Week 3 Rankings - Week of 9/25/23

VTHSXC.COM Vermont HS Boys Cross Country Rankings - Sept. 25, 2023

Boys Overall Top 10

The Manchester (NH) Invitational on Saturday marked the real start of the racing season with the first large regional meet of the year.  Most of the top ranked teams and individuals from RI, NH,VT, MA and ME were present on the legendary Derryfield course in an early season preview of the New England Championship (November 11th in Belfast ME). The race was headlined, and won, by #2 in the US Byron Grevious from Phillips Exeter who broke the long standing course record with a regal 15:03.  The rest of the field, which featured most of New England’s best individuals, was not far behind. U32s Cyrus Hansen finished 3rd in 15:30 and established him as the man to beat in Vermont and one of the best in the Northeast.

Vermont teams led by #1 ranked St.Jay, which finished 2nd in the meet, had an impressive day. The Hilltoppers, behind a murders row of Thorton-Sherman, Johnson and Eams, solidified themselves as legitimate contenders to become only the third Vermont boys team in history (Essex 1988, U32 2021) to win New Englands. #2 U32 moved up four places in the coaches poll by finishing as the 2nd VT team and 7th in the race behind Hansen’s impressive run. #3 CVU was right behind the Raiders at Manchester (8th place) and is now a bit clear of #4 Essex and #5 Montpelier who placed 12th and 14th at the large regional competition. 

Unlike the rest of the ranked teams  #6 BFA chose to run in the “small” school race at Manchester. It makes little difference as the course and distance are the same and the Bobwhites ran very fast. The boys from St. Albans, led by Porter Hurteau,  are as good or better than any Vermont team through 4 runners but it takes 5 to score. If the younger guys can keep developing, look for BFA to move up in the rankings.  #7 Burlington and #8 SB were only separated by 14 seconds per runner and two places at Manchester. These two neighbors are closely matched and could go back and forth all season. The Seahorses are a team to watch with a young and very tightly bunched 3-5 pack. #9 Midd was the only ranked team to skip Manchester and #10 MMU rounds out the rankings.  The next big race for all of these teams is October 7th at the Woods Trail Invite at Thetford Academy.  Bad puns aside, the leaves, runners and tourist season should be rounding into peak form.

One of the complexities of Cross Country is that the scoring dynamic is greatly influenced by the size and competitiveness of the race. Thus a team with an individual who can run at the front of a large competitive race (Manchester) gains their team a much larger points advantage than they would at smaller meets (States). 

Led by Hansen, Vermont individuals also had a fine day in the Granite State. The St. Jay trio of Thorton-Sherman, Johnson and Eames were the next Green Mountain Boys across the line and Daniel Knight from CVU also notched a top 20 finish. All four will be vying for All-New England status come November and could be joined by Hurteau,Schader, Lenzini,Deal,Yagoda, and others.

2023 is shaping up to be an exciting season with multiple Vermont teams and individuals poised to upset the big state apple cart on the regional race scene. 

VTHSXC.COM Vermont HS Girls Cross Country Rankings - Sept. 25, 2023 

Girls Overall Top 10

Finally we get a weekend with a big meet and many of the top teams racing each other head to head. With CVU dominating the Large School race it just solidifies their hold on the #1 spot and shows that they are one of the best teams in the Northeast region. They had all five scorers in the top 20 of the race, they finished all five scoring runners before any other teams fifth finisher and had all seven runners in before any other team had finished their five scoring runners. That is an example of domination. The Redhawks were led by strong performances by Alice Kredell in 2nd(18:31), Estella Laird in 3rd(18:51) and Lydia Donahue in 9th(19:09).

After CVU is where some of the tight racing is going to be found. U-32 ran up in the Large School race and finished 6th overall with a solid performance. They were led by Ginger Long in 8th place(19:08) and they had a solid grouping with their 2-4 runners coming in with only :21 seconds between them. This tight middle pack with a low stick up front will help U-32 as the season goes along.

SB and Essex just continued to show us that there is not much space between these two teams. SB edged out Essex by 3 points at Manchester for 9th place overall. It is hard to know how the points will shake out in a smaller race like the VT State Meet but it looks like it will be a single digit race between these teams for the #2/#3 spots in D1. Page Poirier paced SB finishing in 37th place(20:35) and SB ran a tight :27 second gap between their 2-4 runners to help outpace the Hornets. Essex was led by Taylore Dall in 49th place(21:06) and their 1-5 spread is an impressive pack of only :34 seconds.

Harwood placed 3rd in the Small School race at Manchester. Harwood was paced by Celia Wing in 24th place(20:30). Harwood has a solid group 1-4 and it will be interesting to see how this group develops throughout the season. St Johnsbury and Burlington were in a tight battle in the Large School race with St J edging out BHS by 4 points for 14th place. This is another tight battle that a smaller race may benefit one team more than the other. That team may be St J because Burlington had 2 top 20 finishers which in a race of this size is going to benefit them greatly. Gillian Fairfax led BHS with a 10th place(19:14) finish. This could be one of those battles to keep an eye on this season.

MMU finished 18th at Manchester and did have a girl racing in the JV race that would have improved their varsity team score by quite a bit. Burr and Burton edged out Middlebury at the Middlebury Invitational on Friday. This was a very small meet and it is very hard to take away too much from the meet because it was pretty much a dual meet between the two teams. Burr and Burton comes out on top so they hold the #9 spot with Middlebury staking claim to the last top spot.

With the season about a month away from the State Meet there is still a lot to be determined and we will get a preview of the state meet in two weeks when all of these teams get to race on the States course at the Thetford Invitational. That will allow us to get another glimpse of where these teams stand in head to head competition.