Cross country: Hopkinton boys win D-III team title, Lane runs away with the individual championship 

Hopkinton’s Maddy Lane leads the way 1,000 meters into the 5K race at the NHIAA Division III girls’ state championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. Lane went on to win the individual title in 19 minutes, 31 seconds, leading Hopkinton to second place as a team.

Hopkinton’s Maddy Lane leads the way 1,000 meters into the 5K race at the NHIAA Division III girls’ state championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. Lane went on to win the individual title in 19 minutes, 31 seconds, leading Hopkinton to second place as a team. JAY SMITH / NHXCTF

Hopkinton’s Maddy Lane crosses the finish line to become the NHIAA Division III girls’ state champion at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. Lane finished the race in 19 minutes, 31 seconds to lead the Hawks to second place as a team.

Hopkinton’s Maddy Lane crosses the finish line to become the NHIAA Division III girls’ state champion at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. Lane finished the race in 19 minutes, 31 seconds to lead the Hawks to second place as a team. JAY SMITH / NHXCTF

Kearsarge’s Molly Ellison races towards the finish line at the NHIAA Division III girls’ state championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. Ellison finished fourth.

Kearsarge’s Molly Ellison races towards the finish line at the NHIAA Division III girls’ state championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. Ellison finished fourth. JAY SMITH / NHXCTF

Matt Clarner (left) and Ben Daniels (right) lead a group of runners at the NHIAA Division III state championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. Clarner finished sixth and Daniels came in seventh to lead Hopkinton boys’ team to the state championship, the Hawks’ first crown since 2012.

Matt Clarner (left) and Ben Daniels (right) lead a group of runners at the NHIAA Division III state championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. Clarner finished sixth and Daniels came in seventh to lead Hopkinton boys’ team to the state championship, the Hawks’ first crown since 2012. JOSHUA SPAULDING / Salmon Press

Hopkinton’s Matt Clarner races towards the finish line at the Division III boys’ state championship on Saturday at Derryfield Park in Manchester. Clarner finished sixth to lead the Hawk boys to a team title, their first since 2012.

Hopkinton’s Matt Clarner races towards the finish line at the Division III boys’ state championship on Saturday at Derryfield Park in Manchester. Clarner finished sixth to lead the Hawk boys to a team title, their first since 2012. JAY SMITH / NHXCTF

Hillsboro-Deering’s Elijah Bodanza heads to the finish line at the Division III state championship on Saturday at Derryfield Park in Manchester. Bodanza finished fourth in the boys’ race.

Hillsboro-Deering’s Elijah Bodanza heads to the finish line at the Division III state championship on Saturday at Derryfield Park in Manchester. Bodanza finished fourth in the boys’ race. JAY SMITH / NHXCTF

The Hopkinton boys’ cross country team poses with the championship plaque after winning the Division III title on Saturday at Manchester’s Derryfield Park.

The Hopkinton boys’ cross country team poses with the championship plaque after winning the Division III title on Saturday at Manchester’s Derryfield Park. Courtesy

The Hopkinton girls’ cross country team poses with the runner-up plaque after finishing second in Division III on Saturday at Manchester’s Derryfield Park.

The Hopkinton girls’ cross country team poses with the runner-up plaque after finishing second in Division III on Saturday at Manchester’s Derryfield Park. Courtesy

By DAN ATTORRI

Monitor staff

Published: 10-29-2023 12:11 PM

MANCHESTER – Last year, the Hopkinton boys barely had a team. Now, they’re state champions.

With newfound depth and a full complement of teammates behind them, seniors Matt Clarner and Ben Daniels finished sixth and seventh to lead the Hawks to the Division III title at Saturday’s cross country state championship at Derryfield Park.

Hopkinton winning the boys’ title was the biggest surprise out of all six NHIAA division championships. There was a strong chance the Hawks were going to come home with some hardware, but it didn’t come from the more favored squad.

Freshman Maddy Lane won the girls’ individual title, leading her race from wire to wire to clock a 5K time of 19 minutes, 30.97 seconds, about 23 seconds faster than runner-up Alanna Hagen of Newmarket, but the Hawk girls lost a close battle with Mascenic.

The Vikings were the only D-III team that bested Hopkinton all season and Mascenic had slightly more depth to tally 78 points, besting the Hawks’ 91.

After winning every team title since 2020, Hopkinton girls’ streak comes to an end. The Hawk boys hadn’t won since 2012.

“(The boys) knew that they were strong,” Hopkinton head coach Rob Rothe said. “It looked like a real mix among the top teams. It could’ve been anyone. My feeling going in was that they could’ve had a solid second if everyone had a good day. They just left it all out there. I’m super proud of them. Everyone of them came together and did what they needed to do.”

