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X-C running revived at Dirigo
DIXFIELD -- The life of a long distance runner. That how Gunnar Bradbury felt when he revived cross country at Dirigo after the program had creased to exist.
Exactly three years later, the girls' team qualified for and ran in their first-ever state meet.
“When I came in and looked there was nothing,” said Bradbury. “I thought this is not right, there should be (active) program. so, I approached (former athletic director) Charlie Swan and he was receptive. We had to start as a club because the program had been dormant for more than two years.”
Bradbury approached some students and inquired if they would be interested in joining. His intentions were to not recruit student-athletes who were already committed to another sport. Still, there are currently several runners who are also competing in soccer.
There priority lies with the first sport, in case of conflict regarding scheduling.
The girls' team includes Natalie Bolduc, Silvia Lutick, Megan Bradbury, Jessica Conant, Amelia Tashency, Brittany Deroche and Slena Sawtelle.
Bolduc finished third in the MVC meet and a week later was leading the pack in the Western Regional. The Cougar junior eventually finished second to Megan Thomas of Lisbon, who relied on a finishing kick to complete the 5K, 3.1-mile Twin Brook course in 21:11 to 21:24. The first five runners earn points for their respective team and Dirigo was the lone MVC representative in the state meet.
The boys' team included Seth Tacheny, Eathan Canton, Sawyer Smith, Alex Snowman, Jason Baldinelli and Sam Rock.
“The Mountain Valley Conference coaches welcomed Dirigo back,” said Bradbury. “The more who wanted to compete the better, but a few older coaches thought about the past and remembered and paused.”
Dirigo indeed has a well-deserved reputation for their competitiveness (all Classes) in cross country. From 1991-93, the Cougars won every MVC, Regional and State meet. The standouts included twins, Roger and Richard Hemingway, Bradbury, Chris Redman, Jeff Conant and Sam Dunn. George Conant was the coach.
In 1992, the Cougars scored 28 of a possible 15 in the state meet. In cross-country, points are tabulated in reverse.
Bradbury credits the Cougars training techniques and dedication for the success.
The Cougars home course (located behind the district office on Nash Street) is 3.1 miles and features hilly terrain that tests the sheer fortitudes of runners.