The 77th New England Championships will feature the top female harriers from Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, & Connecticut battling it out for regional supremacy. With several All-NE selection returning the quality up front will be top notch will a handful of girls with a real shot to run away with the NE championship. Look for RI state champ Molly Keating (LaSalle Academy, RI) , 2009 NE champ & 2x runner-up Emily Durgin (Cheverus, ME), Courtney Hawkins (Milford, NH) the NH MOC champion, Elle Purrier (Richford, VT) the D3 State champion & 4th place finisher from 2011, & Reid Watson (Glastonbury, CT) the CT State Open champion & 2x All-NE selection to be a few to contend for the top spot. Teamwise, (US #22) Champlain Valley, VT the defending champions will be the team to beat as they shoot to repeat, expect strong challenges from two team from Rhode Island, Barrington & LaSalle Academy, along with Maine champs Cheverus, NH Champs Coe-Brown Academy & CT Champs Ridgefield.
Individuals by State
Despite top runner Abbey Leonardi (US #9) opting to rest to for the Fottlocker regional & state #2 Erzsebet Nagy shutting it down to focus on swimming Maine will still be well respresented in the NE Championships. The top returner from last year's meet is Emily Durgin of Cheverus (Pictured left), Durgin struggled with anemia the last month of the season but was well enough to place 3rd in the Class A state meet (19:03), with another 2 weeks to improve she'll be hoping to regain her top form. Durgin has finished 2nd twice (2008, 2010) & won the NE title in 2009. Other top runners from Maine are Class B State champion Brittany Bowman (Camden Hils) who surprised the field with her win (19:12), Bowman placed 39th in the NE meet a year ago as a freshman, Fiona Hendry (Cheverus) 4th in Class A (19:25) was an ALL-NE runner 2 years ago & 44th a year ago, Class B runner-up Bethanie Brown (Waterville) ran (19:29) is in her first tear of xc, she was ALL-NE in the mile last spring, Class B 3rd place finisher Abby Mace (Maranacook) ran 19:42 at the state meet, Mace is a 2x ALL-NE(2008-6th & 2009-10th), while Shannon Conley (Cheverus) placed 6th in the Class A meet (19:59) despite struggling with the cold conditions, Conley finished 19th a year ago as a freshman.
NH MOC winner Courtney Hawkins (Milford) averaged sub 6:00 minute pace clocking 18:34.1 to defeat a strong field last weekend, just a week before she finished 4th in the D2 State Championship. Hawkins earned All-NE honors via her 21st place finish a year ago. D1 champion & MOC runner-up Elizabeth Conway (Manchester Central) is a returning All-NE selection (18th-2010 & 2009). Other runners to keep an eye on from NH are D1 runnerup & MOC 3rd place finisher Mia Eisenhamdler (Nashua South), D2 runnerup & MOC 4th place finisher Hannah Parker (Coe-Brown) who is a freshman running on one of the top teams, D2 3rd place & MOC 5th place Hannah Zaltner (Beford) who ran 18:46.4, D1 champion & MOC 7th place finisher McKenzie Haney (Merrimack Valley), who ran 18:39 at Derryfiled Park two weeks ago.
Vermont returns 3 ALL-NE runners from a year ago, and all 3 have had strong xc seasons this fall. D3 state champion & 4th place NE finisher Elle Purrier (Richford) had the top time at the VT state meet, she covered the difficult layout of Thetford Academy in 19:11.9. D1 Champion Markie Palermo (Essex) repeated as state champion, running 19:15, just 4 seconds off Purrier's time. Palermo placed 7th in the NE meet a year ago. The D1 runner-up Taylor Spillane (Champlain Valley) had the 3rd fastest time on the course 19:29, Spillane placed 25th last fall in the NE meet, her team won the NE team title, & is currently ranked 30t beh in the NHSCA National team rankings.
