Salem runners take to trails for Manchester Invitational
MANCHESTER – Manchester’s Derryfield Park played host to one of the largest high school cross country meets in the state Saturday, Sept. 22.
Hundreds of runners took to the hilly course on the sunny afternoon to represent their schools.
The race featured several classes of both male and female runners, ranging from small schools, large schools and an elite grouping.
In the boy’s large school group, Jacob Kilcoyne of Chariho edged Concord’s B.J. Smith by a second to take the top spot. Alexa Pelletier took first in the girl’s large school by 28 seconds over her next closest competitor, Elizabeth Hansen, another Chariho product.
Salem High School had several runners near the front of the pack, including two top-10 finishers on the boys side.
Mitch Dutton placed fifth in his group, just two seconds ahead of teammate Joe Settineri, who snagged sixth. Dutton and Settineri’s times were both personal bests, and helped earn Salem a top-10 overall finish as a team.
“My top two ran incredible,” head coach Jason Thibodeau said. “They went a little beyond what I was expecting.”
Salem also had four other boys runners in the top-100, of which Tyler Breen led the pack in 72nd place. The other three top-100 finishers for Salem were junior Alex Fredette, along with sophomores Sean Bolvin and Rheaume John.
On the girls side, Salem was led by Samantha Hutchins’ time of 21:14, good enough for 34th place in the large school group. Crystal Peatfield also broke the top-100 at 78th, with a time of 22:15.
Thibodeau was especially impressed by his top runners because Derryfield Park is such a difficult course. As the season has progressed, Thibodeau was surprised by how much his runners improved, but still said he sees room for improvement.
“Most of the second mile is uphill, so it’s one of the tougher courses that we face all year,” he said. “Overall, I think we’ve got a little work to move forward on, pulling the rest of the team together.”
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