New England races ahead for triumphant CVU harriers (11/5/09)

Nov. 5, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Back on the state’s cross country throne after a one-year displacement, the Champlain Valley Union High girls cross country team has a warm-up competition Saturday in Swanton prior to the New Englands next weekend.

And Saturday will be an opportunity for the boys team’s Zach Pete to extend his recent run of victories, which was highlighted by a triumph Saturday for the Vermont Division 1 individual title.

If the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who once popularized the slogan, they “always get their man,” are recruiting in the United States these days, they might be looking at Pete.

The CVU runner caught David Sinclair of Green Mountain Valley School at the very end of the Division 1 boys 5-kilometer event at Thetford on Saturday to capture the title.

In what was hailed as the closest finish in some 19 years, Pete won by a shoulder at the line.

“If I can’t get in front of him during the race, I’ll get him at the end,” Pete told the media after the event, in which he did get his man — and the crown.

The winning time was 17 minutes, 44 seconds.

CVU teammate Justin McKenzie took fifth (18:29) as the team finished fourth behind winning Mount Mansfield Union, Essex High and St. Johnsbury Academy.

The girls team’s return to the team title was highlighted by a balanced effort led by Summer Spillane’s fifth place finish.

Adrienne Devita took 11th, freshman Aleksey Jordick 15th and Julienne Devita 16th.

In post-race comments to the media, CVU coach Scott Bliss praised the work of Rachel Cross (22nd) and sisters Laura and Annie Jackson (24th and 25th).

“They came in right together … and that was the difference,” Bliss said.

CVU finished with 69 points in the team totals, followed by Stratton Mountain with 78 and defending champion Essex High at 102 in the 12-school competition.