Finally home

Essex Invitational a success on new trail

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By ANTHONY LABOR
The Essex Reporter
Essex’s Emma Farrington runs along the new course at the Essex Tree Farm during the Essex Invitational on Saturday. Farrington went up to win the varsity girls race. | Photo Contributed

Essex’s Emma Farrington runs along the new course at the Essex Tree Farm during the Essex Invitational on Saturday. Farrington went up to win the varsity girls race. | Photo Contributed

The Essex cross country team returned to a home course for the first time in a number of years last Saturday when it hosted the Essex Invitational at the Essex Tree Farm.

And the Hornets looked right at home.

Both the Essex boys and girls teams finished second in their meets out of over 20 teams and hundreds of athletes.

“It felt so good to be on our own course,” said Essex coach Eric Langevin. “You could tell we felt comfortable because we knew every stone and every root on the course, which felt good to watch happen.”

The boys team finished in second with 67 points behind South Burlington, who finished with 43. All divisions raced at the same time during the two races on the day. Andrey Chmykh led the boys team, as he finished second out of the Division I runners with a time of 16:58.

Matt Davis crossed the finish line sixth with a time of 17:16 followed by Peter Feehan in ninth with a time of 17:35. Sully Martin finished 15th with a time of 17:53 and Eric Scharf 16th with 17:58.

“We expected to run as well as we did,” said Langevin. “I don’t think they realize just how good they are. We are definitely a strong team that is in contention this year.”

The Essex girls team finished with 53 points, which fell just short of first-place CVU’s 51. Emma Farrington crossed the finish line first with a time of 19:37 to lead the Hornets.

Rose Monahan finished the race fourth with a time of 20:33 followed by Charlotte Murphy on her heels in the fifth spot with a time of 20:40. Jenna Agrada (21:53), Abby Trombley (21:58) and Jenna Emery finished back-to-back-to-back for Essex in 17th, 18th and 19th.

It was a long time coming for the Hornets, who hadn’t had an actual home meet in a number of years.

Essex’s Andrey Chmykh runs during the Essex Invitational on Saturday. The senior finished second among the Division I runners. | Photo Contributed

Essex’s Andrey Chmykh runs during the Essex Invitational on Saturday. The senior finished second among the Division I runners. | Photo Contributed

After years of negotiating with a number of people and getting everything set up, Langevin finally oversaw the construction of the new trail.

“When the runners first came out of the woods at 1K and I saw them, it was at that point I looked around and saw so many people cheering and happy,” said Langevin. “It truly made me happy and made all the work worth it.”

Even with the chances of storms on Saturday, a number of spectators showed up to the event to cheer on their home team.

The course itself was well received from everyone involved from the spectators to the actual athletes.

“I heard all positives from the kids and coaches that the course was fast, but had plenty of challenging moments,” said Langevin. “Coaches and parents loved that the course is so spectator friendly where you can sit in one spot and see the runners three or four times.”

With a new course both Essex teams will look to keep up the success they saw on Saturday throughout the year.

They will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to the Burlington Invitational.