First-place for Colby XC teams
Maguire '11 (left) and Letourneau '13 finished 1-2 at the Colby Invitational.
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If cross-country simply means the joy of racing, whether it be over leaf-strewn trails or winter snow, then on Saturday the Colby menâ€™s and women's cross-country teams (of the former type) hosted their first and only home of the season featuring special guests (of the latter type). And over the five-mile course for the men and the five-kilometer track for the women, the Mules came out strong.
On the men's side, senior captain Andy Maguire won his final race on the home course, edging out teammate Tom Letourneau '13 with a time of 29:07.69 (Letourneau finished in 29:18.37). Then, as a testament to the strength of Colbyâ€™s nordic skiing team, the next three finishersâ€”Wyatt Fereday â€™11, Corey Park '12, and Paco DeFrancis '14" rounded out the meet's top five with times of 29:26.01, 30:09.52 and 30:11.28, respectively.
Among competing teams from Unity College, Thomas College and University of Maine at Machias, Colbyâ€™s cross-country and nordic squads took the top two spots. Also finishing in the top ten for Colbyâ€™s autumn race team were Chris Greenlee â€™14 (30:39.41), Nick Papanastassiou â€™13 (30:53.91), Alex Baier â€™14 (31:01.48) and Ben Smith â€™14 (31:04.08). â€œIt was awesome to see Tom and Andy close the race with some fire,â€ said Brian Desmond â€™13, who rested on Saturday along with several more of the Mulesâ€™ top runners. â€œ[It was the] last race on our home course, so Andy wasn't about to let anyone beat him. And also some very solid performances by the first-years. Our course separates the men from the boys, and many of the younger guys stepped up to the challenge.â€ After the high-noon start for the men, the women took to the course at 12:45 and further proved the Mulesâ€™ distance depth, despite resting many of their top runners as well. Nordic member Olga Golovkina won the race with a time of 19:17 andâ€”after finishes from Husson and Thomas runners for second and thirdâ€”places four through 11 were a Colby sweep. Morgan Lingar â€™13 (20:04.29), Jessica Mullaney â€™11 (20:17.78), Nora McCall â€™11 (20:21.75), Jessica Moore â€™14 (20:25.30), Rachel Frenkil â€™12 (20:28.93), Emily Arsenault â€™14 (20:39.58), Lauren Dernbach â€™14 (20:44.01) and Laura Duff â€™13 (20:49.40) all contributed to the 32nd-ranked Mulesâ€™ victory in the home meet, in which Colby nordic finished second. â€œI was really pleased with our results,â€ said cross-country coach Deb Aitken. â€œIt was wonderful to have Morgan, Nora, Laura and [senior co-captain] Debbie Merzbach back and running well. Lauren raced for the first time since the Bates Wave race, Jessica Mullaney had a season best race and Jessica Moore and Rachel Frenkil had big [personal records]. Overall, it was a very productive race for everyone that participated. I believe our depth just increased with the return of these runners.â€ Merzbach added, â€œthe Colby women made Lower Trails look good at the home meet, running impressive times on a notoriously technical course. Finishing in strong packs (a huge goal and accomplishment in XC) has become a trademark of the season.â€ The Mulesâ€™ next race is on Saturday at Open New Englands in Bostonâ€™s Franklin Park. However, for both teams, the eye of training is aimed at October 16 in Brunswick for the State of Maine Championships as the apex of the season comes ever nearer.