RI doesn't return any ALL-NE athletes from a year ago, but with the home course advantage this fall expect some excellent showings from the top runners. Molly Keating (LaSalle) became the first runner in RI history to win the RI All-State individual title 3 consecutive years as she trounced the competition on the NE meet course @ Ponaganset, completing the course in a fine 18:24.85 clocking. Keating didn't run in NE race last year, in 2009 she finished 19th. Paige Either of South Kingstown was the state runner-up breaking the 19 min mark with a 18:59.27, she won the Class B title the week before in 19:14. Abigail Livingston (Barrington) was 2nd in the Class A championship 2 weeks ago, she improved 26 seconds to 19:01.95 & a 3rd place at the All-State meet. Class A state champion & All-State 4th place finisher Aisha McAdams (North Kingstown) is another to watch for, McAdams clocked 19:07.92. The top NE returner from last fall is Evie Jansen (LaSalle) who finished 26th just one spot out of an ALL-NE spot last fall. Jansen finished 5th in the All-State meet 19:21.49
CT State Open champion Reid Watson (Glastonbury) will try to win the title that former teammate Lindsey Crevoiserat won last year. Watson is coming off a fine 18:35 clocking to win the CT State Open meet by 7 seconds, she won the Class LL title as well this fall. Annmarie Tuxbury (Northwestern) was the CT State Open runner-up running 18:42, Tuxbury is a 2x ALL-NE runner, she placed 11th last fall. Another runner to watch is Maggie Christie (Immaculate) who won the Class S title in 18:50, her time would have been good for 3rd in the State Open race. Christie placed 20th last fall to earn ALL-NE honors. 3rd place State Open & 4th place Class LL finisher Abigail Markowitz (Greenwich) will be in the mix along with Brandy Leclair (Fitch) 4th place CT Open, & Kellie Davis (Hillhouse) 5th place CT Open. Don't count out returning ALL-NE runners Sabrina Olsen (Thomaston) & Britanny Mendelson (Pomperaug)
Top 15 Returners from 2010 Results
2 Durgin, Emily 11 Cheverus ME 19:23.2 4 Purrier, Elle 10 Richford VT 19:44.1 6 Cotton, Sarah 11 Daniel Hand CT 19:52.9 7 Palermo, Markie 10 Essex VT 19:54.8 11 Tuxbury, Annmarie 11 Northwestern CT 20:08.7 12 Olsen, Sabrina 9 Thomaston CT 20:10.6 14 Mendelson, Brittany 10 Pomperaug CT 20:15.8 17 Hicks, Sami 10 Laconia NH 20:18.1 18 Conway, Elizabeth 10 Manchester NH Ce 20:18.7 19 Conley, Shannon 9 Cheverus ME 20:19.5 20 Christe, Maggie 10 Immaculate CT 20:23.1 21 Hawkins, Courtney 10 Milford NH 20:24.5 22 McMahon, Kathleen 11 Brunswick ME 20:25.0 25 Spillane, Taylor 10 Champlain VT 20:33.6 26 Jansen, Evie 10 LaSalle RI Academy 20:36.0
Champlain Valley is back to defend their NE title (Photo by Dan Grossman)
Defending champion Champlain Valley (US #22) will be looking to make it back to back NE team titles. Champlain Valley graduated just one runner from the 2010 winning squad, & they have continued their winning ways this fall with a runner-up finish in the Manchester Invitational to current (US #23) Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, they most recently placed all 7 runners in the top 11 to dominate the D1 State meet in VT. Cheverus of Maine returns all 7 runners from a 4th place team a year ago, the Stags went 3-4-5-6 at the Maine state meet with the #5 runner back in 39th. Cheverus will need to have their top 4 all up front to have a shot at taking down the defending champions. Coe-Brown of NH won the MOC easily last weekend with a 55 second spread 1-5 with all 5 under 19:40 for 5k, a podium finish is well within reach. Barrington, RI took the RI All-State meet over by 8 over perennial NE power LaSalle Academy. Barrington has 4 girls in the 19's, with the #5 runner at 20:27 on the Ponaganset course, they should know the course better the other contenders. Ridgefield, CT the State Open & Class LL champion is a top 5 contender with just a 38 spread & 4 girls under 20 minutes.
Top 6 Teams from 2010
1 Champlain Valley VT Union 88 11 12 15 18 32 81 89 Total Time: 1:44:02.60 Average: 20:48.52 2 LaSalle RI Academy 121 13 19 22 28 39 92 116 Total Time: 1:45:14.20 Average: 21:02.84 3 Glastonbury CT High Schoo 154 1 14 23 46 70 122 124 Total Time: 1:44:41.50 Average: 20:56.30 4 Cheverus ME High School 196 2 9 26 50 109 164 172 Total Time: 1:45:16.60 Average: 21:03.32 5 Guilford CT High School 241 20 37 47 61 76 86 93 Total Time: 1:48:15.20 Average: 21:39.04 6 Coe-Brown NH Academy 253 6 34 49 59 105 125 128 Total Time: 1:47:52.50 Average: 21:34.50
Top 10 Individuals
1. Elle Purrier (Richford, VT)
2. Molly Keating (LaSalle Academy, RI)
3. Markie Palermo (Essex, VT)
4. Emily Durgin (Cheverus, ME)
5. Reid Watson (Glastonbury, CT)
6. Courtney Hawkins (Milford, NH)
7. Annmarie Tuxbury (Northwestern, CT)
8. Bethanie Brown (Waterville, ME)
9. Taylor Spillane (Champlain Valley, VT)
10. Elizabeth Conway (Manchester Central, NH)
Top 5 Teams
1. Champlain Valley, VT
2. Barrington, RI
3. LaSalle Academy, RI
4. Coe-Brown, NH
5. Ridgefield, CT
More meet coverage......