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“Race of Champions” - St. Mark’s Shines at New England All-Star Race in Southborough


St. Mark’s hosted the New England Prep School Track Association All-Star Race (the “Race of Champions”) for both boys and girls this past Saturday. The weather was perfect, and the course was in great shape. This race invites the top finishers from each of the four divisional championships and allows the “best of the best” to compete: these are the All-New England All-Stars for girls and boys in prep school competition.

In the girls' race, Claire Benning ’15, the SM MVP and both an All-ISL and All-New England runner, ran a personal best on the course and her best time this year finishing 13th out of 41 runners who are all in the top 20 in their divisions. She also defeated two girls who had beaten her last week at the New England's. With All-Star Benning returning next fall, along with a number of talented young runners, prospects look strong for the future of Girls’ Varsity Cross Country at St. Mark’s.

For the boys, after St. Mark’s historic season, capturing both the ISL and New England Division II Championships, the five St. Markers who qualified (captain Sean McLaughlin ’14, Liam Monheim ’16, captain Eric Danielsen ’14, Matthew Thalmann ’17, and Miles Foy ‘16) did not disappoint.

The race, which featured forty very fast runners, including four from Exeter’s excellent Division I Championship team, went off to a fast start. The SM runners came through the first mile in fine fashion, running a hard, but controlled, first mile. SM’s top pack continued to run well through Killer Hill and the back loop. Captain Sean McLaughlin, who had finished thirty seconds behind Roxbury Latin’s Joey Mullen on the SM Championship course two weeks ago, ran a masterful race and closed that gap to a mere two seconds. Sean finished third behind Joey and Phillips Academy’s Ian Whittall (who set a course record in 15:59). Sean’s excellent time of 16:06 is a new school record on this course. As a result, Sean now holds the course record for all three iterations of the SM cross-country course. Liam Monheim ’16 also broke the former St. Mark’s record on our course, finishing in a sizzling 16:21. Captain Eric Danielsen ’14 followed in tenth place overall in a time of16:47. Super Third Former Matt Thalmann finished next in a PR of 17:10 (Matt finished as the top freshman in the race). Finally, Miles Foy ‘16 came in nineteenth in a PR of 17:17. Despite the fact that 25 schools were represented at this race, St. Mark’s, one of the smaller schools competing, took three of the top ten spots and five of the top nineteen places. This is a remarkable feat.

This has been a tremendous season. The team won the ISL and New England Championships for an unprecedented second time in the last three years. It has been a joy to watch the SM harriers run: not only talented, but also a great group of young men. The Sixth Formers will be missed. However, with two Fourth Formers and one Third Former returning from this race, St. Mark’s should be a force on the trails again next season.