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Canterbury Teams Earn Top Spots in 48th Annual Cross Country Invitational

Kelly Slonaker

Canterbury hosted the 48th Annual Cross Country Invitational on Saturday, September 25, after canceling last year’s event due to the pandemic. With over 30 schools in attendance, the day began with registration and observation of the 5k course before the first race started at 12:00 p.m. Thankfully, a drop in temperature from earlier in the week provided a perfect, crisp morning and warm afternoon in the low 70s for competitors. Though the week’s rain left the course a bit soggy in places, the runners enjoyed the beautiful and challenging terrain.

Each school’s teams were placed in a division depending upon the school size, with large schools in Division I and small schools—including Canterbury—in Division II. The Girls’ Division I runners kicked off the races at 12:00 p.m., followed by the Girls’ Division II race at 12:30 p.m., Boys’ Division I race at 1:00 p.m., and Boys’ Division II race at 1:30 p.m. Over 400 runners competed in the day's events.

The Girls’ Cross Country Team placed second overall in their division, with Chloe Carroll ’25 (20:44) finishing second in the race out of 77 competitors, Virginia Zapletal ’24 (21:07) placing fourth, Maya Lileika ’25 (24:06) in 18th, Lisa Weng ’23 (24:58) in 27th, Eva Berkovich ’24 (25:29) in 33rd , Juliana Loesche ’25 (25:30) in 34th, and Katelynn Pizzano ’22 (28:34) in 58th.

The Canterbury Boys’ team also finished second overall in their race among 13 other Division II schools. Ryan Oemcke ’24 (18:08) led the team with his seventh place finish out of 91 competitors, followed by Thomas Prendergast ’23 (18:32) in 10th, Bradley Bozzuto ’25 (19:18) in 16th, Cullen Mulhern ’22 (19:19) in 17th, Tommy Lapham ’23 (20:30) in 38th, Hanyan Cai ’22 (20:57) in 43rd, and Logan Sanford ’22 (21:32) in 48th.

Girls’ Cross Country coaches Tracy Garcia-LaVigne and Matt Biggart, and Boys’ Cross Country coaches Charlie Gaetjens and Pres Hagen have spent their fall season preparing their runners for the race as well as organizing the widely-attended event, aided by Paddy McCarthy, Associate Director of Athletics. 

The Canterbury Invitational has been an annual tradition since 1972 when Prep Schools across New England and the Mid-Atlantic were invited to bring their Boys’ Cross Country teams to the School to race 2.7 miles across our hilltop. Girls’ teams were invited to join in 1978, but it was not until 2002 that the race was increased to 3.1 miles as a true 5K.

Congrats to all our competitors and organizers for a fantastic event!

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