Taking the Challenge

Kennett High senior captain Sierra Abrams sprints to the finish line during the annual Kennett High Challenge two-mile race in the fields at Kennett Middle School of Tuesday evening. Abrams (right) finished 11th overall followed by Suz Laughland of the White Mountain Milers and fellow KHS captain Madelyn Marcotte. The meet brought together runners from Kennett High, Fryeburg Academy and the White Mountain Milers. (JAMIE GEMMITI PHOTO)

CONWAY — Bragging rights go to the White Mountain Milers, who took team honors for the women and men in the annual Kennett Challenge Race on Tuesday in the fields at the Kennett Middle School. The fun two-mile race pitted the silverbacks (the White Mountain Milers) against the young whippersnappers (Kennett High and Fryeburg Academy cross-country teams).

It gave coaches Bernie Livingston of Kennett and Bill Reilly of Fryeburg an opportunity to get athletes a final preseason tuneup in a relaxed racing atmosphere.

“It was a perfect night for it,” Livingston said. “The White Mountain Milers ran well. They had a couple of strong teams.”

New Miler Corey Dowe, a former standout at Coe-Brown Northwood Academy in cross-country and track and field and now the new health teacher at Kennett Middle School, broke the women’s course record, taking first in 11:29.

The previous record was set by then Fryeburg Academy senior Emily Carty in 2017 with a time of 11:59.

Last year’s Kennett Challenge was posted due to the extreme heat.

There were 32 female finishers.

The Milers took team honors for the women with 21 points, followed by Kennett, 46, and Fryeburg, 64.

Leslie O’Dell of the Milers was second overall in 12:26, followed by Kennett’s Amy Burton, third, 13:35; Miler Terry Ballou, fourth, 13:27; and Fryeburg’s Alanna Nataluk, fifth, 13:38.

Other Kennett finishers were Kaylee McLellan, ninth, 14:35; Grace Perley, 10th, 14:35; Sierra Abrams, 11th, 14:53; Madelyn Marcotte, 13th, 14:54; Grace Jarrell, 14th, 14:55; Maura Taylor, 16th, 15:36; Olivia Scribner, 17th, 16:11; Shannon Derby, 20th, 17:33; Sierra Parsons, 21st, 17:49; Abby Desmarais, 22nd, 17:58; Sophie Stimpson, 23rd, 18:19; Dylan Derby, 24th, 18:33; Lauren Violette, 25th, 18:39; Mya Gove, 26th, 18:55; and Taylor Garland, 27th, 19:07.

For the men, Tristan Williams of the Milers took top individual honors in 10:39.

Kennett’s Chris Desmarais was second in 10:49, while Miler Tim Livingston, coach of the Kennett Middle School cross-country team, “went over to the dark side” to run for the Milers and place third in 10:54, according to his dad, Coach Livingston.

Liam Friberg and Jacques Dupuis were Fryeburg’s top finishers, placing seventh and eighth, respectively, in an identical time of 11:58.

The Milers took team honors with 26 points, followed by Kennett, 40, and Fryeburg, 60.

Keith Badger was Kennett’s next finisher, placing fifth in the field of 35 runners in 11:30. He was followed by Ben Klementovich, ninth, 12:07; Ben Biche, 11th, 12:20; Logan Violette, 12:36; Gavin Hunt, 14th, 12:36; Tristan Smith, 15th, 12:36; Boone Mixer-Bailey, 17th, 13:04; Dominic Perry, 18th, 13:11; Caleb White, 23rd, 15:30; Adam Schmidt, 27th, 16:23; Eli Schor, 33rd, 19:53; Devon Hamlin, 34th, 20:14; and Cody Hamlin, 35th, 20:30.

Shor managed to finish the race even after being stung four times by bees out on the course.

“The bees were our lone occupational hazard,” said Livingston.

The Milers provided Subway subs while the Eagles brought the desserts.

“It went really well,” Livingston said. “We had a good time, and the White Mountain Milers were fantastic.”

He added: “We had enough food for everyone to have seconds.”

Livingston said the Challenge is a good build-up to the start of the regular season. It always occurs the second week of preseason.

“What I like,” he said, “it’s a precursor to the regular season, but I also like that our younger kids can see what older folks can do and that running can be a lifelong sport.”

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