NASHUA — The conditions were not at all like Pinkerton junior Meghan Cross would have preferred for Saturday’s Meet of Champions at Nashua South High School.
“The mud and the wind were pretty bad, especially the mud,” said Cross. “You had to watch your footing all the time.”
Thus, Cross’s time of 19:03.7 on the Mines Falls 5K course was not at all like she wanted (”I was hoping for the low 18s,” she said), but it was good enough for 14th place to pace the Astros to fourth overall and a qualifying spot in next weekend’s New England meet for the sixth straight year.
Exeter was a surprise winner with 118 points, three ahead of runner-up Coe-Brown. A young Salem team finished eighth, two spots from advancing to New England, which will be held this year at Derryfield Park in Manchester.
“It wasn’t our best day but we did better than I thought at first,” said Pinkerton coach Amy Bernard. “The conditions definitely weren’t good, but they were the same for everyone.
“I think we have the potential to race a lot better. We’d like to be the top team in New Hampshire next week (at New England).”
Pinkerton’s second runner was improving freshman Mariesa Preble, who was 37th in 19:55.5, which was her first time under 20 minutes for 5K, while classmate Riley Sweeney was 54th in a personal-best 20:17.9.
The individual winner was impressive freshman Sophia Reynolds of Merrimack Valley, who came across the line in 17:59.6.
The top Londonderry finisher was Grace McDonough in 52nd, who finished in 20:15.1.
Astros boys back to NE
It wasn’t a vintage performance for the Pinkerton boys cross country team but, after a rare break last year, they will be back at the New England meet.
With the top six teams qualifying for New England, which will be held at Derryfield Park, the Astros finished fifth with 156 points.
As expected, Concord — led by individual winner Forest MacKenzie (15:48.0) — was an easy champion with 83 points followed by Oyster River (124), Coe-Brown (126) and Keene (128).
Joe Gagnon led the Astros, placing 14th in 16:31.1, with surging freshman Luke Brennan next in 30th with a 16:49.0. Jeff Mize and Nolan Preble finished 38th and 40th respectively.
Sophomore Will Heenan of Londonderry was 17th in 16:34.9. Fellow Lancer Kyle Hoglund was 37th in 17:00.3.
Girls Meet of Champions
at Nashua (3.1 miles)
Top team scores (18 teams): Exeter 118, Coe-Brown 121, Con-Val 155, Pinkerton 167, Oyster River 179, Souhegan 194, Bishop Guertin 201, Salem 205
Winner and top area finishers: 1. Sophia Reynolds (Merrimack Valley) 17:59.6, 14. Meghan Cross (Pink) 19:03.7, 37. Mariesa Preble (Pink) 19:55.5; 52. Grace McDonough (Lond) 205;15.1; 54. Riley Sweeney (Pink) 20:17.9, 58. Ciara April (Pink) 20:22.4, 74.Molly McGaffigan (Pink) 20:45.8, 112. Jordan Vaillancourt (Pink) 21:34.0
Boys Meet of Champions
Meet of Champions
at Nashua (3.1 miles)
Top team scores (18 teams): Concord 83, Oyster River 124, Coe-Brown 126, Keene 128, Pinkerton 156, Winnacunnet 165, Londonderry 184
Winner and top area finishers: 1. Forest MacKenzie (Concord) 15:48.0, 14. Joe Gagnon (Pink) 16:31.1, 17. Will Heenan (Lond)O 16:34.9, 30. Luke Brennan (Pink) 16:49.0, 37. Kyle Hoglund (Lond) 17:00.3, 38. Jeff Mize (Pink) 17:00.5, 40. Nolan Preble (Pink) 17:01.4, 46. Eric Nowak (Lond) 17:06.7