CANTON — Led by a dominant showing from sophomore Maddie Dinneen, the Norwood-Norfolk girls and boys cross country teams picked up wins over Malone and Canton in a key Northern Athletic Conference double-dual meet Tuesday at Canton High School.
Dinneen won the girls race by more than two minutes, finishing the 5-kilometer course in 18 minutes, 34 seconds. Canton’s Arianna Whittaker was second in 20:57 and Norwood-Norfolk’s Sharon Colbert was third in 21:14.
The Flyer girls moved to 6-0 and are now the only undefeated NAC girls team with a 23-35 win over Canton and a 21-36 win over Malone (3-4). Canton (6-1) edged the Huskies, 27-28.
The boys teams entered the event with a combined 13-1 record but like the girls, Norwood-Norfolk (6-0) is now the only unbeaten team remaining in the NAC after beating Canton 26-35 and Malone 22-37. The Huskies added a 26-34 win over Canton (5-2).
Dylan Perry led Malone (5-2) with a convincing win in 17:12. Canton’s Robert Reed was second in 18:05 followed by teammate Nick Lyndaker a second behind.
Dinneen has been a standout for Norwood-Norfolk since she was in the eighth grade and is coming off a successful freshman season, highlighted by winning medals at the state outdoor track and field meet last spring in the 800 meters and 1,500.
“It’s exciting because we’ve been winning so we come into the meet every time to keep our spot,” Dinneen said. “It’s different (this year), coming into race day. Last year I knew I had people around me, which made me more nervous. This year I feel more relaxed but also focused, because I can’t take my competition for granted. I’m more focusing on myself this year than running a race to win and more my personal times this year, with me and my watch, if you can see me running with it. I’m just trying to improve my times.
“Last year I ran a (19 minutes, 36 seconds) and this year I ran an 18:35. A minute is a lot right now. I’m just looking at trying to compete at states. I want to get top five (at states), but I’m also thinking the championship, No. 1 is not that far away. In my mind I want to win states so bad. I have three years. That’s my end goal, to win states. I’m just taking baby steps to get there.”
Norwood-Norfolk’s boys don’t have a runner who can be counted on to win every race, but they do have depth and swept the boys races by finishing fourth through seventh overall, led by a fourth-place showing from Laeton Colbert.
“We had a great day today,” Flyers coach Kent Fetter said. “The boys team, it looks like they beat Malone, which they had not beaten in 10 years, so that’s a nice thing right there. Canton at Malone have tough runners, so I’m very proud of them. I’m fortunate enough to have these boys to work with.”
Perry was one of Section 10’s top runners a year ago, but was behind graduated OFA runner Nate McNally. This year, he’s the one setting the pace.
“I usually run for improvement,” Perry said. “I am hoping people just follow me and get better with me. I just started timing myself just today to see how that went. It’s been pretty good.”
Said Huskies coach Matt Tessier, “We are improved from the beginning of the season, and I just see us fairing better and better as the season progresses. The other two teams were undefeated, so for them it was a determination to see who was going to be second best. We beat Canton today, which means we will end up with a three-team tie (for second), if Canton beats Potsdam. It’s a good season for Norwood.”