CVU girls win N.E. cross country championship, eye return to Nationals

Nov. 17, 2011

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

The Champlain Valley Union girls cross country team won the New England championship on Nov. 12. (Observer photo by Josh Kaufmann)

The ultimate goal for major league baseball teams is to be playing on October.

For the Champlain Valley Union girls cross country team, the goal is to be running in November and possibly December.

And here in 2011, as it was in 2010, November can be a spectacular month. Last Saturday (Nov. 12), the Redhawks racked up their second straight New England Interscholastic title in North Scituate, RI They now look forward to the Nike Northeast Regionals on Nov. 26 in Wappingers Falls, NY, where they took second place last year and gained a spot in the Nationals in Portland, Ore.

The Northeast event will be at Bowdoin Park in the Empire State town of 5,000, just north of Fishkill. The Redhawks return five of the seven who ran in the 2010 competition.

In the New Englands, Taylor Spillane paced CVU with a fourth-place finish as the second Vermonter across the line. Elle Purrier from tiny Richford was the winner in a record time of 18 minutes and one second, eclipsing the previous course record by 14 seconds.

Spillane’s time was 18:32, seven seconds better than old foe Markie Palermo of Essex (sixth). It was the second time Spillane has finished ahead of the Hornets star this season.

Key to the Redhawks victory was the pack finish of teammates Aleksey Jordick (36th), Julienne DeVita (48th), Adrienne DeVita (52nd), Autumn Eastman (56th) and Isabelle Unger (84th), all within 18 seconds of Jordick’s 19:26.

“I looked around and there they were, 1-2-3,” said Spillane of her mates in a telephone interview on Monday.

The CVU junior said the course was exactly what coach Scott Bliss trained them for — flat with one hill.

“The race went great,” Spillane said, noting that even a restart did not trouble the victory-bound CVU crew.

Bliss has always warned about the unexpected and importance of getting past such potential distractions.

Spillane had praise for Purrier, Vermont’s champ who smoked the field.

“She is really something,” Spillane said. “Elle has been strong all year.”

Sophie Hess, the seventh member of the CVU contingent, ran despite a slight injury.

Last year in the Wappingers Falls event, the Redhawks ran as the Champlain Valley Club because the interscholastic campaign ends with the New Englands. Taylor Spillane was 14th, her cousin Summer Spillane (2011 graduate) was 16th, followed by Jordick (28th), Adrienne DeVita (44th) and Julienne DeVita (46th).


Girls team scores

1. CVU 112

2. La Salle (R.I.) 155

3. Coe-Brown (N.H.) 167

4. Bishop Guertin (N.H.) 248

5. Barrington (R.I.) 250

6. Essex 273



25. South Burlington 579

26. Mount Mansfield 612

27. Harwood 620

28. St. Johnsbury 645