MANCHESTER — Monadnock Regional High School seniors Tyler Hebert and Harry Ryan wanted to end their cross country careers as champions.
They made sure that happened on Saturday at the NHIAA Division III cross country championships at Derryfield Park in Manchester.
“We’ve wanted this for years and the stars just haven’t aligned, but this year everything clicked,” Ryan said. “It’s great going out on a high note.”
The Huskies placed four runners in the top 10 to secure their first state championship since 2016, scoring 45 points.
“It means a lot,” Hebert said. “Those guys who’ve won, we’ve looked up to them, those were the top dogs when we were in middle school, so it’s awesome to just come back and win it.”
Hebert led the Huskies with a 3rd-place finish in 16:51.6.
“Tyler is a true leader,” said Monadnock head coach Clint Joslyn. “He cares more about his team than his own numbers. He’s always been a team player.”
And Ryan was right behind him, finishing in 4th place with a time of 17:07.4, a personal record on that course. Junior Mitchell Hill and senior Donovan Lombara also finished in the top 10 for the Huskies, placing 8th and 9th, respectively. Both boys set personal records, finishing with respective times of 17:46.1 and 17:47.5.
“These guys have worked so hard. They really deserve it,” Joslyn said. “They’ve been fighting for four years to build this program back and here they are. They’ve done it. They’ve put in a lot of hours, a lot of miles and a lot of work.
“I could not be prouder,” he added.
Freshman Jace Joslyn also set a personal record, finishing in 18:22.7, good for 22nd place.
Mascenic Regional finished right behind Monadnock in the team race with 57 points and Conant finished in third place with 96 points.
“Bittersweet,” said Conant head coach Bill Edson. “I really felt we were ready to do something better than third, but how can you be so narrow-minded to think that third place is not good?”
The third-place finish qualifies the Orioles for the Meet of Champions for the second year in a row.
“I don’t know if our school has ever done that,” Edson said. “We’re still heading in the right direction. We’re forming a legacy.”
Junior Ethan Vitello was Conant’s top runner on the day, finishing in 5th place with a time of 17:09.4.
“Fifth place for a dual-sport athlete is pretty impressive,” Edson said about his junior who also plays soccer. “He’s still one of the best athletes in the state. I’m very proud of him. He led the team like a champion.”
In the girls’ race, Conant and Monadnock finished in 7th and 8th place, respectively.
Monadnock senior Delaney Swanson and freshman Alyssa Hall led the Huskies with 4th- and 10th-place finishes respectively.
Swanson finished in 20:04.4 and Hall finished in 21:07.9.
“It’s just been a really tough year, but they have been strong, they’ve struggled to get through the ups and downs of a pandemic year,” Joslyn said. “They stuck their nose to the grindstone and kept working and it paid off today.”
Conant sophomore Kylie Aho led the Orioles with a 21st-place finish and a time of 21:58.9.
ConVal junior Ian Post set a personal record and qualified for the Meet of Champions in the DII race, finishing in 16th place with a time of 16:47.7.
“I felt pretty good going into it,” Post said. “I was aiming for sub-17 and that’s what I ran. I’m so happy with this.”
Post now has the upcoming week to prepare for the Meet of Champions.
“He’s got a great mindset,” said ConVal head coach Lance Flamino. “He’s a really positive kid, he works really hard … that’s why he’s in such good shape. It says a lot about his character.”
The boys team finished in 7th place.
Junior Ella Phillips led the girls team with a 75th-place finish in 24:56.8.
The race was Phillips’ first since her surgery over the summer.
“I recently did a virtual 5K and my knee hurt super bad from it,” Phillips said. “But I think just focusing on everything else just made it go away during the race. It didn’t hurt, but I definitely lost some endurance from not working out, so that was hard.”
Only four ConVal girls ran, so they did not qualify for a team score, but Flamino was happy with the effort.
“They all ran with heart,” Flamino said. “They showed up, they had a good attitude about the snow on the ground, they were happy to be on the starting line.”