Astro Harriers Make Sure PA Keeps the Mack Plaque

If Londonderry High School was going to remain in the running for the 2015 Mack Plaque title – and break Pinkerton Academy’s 13-year hold on that award – the Lancers’ cross-country teams were going to have to run tremendously well in their head-to-head battle with the host Astros in the Mack Plaque meet in Derry Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Pinkerton rolled into the four-team cross-country battle holding a 4-2 lead in the Mack Plaque games, so the Londonderry guys and girls both had to win their races and tie the team tally at 4-4 and force the competition to cheerleading and the state spirit championships later this fall.

The academy boy and girl harriers ended any Mack Plaque speculation by both winning their races with the Lancers, Exeter and Bishop Guertin quite handily to keep the Mack hardware in Derry.


Coach Amy Bernard’s Pinkerton Lady Astro Trailblazers tallied a tiny team score of 19 to easily defeat the visiting Lady Lancers (score of 42) as well as Exeter (88) and Guertin (101). And that success allowed the Astro bunch to close out its regular season with an 8-0 record.

Ariel Vaillancourt paced the Trailblazer effort by finishing first out of the talented field, impressing Bernard with her performance.

“Taking the overall win with a time of 19 minutes and 15 seconds, running a personal best on the home course was Ariel Vaillancourt,” said Bernard.

Londonderry had its youthful standout Kalin Gregoire finish second (19:23), but the academy side then snagged four huge, consecutive places by taking third through sixth, thanks to the work of Taylor Lacey (19:42), Morgan Sansing (19:43), Sara Muller (20:22), and Maison D’Amelio (20:22).

Londonderry veteran Madison McKivergan notched seventh place (20:28), but Pinkerton then snared the eighth and ninth places via the efforts of Veronica Sullivan (20:31) and Jordan Vaillancourt (20:31). The Lady Lancers tallied 10th place, thanks to Alex Seeley (20:35).


Anybody who has paid attention to Pinkerton Academy cross-country over the last 30 years will tell you that the sport is firmly entrenched in PA coach Mike Clark’s blood. Clark was particularly jazzed last week as he watched his Long Red Line contingent manhandle the visiting Londonderry High Lancer males to assure the Derry school of continued control of the Mack Plaque. And Clark’s excitement went beyond the Mack Plaque angle.

“It was a historic day on the Pinkerton Academy cross-country course,” said Clark. “For the first time on the storied course, five runners broke the 16-minute mark.”

The Pinkerton guys finished with a superb team score of 20 to easily defeat Londonderry (41) as well as Bishop Guertin (89) and Exeter (108).

Astro veteran Nico Sevilla paced the big, talented running crowd by finishing first overall in 15:26.

“Only Chris Pietrocarlo with a 15:24 in 2009 and Londonderry’s Joe Letourneau with a 15:21 in 1996 have run faster,” said Clark.

The Lancer’s Cam Dickson placed second with a 15:35, which is eighth on the all-time list of male runners on the PA course.

Pinkerton’s Noah Davis (15:44), Tom Hanlon (15:53), and Calvin Graves (15:58) snagged the third through fifth spots, and taking the sixth spot was Londonderry’s Jared Kane in 16:04.

The next three places were bagged by the Astros’ other top-seven level harriers, with Pat Bastek finishing seventh in 16:14, Sam Lanternier taking eighth place in 16:18, and Jon L’Abbe nabbing ninth with a 16:20.

Rounding out the top 10 was Londonderry’s Josh Wasserman with his line-crossing time of 16:21.

Pinkerton’s male and female harriers will all see action next on Oct. 17 at the prestigious, annual Catholic Memorial (Mass.) Invitational in Franklin Park in Boston.

The Pinkerton males – who are the defending Division I champions – and the determined Lady Astros are working toward more success at the state championships, which will be held in Manchester’s Derryfield Park on Halloween.