Hopkinton’s 127 points led a tightly-contested top five that included Fall Mountain (148), Mascoma (150), Portsmouth Christian (150) and Gilford (162), which was led by the individual champion, freshman Bocelli Howland-Vlahakis (16:11.14). Mascoma was awarded third place due to the tiebreaker rule and all five teams earned spots at the Meet of Champions.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Concord planning board approves new casino zoning
A May tradition, the Kiwanis Fair comes to Concord this weekend
Lawyers and lawmakers assert the Department of Education is on the verge of violating the law
Concord softball’s senior class reflects on a dominant four-year run
Concord solidifies plan to respond to homelessness
Cottage community rebuilds beloved dock after it was destroyed in boat crash

Senior Liam O’Rourke (32nd, 19:21), junior Jorge Guerra (43rd, 19:40), freshman James Lavers (51st, 20:02), sophomore Adrian Whiteknact (52nd, 20:03) and senior Anthony Cauley (62nd, 20:30) rounded out Hopkinton’s champion squad.

Last year the team finished seventh with the minimum five runners required for a team score. Team accolades weren’t a consideration with so few numbers, but with a roster size that nearly tripled from five runners to 14, that changed this season.

“This year we went in differently knowing we had those bodies,” Daniels said. “We gave it our all the entire season and it worked in our favor. We’ve definitely been working on the team dynamics now that we have (nine) more guys on the team.”

“It’s really nice to have the depth (to compete),” Clarner added.

Clarner and Daniels have been one of the best 1-2 punches in the division since they burst onto the scene as freshmen. As they have their entire careers, they worked together near the front of the pack as they competed against elite opponents, typically without many teammates behind them. 

“Matt and I have been training (together) the whole season,” Daniels said. “I knew Matt was in front of me and my goal was to stick with him as long as I could. He was pushing the pace for me, and I knew I was pushing the pace for him. There were a couple of times we met in the middle of the course, it’s always good to have that dynamic.”

Winning the championship in their final race on New Hampshire’s most iconic cross country course is a fitting end to that partnership.

“The two of them have always run well together and they’ve now led this team,” Rothe said. “They’ve been super good mentors and team captains.”

Juniors Shaylee Murdough (sixth, 21:17), Reese Bove (36th, 24:24), Amelia Walsh (38th, 24:29), and Annie Daniels (49th, 25:05), senior Elizabeth Trafton (14th, 21:57) and freshman Lucy Beardmore (98th, 29:10) ran for the Hopkinton girls.

Lane, coming off two huge wins at the Capital Area Championship and Pelham Invitational, had the confidence to push the pace early and gradually pull away.

“I was trying to push the pace, but not go out too hard because I knew it would be competitive,” Lane said. “It was a little bit slower of a time for me because of the heat, but I thought it went really well. This is the peak of an amazing season.”

 “It just wasn’t the day for us,” Rothe said of the girls’ squad. “Lacking some of that depth hurt us a little bit if someone had an off day. But the girls put it all out there. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Mascenic placed five runners in the top 26, including three seniors.

Newmarket (115), Gilford (117) and Fall Mountain (128) finished third through fifth in the girls’ standings.

Kearsarge finished 11th (264 points) behind senior Molly Ellison (fourth, 20:39), the only other local MOC qualifier, and  Amelia Lefebvre (44th, 24:52), Taylor White (66th, 26:21), Riley Raynes (88th, 28:28) and Juliet Faria (100th, 29:17)

Belmont (12th), Bishop Brady (15th) and Winnisquam (16th) were the other area teams that competed.

Belmont was led by Adeline Takantjas (28th, 23:47), Lyla McSheffrey (55th, 25:22), Rebekah Edgren (59th, 25:28), Riley Degange (80th, 27:26) and Aspen Filebrown (90th, 28:32).

Bishop Brady was led by Elizabeth McKinney (79th, 27:22) and Winnisquam was led by Emily Tripple (113th, 30:58).

On the boys’ side, Hillsboro-Deering freshman Elijah Bodanza (fourth, 16:43) and Kearsarge junior Daniel Dalbec (11th, 17:27) qualified for the Meet of Champions, which will be held on Saturday at Alvirne High School.

Belmont (15th) and Bishop Brady (20th) were the other Capital Area teams that competed, while Kearsarge, Winnisquam and H-D didn’t have enough runners for a team score.

Belmont’s Brayden Townsend (39th, 19:28) and Baidyn Lewis (54th, 20:07), Bishop Brady’s LJ Putnam (83rd, 21:22) and Winnisquam’s David Swain (59th, 20:26) led their respective teams.