High school cross country

Cold New England meet attracts elite runners — including Camden Hills girls

Windjammers finish 11th among 29 teams; Iltis leads way at 23rd in 267-runner field
By Ken Waltz | Nov 13, 2017
Photo by: Mark Haskell Camden Hills' Grace Iltis (288) and Augusta Stockman (291), among others, on the course during the New England high school cross-country championships on Nov. 11 at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast.

Belfast — Five-hundred-and-23 of the most talented, fit and fastest teenage distance runners — including seven girls from Camden Hills of Rockport — braved cold, brisk conditions to participate in the 83rd New England Interscholastic Cross-Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 11 at Troy Howard Middle School.

The event, with temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s and whipping winds on an overall sunny fall day, saw 267 girls and 256 boys start the 5-kilometer, or 3.1-mile, races, with only 12 unable to finish.

Click for photos from the New England meet.

Click for complete girls results.

Click for complete boys results.

Click to view videos.

Watch videos below of the New Englands and Camden Hills girls.

The fields, with many runners wearing gloves, hats, leggings, arm warmers and headbands for warmth, proved amazingly fast as the girls finished in a span from 17:31 to 24:01, while the boys finished in eye-opening span of 15:16 to 20:03.

From a Midcoast perspective, the Camden Hills girls, who finished unbeaten league, regional and state Class A champions this fall, qualified and expected to push for a top-10 spot, but that did not materialize — although the Windjammers came especially close.

And one Windjammer, namely, Augusta Stockman, had a rough start, but a remarkable comeback and finish.

The girls race was won by Manchester West (N.H.) junior Julia Robitaille, who finished in 17:31.65, with a mile pace of 5:38.5. She outdistanced South Kingstown (R.I.) senior Eleanor Lawler, who crossed the course in 17:40.55, at a 5:41 mile pace.

Among the impressive boys runners, Fairfield Prep (Connecticut) senior Drew Thompson bolted away from the field and finished in 15:16.66, with a blistering 4:55 mile pace. He was followed by Danville School (Vermont) senior Riley Fenoff in 15:48.45 — a 5:05 mile pace.

The Windjammer girls, many of whom sported socks signed by team members, finished 11th among 29 teams. Pinkerton, N.H. finished first with 163 points, with the 13th, 16th, 27th, 39th and 68th runners, a total team time of 1:36:34.93 and average runner time of 19:18.99.

Camden Hills finished in the 14th, 31st, 69th, 79th and 124th spots, with a team time of 1:39.26.87 and average runner time of 19:53.38.

The individual team places are different from the overall individual results because runners for teams without five scoring runners are eliminated from the list before the team scores are tabulated.

Sofie Matson, a freshman from Falmouth and this fall's state Class A individual champion, was the first Maine finisher in 10th at 18:17.30.

For Camden Hills, the individual results were: 23, Grace Iltis, 18:43.78 (second Maine runner); 58, Augusta Stockman, 19:25.80; 117, Miranda Dunton, 20:03.71; 131, Claire Wyman, 20:12.95; 183, Phoebe Root, 21:00.63; 193, Alli Wells, 21:14.50; and 197, Rose O'Brien, 21:18.79.

Stockman suffered a cut on her right knee and bruises on her left leg from a fall at the start of the race. Amazingly, she picked herself up and pushed hard to go from the final runner and pass many of the others to finish as high as she did.

"This race certainly wasn’t the high point with which I was looking forward to ending my season," Stockman said. "I tried to start more conservatively because I know it’s easy to go out too fast on the Belfast course, but I ended up getting caught in a really tight pack of girls and falling down in the first 200 meters or so.

"I was so cold and flustered to be in last place that I didn’t even notice I was bleeding until I finished. I knew I had to move up in the pack before the narrow woods portion about halfway through, but I expended too much energy passing people and couldn’t maintain that pace through the last mile.

"I wasn’t proud of my race, but I am proud of my teammates — many of whom ran personal-bests — and the season we had."

Stockman was last after her fall and then she powered through and passed more than 100 runners to catch up to teammate Iltis in the top 35-30 runners, before fading a bit at the end due to the energy she used to get back in the race.

As David Root, one of the team's assistant coaches put it, said about Stockman, to her dad, Shawn, 'Tough way to end the season, but at least she went out a warrior.' "

Wells is a senior; Stockman, a junior; Iltis and Dunton, sophomores; and Wyman, O'Brien and Root, freshmen.

"Despite being quite cold, New England championships was a success," Iltis said. "I was a little nervous about the cold, so wearing layers was definitely important. The night before our race we had dinner together and decided to decorate team socks, signing each of our names and righting CHILLS in red on the back. It was a great way of keeping us all connected on the course while running the race.

"I personally think our team did really well, and I’m very happy with my individual performance. One of my big goals was to [personal record], and my sort of 'dream goal' was to get top 30; so it came as a bit of a surprise to me finding out later. It was a great way to end the season, and I know that next year it’ll only get better."

