By Lloyd Jones
CONWAY — The local running community took a moment of silence to pay respects to triathlete Jim Soroka, who died in a cycling accident on Saturday, prior to the start of the 26th annual Kennett Challenge on Wednesday on the Kennett Middle School's scenic two-mile course.
"It was the right thing to do," said Bernie Livingston, head cross-country coach at Kennett High. "We did the moment of silence and then Tim (Livingston, head cross-country coach at Kennett Middle School), spoke a little about Jim. Jacques Couture, the (Kennett High girls' varsity) tennis coach, wore a straw hat as a tribute to Jim."
Livingston said he had just corresponded with Soroka on Friday night.
"I'd emailed Jim and six or seven others about helping out at an upcoming cross-country meet," he said. "That night, I got a reply from him, saying I'll be there. It's something I'm going to hold onto. He was a great guy, a great competitor and so inspiring."
At Wednesday's meet, the Kennett girls scored 25 points to take team honors followed stateline neighbor Fryeburg Academy, 51; and the White Mountain Milers, 55.
The White Mountain Milers scored 26 points to top the Kennett High and Fryeburg Academy boys, who were second and third, respectively, with 36 and 75 points.
There were 43 women and girls and 53 men and boys in the meet.
Emily Carty of Fyeburg Academy won the race for the women and girls, breaking former teammate Anna Lastra's 2015 course record by two seconds in 12:28.
Terry Livingston Ballou of the White Mountain Milers was second overall, with the former Eagle finishing in 12:35.
"At 47, Terry would have been our fastest finisher," Livingston said of his daughter who ran cross-country and track for Kennett while in high school.
Riley Steward, a junior, was the top finisher for the Kennett girls, placing third overall in 13:11.
She was followed by teammates Zoe McKinney, fourth overall, 13:12; Melissa Brown, 13:33; Kim Bowles, 13:35; Chole Van Dyne, 13:50; Taylor Petell, 14:26; and Kaitlyn Fay, 14:30.
"We were missing Elidih McKinnon and Jordanna Belle-Isle, but the girls averaged 25 seconds per person faster than last year," Livingston said.
Madison's Jim Johnson led a Milers' sweep of the podium taking first in 10:18, followed by Tim Livingston, 10:19, and Patrick Carty, 10:45.
"The Milers were stacked," Livingston said, laughing.
Nick Whitley was the top Kennett finisher, placing fourth overall, in 10:54. He was followed by teammates Darren Piotrow, 11:16; Colby Livingston, 11:36; Caleb Esmay, 11:40; Aidan Hagerty, 11:43; Chris Desmarais, 11:53; Jonathan Caputo, 11:56; and Logan Hagerty, 11:58.
"Our boys were about six seconds faster than they were last year," Livingston.
Livingston said he likes the Kennett Challenge as the first test for his troops.
"It's a good chance to experience race situations before we do a race," he said. "It's an opportunity to do a warmup, make sure that you're eating properly in a timely fashion before a race and wind down afterwards."
Following post-race awards, the athletes were treated to Subway sandwiches, courtesy of the White Mountain Milers.
- Category: High School