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Salem cross country wraps up season at states

Salem High School's boys cross country team wrapped up its season at the State Meet of Champions on Nov. 3, coming in 13th overall.

The Blue Devils qualified for the meet at the Divisional Championships a week earlier, but fell short of making it to the New England Championships in Cumberland, Maine, on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Sophomore Joe Settineri was the top finisher, placing 38th overall with a time of 16:44.6 at the state meet. Seniors Mitch Dutton and Tyler Breen snagged the next two spots for the Blue Devils, placing 65th and 85th, respectively.

'Overall, as a team we did pretty good, we just didn't have an outstanding performer,' head coach Jason Thibodeau said. 'It wasn't probably one of our best races, but we ran well as a team.'

This fall marked the second year in a row Salem qualified for states, due in large part to the three seniors, Thibodeau said. Aside from Dutton and Breen, the state meet was also the last in John Rheaume's high school career. Rheaume took 122nd with a time of 17:58.

Settineri wasn't the only contributor outside the senior class. Alex Fredette represented Salem's junior class at the state meet by placing 106th with a time of 17:43. Sean Bolvin and Brandon Lecroix, Settineri's classmates, finished sixth and seventh among their teammates.

'I'm proud of the guys this year,' Thibodeau said. 'It was a great season. We would've liked to go a little bit further, but there's always next year, so we can't be disappointed with how far we made it.'

The girls team finished its season at the Divisional Championships on Oct. 27, falling short of a qualifying spot at states.

'Pretty small team this year - I only had 10 girls,' head coach Craig Robinson said. 'They worked hard and they were great kids, but it was kind of tough to overcome the lack of experience.'

Samantha Hutchins finished 74th with a time of 22:10 to lead her Salem teammates. Crystal Peatfield crossed the finish line just three seconds after Hutchins for snag 76th place.

Robinson said Hutchins and Peatfield consistently placed first and second for Salem, often pushing each other as they did at the divisional meet. Hutchins, a senior and co-captain, was one of the only returning runners with experience on Robinson's squad. Laura LaPierre was the team's steady third-place finisher all fall.

Although the team fell short of states, Robinson said they improved and he hopes more runners will come out next year to propel the team further than they went this season.

'We need to get some more younger kids involved in the program, particularly incoming freshmen,' said Robinson. 'The last couple years, we haven't been able to get a good freshmen number, so that's something, probably a priority for next year.'

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