PORTSMOUTH — The Portsmouth High boys’ cross-country team achieved its best finish in the state championship meet since 2001 on Saturday when it came in eighth place at Ponaganset …
PORTSMOUTH — The Portsmouth High boys’ cross-country team achieved its best finish in the state championship meet since 2001 on Saturday when it came in eighth place at Ponaganset High School.
Sean Gray finished in fourth place overall in the 5K run — the best-ever individual performance by a PHS boy — and was the fastest sophomore on Saturday.
(Michael Lynch finished ninth in 2006 and Kaden Kluth came in eighth in 2021. They are the only other PHS athletes to crack the top 10 at the state meet.)
Gray said his plan was to go out with the lead pack and pass runners on the final few hills. “It paid off, helping me to go from about sixth or seventh to third by the last turn,” he said. “I’m so happy with how the race ended up going, and I was surprised to see (Barrington High’s) Brandon Piedade up at the front at about half way. The race didn’t go as I expected with the front pack going through the mile in 4:42, but I ended up leading a pack of people through the mile at 4:49, which was faster than I wanted but all worked out. I ended up doing what I wanted and passing people through the last mile.”
Gray said he was excited to finish in fourth place overall in just his first season. “This is one of our best seasons ever and I’m excited to try to make it our best next year. My goals at the start of this season were to make a name for myself, run under 15:50, and be first team All-State, and all these goal were meet,” he said.
Gray qualified for Saturday’s New England Championships, where he hopes to place in the top 15 or 20, and he’ll also compete in the Nike Cross Country Regionals. He’ll compete in the 1,500 and 3,000 meters during the indoor track season and hopes to run in a championship race at the New Balance Nationals.
Here’s how all the PHS boys placed on Saturday, along with their times:
• Sean Gray, 4th, 15:51.64
• Chris Vachon, 44th, 17:28.20
• Scott Evan Pakenahm, 60th, 17:46.20
• Drew Forch, 78th, 18:15.07
• Jack Marston, 86th, 18:23.63
• Caiden McHal, 108th, 18:56.77
• Gavin Brama, 124t, 19:35.84
Girls also take eighth
The girls’ team also came in eighth place, with Allie Kaull leading the pack by coming in 14th place overall.
“I really just wanted to qualify for New Englands. I haven’t been able to race or train very well the past few weeks due to having mono, so I just wanted to go in and give it my best shot and I tried my best and that was all I could do,” Kaull said after the race.
Although the end of the season didn’t go as planned, Kaull said she was pleased with her accomplishments as she didn’t have many expectations for her first season. “I feel that I have a long ways to go but I laid down a strong foundation for the rest of my cross-country career and the track seasons coming up,” she said.
Looking forward to the New Englands this weekend, Kaull said he’s grateful to have a few more opportunities to compete and hopes to set a personal record. “I also plan to go to Nike Regionals in New York at the end of November, so that will be a really cool and new experience for me to get out and compete on a larger scale. I’m really excited for what the rest of this season holds and the next two track seasons as well,” she said.
Here’s how all the girls did:
• Allie Kaull, 16th, 19:41.89
• Eleni Drosinos, 40th, 20:52.97
• Hanalei Streuli, 66th, 21:36.94
• Mairin Cooney, 86th, 22:34.51
• Addie Dalton, 90th, 22:43.33
• Mae Marston, 93rd, 22:55.21
• Kyra Siebens, 100th, 23:23.43