Root added: "New Englands was a very eye-opening experience for me, the competition was much larger and the times much faster. About three seconds after the gun went off Alli and I found ourselves in almost dead last, I had clearly underestimated the size and speed of the race. We had to work hard the first mile to make up for it, but it worked itself out in the end. Overall, New Englands was a great way to end the season and I am sad it’s coming to an end because we had such a close-knit team."

Camden Hills coach Helen Bonzi said: "Several of the Camden [Hills'] girls had really great races. I think it was a real confidence boost to be running on the Belfast course for the meet. It felt like home-court advantage to the girls. Phoebe Root, Claire Wyman, and Grace Iltis all ran personal-bests."

The coach said Stockman "was pretty scraped up" from her early-race fall. "She worked too hard to quickly catch up, she’s so determined, but she exhausted herself. She was in 22nd place, running with Grace with about 400 meters to go, but she looked awful. She ended up having to walk before the end of the race because she said she felt like she was going to collapse. It was a very unfortunate race for her. Miranda Dunton also had a difficult time as she was in a large pack of runners and was forced off the course into some bushes and sprained her ankle. She finished the race, but was disappointed with her time."

"Overall the girls had a good time and were happy with their 11th-place finish," Bonzi said. "I think we all learned a lot about the level of competition outside of the state. We have a much better idea about what to expect in the years to come if we continue to run well and have as much success as we have had this season."

The girls team scores were: Pinkerton, N.H. 163, Bishop Guertin, N.H. 183, Glastonbury, Conn. 212, Champlain Valley, Vt. 215, Souhegan, N.H. 236, LaSalle Academy, R.I., 238, Coe-Brown, N.H. 239, Danbury, Conn. 251, Portsmouth, R.I. 279, Pomperaug, Conn. 293, Camden Hills 317, South Kingstown, R.I. 327, Haddam-Killingworth, Conn. 346, Oyster River, N.H. 354, East Greenwich, R.I. 405, Trumbull, Conn. 408, Barrington, R.I. 413, Merrimack, N.H. 428, Burlington, Vt. 430, Guilford, Conn. 433, Deering 481, Gorham 487, Mount Mansfield, Vt. 537, St. Johnsbury Academy, Vt. 538, Colchester, Vt. 542, Cumberland, R.I. 556, Orono 655, Yarmouth 674 and Essex, Vt. 732.

The boys team scores were: Xavier, Conn. 74, Staples, Conn. 103, Bishop Hendricken, R.I. 126, LaSalle Academy, R.I. 159, Concord, N.H. 202, Fairfield Warde, Conn. 212, Fairfield Prep, Conn. 224, Haddam-Killingworth, Conn. 266, Hall, Conn. 328, U-32, Vt. 343, East Greenwich, R.I. 370, Essex, Vt. 410, Coe-Brown, N.H. 425, Oyster River, N.H. 458, Keene, N.H. 460, Deering 462, Londonderry, N.H. 466, Burlington, Vt. 473, Nashua North, N.H. 496, South Burlington, Vt. 502, Chariho, R.I. 515, Scarborough 552,  Falmouth 569, Barrington, R.I. 584, Lincoln Academy of Newcastle 596, Greely of Cumberland 606, North Kingstown, R.I. 611, St. Johnsbury Academy, Vt. 659, Orono 783, and Champlain Valley, Vt. 830.

Camden Hills girls cross country
Camden Hills girls cross country. (Video by: Zack Miller of VStv)
New England high school cross country
New England high school cross-country championships on Nov. 11 at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast. (Video by: Zack Miller of VStv)
Camden Hills' Grace Iltis (288) and Augusta Stockman (291), among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Grace Iltis (288) and Augusta Stockman (291), among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Grace Iltis (288) and Augusta Stockman (291), among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Augusta Stockman (291), among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Miranda Dunton (287), among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Miranda Dunton (287), among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Miranda Dunton and her team-signed socks (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Claire Wyman, right, among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Claire Wyman, left, among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Grace Iltis, middle, among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Grace Iltis, right, among another. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Augusta Stockman, back middle, among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Augusta Stockman, back middle, among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Augusta Stockman. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Augusta Stockman. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Augusta Stockman. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Miranda Dunton (287), among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Miranda Dunton (287), among another. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Miranda Dunton. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Claire Wyman. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Claire Wyman. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Phoebe Root (290), among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Phoebe Root (290), among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Phoebe Root (290), among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Alli Wells (292), among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Alli Wells (292), among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Alli Wells (292), among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Rose O'Brien. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills' Rose O'Brien. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Camden Hills Regional High School girls cross-country team members and their state Class A championship plaque. From left, assistant coach Tom Gray, Miranda Dunton, Rose O’Brien, Alli Wells, Grace Iltis, Augusta Stockman, Kaitlyn Kessel, Lauren Rothwell, Phoebe Root, Bella Gallace and Claire Wyman. Head coach Helen Bonzi and other team members are not pictured. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
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