‘Determined’ FA cross-country runners reach States

Raider boys left to right: Antonin Santarelli, Sam Paulding, Seth Johnston, Christian Bedell, Alfie Walker, Ethan Reinbach, Josh Rose

Raider boys left to right: Antonin Santarelli, Sam Paulding, Seth Johnston, Christian Bedell, Alfie Walker, Ethan Reinbach, Josh Rose

FRYEBURG — Fryeburg Academy Coach Bill Reilly vividly remembers when sophomore Alfie Walker officially arrived as a top cross-country runner.

At a home meet, Alfie kept pace with York’s Ryan Simpson right up to last few yards.

“He gained the self confidence that he could run with the big boys,” Coach Reilly said. “Alfie also has an abundance of energy, which he is learning how to channel into his racing. Anybody can run fast, but few can race.”

Alfie can race.

He proved it Saturday by taking 16th place (out of a field of 107 competitors) at the Southern Regional Cross-Country Championships held at Twin Brooks in Cumberland. His time was 17:56.13, and earned him a trip to the State Finals to be held this Saturday in Belfast.

Simpson, by the way, was 27th in 18:23.64.

Meanwhile, junior Luke Laverdiere of Yarmouth won the race in 16:13.34.

“I believe with a solid year of conditioning. Alfie will be ready to challenge the best in 2017,” Coach Reilly said.

The Raiders placed 12th as a team. The Top 8 advance to the State Finals. Finishers were:

  1. Christian Bedell, sr., 19:09.64
  2. Seth Johnston, jr., 20:59.98
  3. Ethan Reinbach, fr., 21:06.69
  4. Antonin Santarelli, so., 21:11.87
  5. Josh Rose, fr., 21:18.89
  6. Sam Paulding, so., 22:25.84

The boy’s team closed out a fine season. The course was in good shape despite the rain. Senior Captain, Christian Bedell, ran a strong race to complete his four varsity seasons.

“His example and leadership was a great role model for a young team that worked very hard all season,” Coach Reilly said.

Junior Seth Johnston, sophomore Antonin Santarelli, freshmen Ethan Reinbach and Josh Rose formed a tight pack which is so important to team scoring. Sophomore Sam Paulding had a huge PR for his final race.

A special note to junior Ben Caffrey and senior Reed Wales, who did not run but were very enthusiastic supporters for the team at the meet.

“Christian will be a big loss, but with youth on the team and several eighth graders coming out next year, the future looks very bright for the team,” Coach Reilly added. “If they work on their endurance throughout the year while participating in other sports or other activities, 2017 boy’s cross country could be a banner year.”

  • The Raider girls, meanwhile, did crack the Top 8, and will move on to the States (the other schools to reach were Greely, Yarmouth, York, Maranacook, Cape Elizabeth, Wells and Freeport).
Raider girls left to right: Emily Carty, Alanceiah Waiters, Zoe Maguire, Emily Grzyb, Madeline Choyce, Irina Norkin, Merys Carty   Boys left to right: Antonin Santarelli, Sam Paulding, Seth Johnston, Christian Bedell, Alfie Walker, Ethan Reinbach, Josh Rose

Raider girls left to right: Emily Carty, Alanceiah Waiters, Zoe Maguire, Emily Grzyb, Madeline Choyce, Irina Norkin, Merys Carty

What did the FA girls do to get to the States?

“First and foremost, they care very deeply about each other. They have maintained focus throughout the season toward a commonly-shared goal — make States!” Coach Reilly said. “They have been sick. They have had disappointing races. They have had nagging aches and pains. They lost to some of the teams that they beat on Saturday. They understood that with patience and fortitude it would all come together on Saturday. It did. They peaked at the right time.”

Leading the way was junior Emily Carty with a time of 20:22.66, good for seventh overall in the field of 103 runners. Senior Abigail Hamilton of Yarmouth set the winning pace of 18:53.44.

Other FA finishers were:

  1. Emily Grzyb, jr., 22:19.71
  2. Irina Norkin, jr., 22:30.80
  3. Zoe Maguire, so., 22:34.39
  4. Madeline Choyce, so., 23;25.09
  5. Merys Carty, fr., 23:40.98
  6. Alanceiah Waiters, fr., 24:05.52

With determination and guts, as indicated by their starting line photo, the Raider girls finished sixth out of 15 teams in an extremely deep field of teams to punch their ticket for the second straight year to the State Meet Class B Championships.

Junior Emily Carty made the Top 10 to give the team a necessary low starting score. Then came the all-important pack. Junior Emily Grzyb, junior Irina Norkin, and sophomore Zoe Maguire stayed together and finished within six places of each other.

“This is so critical to team scoring in cross-country as no one star can carry the team,” Coach Reilly pointed out. “Then, the team needs the insurance runners who can give the team a low #5 runner score plus a high #6 runner finish in case of a tie. Sophomore Madeline Choyce and freshman Merys Carty dug in and did their job superbly. Freshman Alanceiah Waiters ran as the #7 runner for a huge PR. It was a total team effort fueled with individual season-best efforts that allowed the girls to qualify, where anything less would have meant the end of the season.”

A heart-breaking side story was the inability of senior Ella Forbes to run due to an automobile accident the previous week. But, she was there Saturday in Cumberland along with teammates sophomores Abigail Burnell and Jessica Frum to cheer and inspire the team to success.

“Also special thanks to my assistant coach, Dylan Alden, who has been such a help and role model for this team,” Coach Reilly said.

Next stop, Belfast!

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