NASHUA — Pinkerton’s boys have enjoyed some excellent races at the Meet of Champions, but perhaps none can compare with how the Astros ran Saturday.
With virtually every runner recording a personal-best time, the Astros qualified for New England with a stupendous second-place finish, coming in front of both Concord and Keene, both of which finished ahead of Pinkerton in Division 1 last week.
Division 2 power Coe-Brown won easily with 57 points with the Astros next with 105. Londonderry grabbed the sixth and final New England qualifying spot.
Leading the way with a tremendous fifth-place finish was sophomore Luke Brennan, who turned in a school record 15:35.4 clocking on the 5K Mines Falls course. The previous best Pinkerton Meet of Champions time was a 15:41 by current UNH runners Nico Sevilla and Joe Gagnon.
The time was a 24-second PR for Brennan, who was the top sophomore in the race.
“He (Brennan) ran just a sensational race,” said Pinkerton coach Mike Clark. “He got out fast, and then settled and stayed in contact with the lead group.”
Not far behind was Stephen Connelly in 12th (15:46.1) and Nolan Preble (16:46.6) in 13th while Zach Plaza was 36th and Ethan Charles was 57th.
“I’m ecstatic to finish this high, beating a team like Concord,” said Clark. “The key was that we ran relaxed.”
Once again, Windham junior Rohan Rai and Sanborn freshman Jared Khalil battled it out Saturday with Rai prevailing -- barely -- this time, taking 14th in 15:47.1, one place ahead of Khalil (15:47.4). Both qualified for next Saturday’s New England meet at Wickham Park in Manchester, Conn.
They’ll be joined there by Salem junior Jackson Mazejka, who was 23rd overall in 16:02.6.
Team-wise, Windham completed a fine season by finishing ninth. Trey Gonzalez was the Jaguars’ second finisher, taking 54th.
CROSS TAKES 16th
Pinkerton senior Meghan Cross was the lone area girl to qualify for New England, taking 16th at MOC with a time of 18:47.7. Souhegan won the team championship with Bishop Guertin -- led by individual winner Caroline Fischer (17:55,3) -- in second. There were no local teams competing.
Boys Meet of Champions
at Mines Falls Park (3.1 miles)
Top team scores (top 6 qualify for New England): Coe-Brown 57, Pinkerton 105, Concord 107, Keene 117, Oyster River 158, Londonderry 164, 9. Windham 260
Winner and top area finishers: 1. Jake Velasquez (Keene ) 15:12.5, 5. Luke Brennan (Pink) 15:35.4, 12. Stephen Connelly (Pink) 15:46.1, 13. Nolan Preble (Pink) 15:46.6);14. Rohan Rai (Windham) 15:47.1, 25. Sean Clegg (Lond) 16:05.5, 29. Matt Griffin (Lond) 16:11.3, 36. Zach Plaza (Pink) 16:19.8, 40. Ryan Young (Lond) 16:22.2, 48. Dylan Hotter (Lond) 16:34.5, 54. Trey Gonzalez (Wind) 16:37.3, 56. Kerry Daley (Lond), 57. Ethan Charles (Pink) 16:39.5, 58. Chris Burpeau (Lond) 16:39.8, 65. Nathan Steiger (Pink) 16:45.5, 68. Michael Killian (Wind) 16:48.8, 73, Cole Flenniken (Wind) 16:51.1.
Girls Meet of Champions
at Mines Falls Park (3.1 miles)
Top 6 team scores (qualify for New England): Souhegan 80, Bishop Guertin 109, Concord 111, Exeter 159, Coe-Brown 166, Keene 188, 14. Londonderry 318
Top 3 and top local finishers: 1. Caroline Fischer (BG) 17:55.2, 2. Chloe Trudel (Souhegan) 17:59.5, 3. Caroline Towle (BG) 18:02.8, 16. Meghan Cross (Pinkerton) 18:47.7, 71. Silvia Caddell (Salem) 20:24.9, 77. Makenna Alden (Pinkerton) 20:29.3