21:00 in running a 20:54 at Derryfield. Concord's 3, 4, and 5 will likely be Hope Morrison, Hannah Orzechowski, and Rachel Pfifer. As a side note, Concord returns all of their top 5 from a team that placed 7th at D-1's last year.
Predicted Place of finish: 8th
Shannon Murdock was fourth last year as a freshman at D-1's, recording a time of 19:35. She is considered a favorite for a top three spot after a stellar spring season. Her time of 5:05 in the mile was tops in D-1 for a freshman. Exeter also has Courtney Smith, another to-be sophomore. She ran 2:26 in the 800 in the spring season, and the duo of Murdock and her should produce good frontrunners for Exeter. Exeter also has Melissa Murray, who went sub-21:00 on Derryfield last year with a time of 20:57 at D-1's. The top 5 should be rounded out by Kristina Keith and Nora McCleary.
Predicted Place of finish: 9th
Londonderry's team on the girl side looks to be very strong this year. Their class of 2013 for the girls is very strong, with two runners (Cassandra Cronin, 5th, and Coleen Kennedy, 8th,) in the top ten at last years D-1 championships. Cronin and Kennedy should both contend for top 5 spots this year at Derryfield. Londonderry's 3-5 were all under 21:00, with Amanda Szymanski having the fastest time at 20:48. Devin Boyle and Alissa Rodgers will be the 4-5 runners for the Lancers, and a top three team finish should not be out of the question.
Predicted Place of finish: 5th
Elizabeth Conway was a dominant runner in division one last year. Conway captured the individual crown last year at D-1's, running 18:54, the only D-1 girl to break 19:00. Conway is the favorite to win again in her senior year, with a possible run at a sub-18:40 within range given the conditions cooperate. Central will have a very good team this year as well. Megan Brockett ran 20:20 last year, and should have a shot to go sub 20:00 entering her senior year. Central's 3-5 runners will likely be Emily Harris, Rachel Norris, and Laurel Gagnon, all three of which were well under 21:00 last year at Division One's.
Predicted place of finish: 2nd
As the distance goes up, Mia Eisenhandler gets better. Eisenhandler finished second at D-1's for cross-country last year with a time of 19:16. Entering her senior year, she should be able to break 19:00 at division one's and claim a runner-up spot to Central's Conway. For South, their number two runner should be sophomore Holly Gaudet, who ran sub-21:10 last year. They also have Sarah Witzkig, Mackenzie Kerr, and Nicole Case to round out their top 5.
Predicted Place of finish: 10th
Pinkerton Academy returns Felicia Dowling, who ran 20:24 last year and will likely be Pinkerton's number one runner this season. The Big Red Line, however, gets their strength from their depth: their 2-3-4 runners are separated by less then 4 seconds. Hale McMullen, Madison Weston, and Danika Ashness make up these spots, respectively. Their fifth runner will most likely be Siobha McLaughlin.
Predicted Place of finish: 7th
Timberlane has a good mix of frontrunners and depth, which could lead to a high placing at D-1's. Hannah Kimball was third in the state last year, and should battle for the number two individual spot. She registered a 19:33 last year at Derryfield. Katherine Estep is another top 15 returner for Timberlane. She finished 14th overall last year with a 20:10. Lauren Oligny will be their third, who as only a sophomore last year ran a 20:35. Torri Plank will be their fourth runner, while sophomore Coryn Ojemann will be their fifth.
Predicted Place of finish: 4th
Winnacunnet's depth is very impressive. Though not a team with a strong frontrunner, Winnacunnet has a very small gap between their 1-5 runners, a plus for a team that wants to place high at D-1's and MOC's. They are led by Katherine Dunmore, who last year ran 21:01 at Derryfield. Alexis Moser is their 2, with a 21:28 to her credit from last years D-1 Championships. Their 3-5 will be made up of Mary Casey, Molly McCoy, and Amanda Cestrone.
Predicted Place of finish: 6th
Other Individuals to Watchout For:
Rachel Klaski Keene (Sr.)
Christiana Pike Nashua North (Sr.)
Julia Guerriero Keene (Sr.)
Nicole Schillemat Keene (Sr.)
Erica Notini Alvirne (Sr.)