FRANKLIN COUNTY — High school athletes weren’t the only ones to tackle a state tournament race in Thetford last weekend.
BFA St. Albans’ cross country coach Mike Mashtare and Fairfield Center cross country coach Michelle Desrosiers recognized the younger athletes.
The Fairfield Center middle school cross country team is in their third year, beginning in 2018 with five runners and boasting 27 in 2020.
“Our motto used to be that ‘we might be small but we are mighty,’” said Desrosiers.
“We’ve grown so fast, and we’re very young. We are extremely excited to have the majority of the boys’ team and the entire girls’ team returning next year.”
This year, 23 of Desrosiers’ runners were new to the program, which provides a fun and encouraging environment for fifth through eighth-grade kids.
“Things were different with covid. We had to ebb and flow and be creative with practices and meets,” said Desrosiers.
“We had enormous support from the school, and the community was support was spectacular.”
Fairfield Center cross country athletes ran at Thetford in 2019; at the start of the 2020 season, many wondered if the middle school students would be able to race at the state meet.
“We were so excited the tournament took place. Many of the kids were new to the program and didn’t know what to expect,” said Desrosiers.
The Thetford middle school course was 2,100 meters; the Fairfield runners usually run 3,000 meters.
“The kids were excited to be running a shorter course, and for many kids, it was their first time competing outside of Franklin County,” said Desrosier.
“The kids blew me away! They had spectacular days and ran with grit, determination, heart, and courage.”
Mashtare shared the official results from Fairfield, Georgia, St. Albans City, and Town also ran at Thetford.
Grades 5 and 6 ran as a combined division. St. Albans City’s Ellie Tremblay placed 22nd in the group; she was the 15th 6th grader and placed 88th overall in a time of 14:52.
Fairfield had two racers in this group: Laura Persons placed 33rd and was the 16th 5th grader who placed 125th overall in a time of 18:53.
Adele Thomas placed 34th in the group and was the 17th 6th grader placing 128th overall in a time of 20:21.
St Albans Town School had Andrew Early place 4th in the group and was the 1st 5th grader in a time of 11:06. He placed a very respectful 29th overall.
Beckett Shaffner was 23rd in the group and was the 17th 6th grader placing 78th overall in a time of 13:15. Quinn Blackburn was 24th in the group and the 7th 6th grader placing 79th overall in a time of 13:15.
Fairfield had Zeb Dasaro 13th in the group and was the 4th 5th grader placing 53rd overall in a time of 12:05. Eli Smith was 19th in the group and was the 6th 5th grader placing 72 overall in a time of 12:46.
Cameron Mudgett was 20th in the group and was the 14th 6th grader placing 74th overall in a time of 12:57.
Liam Patenaude was 27th in the group and was the 19th 6th grader placing 82nd overall in a time of 13:18.
Colin Boomhower was 73rd in the group and was the 15th 5th grader placing 112th overall in a time of 16:01.
Jack Barney placed 44th in the group and was the 29th 6th grader placing 113th overall in a time of 16:30.
In the 7th grade division, Georgia’s Kaitlyn Lumbra placed 5th and was 11th overall in a time of 11:39--a great time for the 2.1 kilometer course.
Fairfield’s Lucy Jerose had a fine day as well, placing 12th and 48th overall in a time of 13:02. Fairfield’s Haleigh Carpenter was 36th in the group and 114th overall in a time of 16:54.
Fairfield’s Wilder Mudgett led the way for 7th-grade boys placing 11th and 44th overall in a time of 11:44.
Nolan Howrigan was 15th in the group and 56th overall in 12:11. Nick Boomhower was 16th in the group and 57th overall in 12:19.
Isaac Branon was 28th in the group and 97th overall in 14:05. Bradon Lacroix was 34th in the group and 116th overall in 17:57.
Mackenzie Smith represented well for 8th-grade girls placing 42nd and was 109th overall in a time of 16:33.
For boys’ St. Albans City’s Teddy Tremblay placed 26th was 44th overall in a time of 11:53. Fairfield’s Carson Cullen placed 38th was 14th overall in a time of 16:47.
The Fairfield boys placed 9th out of 15 teams and were only one point behind 8th place. The Fairfield girls had only four runners and placed 12th out of 12.