WATERTOWN – Senior Maegan Desmarais knew what she was running for Monday in the Berkshire League Cross Country Championships at Black Rock State Park – a little Thomaston running immortality.
On a bright, crisp afternoon, Desmarais ran her way to the top of the Golden Bears’ running book by becoming the first runner in school history to win three straight Berkshire League titles. No small feat in itself but when you look at the program’s running pedigree, a monumental achievement.
To make the day even brighter, Thomaston also won the team title, its second straight and ninth in program history.
The Bears have thrown some pretty fast feet out there over the years. Sabrina Olsen won BL titles in 2012 and 2013 and added a Class S crown to her resume. Cam Chaplen was a state champion. Sammi Brier won BL titles in 2014 and 2015. Make room folks. On the BL level nobody has done it better than Desmarais.
“They might have been better runners but this is really cool to think I get to be the first one to (win three times),” said Desmarais with a victorious grin. “This has been on my mind the whole season. It’s pretty great.”
Long-time head coach Mark Olsen thought so to. And that `better’ thing? Maybe not.
“This says she is another Thomaston cross country legend,” beamed Olsen. “We’re building quite a list and she’s right there. “
Desmarais had to work for this one and outlast two runners who had beaten her during the regular season. . Housatonic’s Charlotte Clulow and Terryville’s Katie Deforest kept pace the entire race and winning margin over both was narrow. Desmarais finished in 20:35.5 followed by Clulow (20:34.8) and Deforest (20:35.8).
Turning on the final stretch, Clulow was right with Desmarais.
“I was close, but I couldn’t any closer,” said Clulow. “We pretty much ran in a pack of three the whole race. I led the first part and was third in the second and third parts. Maeghan is an amazing runner. “
“I wasn’t in as good shape earlier in the season,” explained Desmarais. “It was more difficult to get motivated because of everything with all that was going on and there were no invitational meets to get better. At the end I think I just had a better kick.”
“You saw how tough Meg is at the end,” added Olsen. “She just comes in and beats people.
While Desmarais was punctuating her spot on the Mount Rushmore of Thomaston girl runners, her band of Bear teammates were doing their part in grand style. The Bears took four of the top eight spots with Kiersten Sundell finishing fifth (21:39.3), Payton Mozelak placing seventh (22:05.3) and Kiera Fainer coming in eighth (22:06.1).
More than enough to outdistance second place Shepaug, 18-46, and third place Litchfield (48).
“We run well, these girls are comfortable with one another,” said Olsen. “Every one of these girls is a trooper. They came in and took care of business. I can’t tell you how much fun this team has been to work with. If one girl doesn’t run, we don’t win.”
The Bears were undefeated during the dual meet season and become the second undefeated Thomaston team to win a title this fall, joining the field hockey team.
What kind of day was it? It was a Maegan Desmarais day. Again. It was a Golden Bear day. Again. It was great day for the Brown and Gold. Again. The Thomaston running express keeps on rolling. Again.