Monthly Archives: July 2018

Ruben Sanca and Amanda Nurse win 10-mile Yankee Homecoming race

Amanda Nurse female champion

Ruben Sanca male champion

(Newburyport MA) Ruben Sanca and Amanda Nurse captured titles in the 59th Yankee Homecoming 10-mile race on Tuesday night.

Both titlists won by over a minute under warm but breezy conditions.  The race starts and ends at Newburyport High School.

The 10-mile race was interesting to watch in the early going because a 5K race with 1631 entrants started on the same route ten minutes earlier.

Despite the ten-minute head start, one mile into the race the best of the 10-milers started to overtake 5K stragglers.

I annually position myself one mile into the race on High Street near the Cushing Museum.  Trying to get an unobstructed picture of the leading 10-milers is always a challenge with runners from both races intermingling.

Dan O’Flynn leads at one mile and will win the 5K event

I did get a good look, however, at the leaders of the 5K race. Actually, I should say leader because Dan O’Flynn of Ipswich had a nice lead at one mile.

Ruben Sanca (1967) follows the motorcycle.

Amanda Nurse at the Cushing Museum

Winners in either the 5K or the 10-mile race are ALWAYS in/near the front after a mile.  That held true today for Dan O’Flynn, Ruben Sanca, and Amanda Nurse.

After I see the runners from both races at one mile, I walk back to Newburyport High School to catch the top runners in the 10K.

Two things I noticed about the ten mile race; one before the race and the other later when I checked the results.  First, the gap between finishers was large.  Ruben Sanca won by over a minute.  The gap between 3rd and 4th was 2 ½ minutes!  I can recall a race, that finished in the back, where three runners were all within sight battling for the win in the last fifteen yards.

Second was that there wasn’t a single top-ten repeater from last year in this year’s race.  How does that happen?  We’re talking a complete turnover in a race that pays money!

I hoped to chat with the men’s winner afterwards, but he had left.  At 6’2” I think I would have spotted him if he was anywhere nearby.

After seeing my one-mile pictures, I might have asked if he had brought a runner along to help him set a fast pace in the early going.  My picture of Ruben at one mile has a runner with him who never finished.  Maybe the other runner went out too fast?  Maybe he was a pace setter?

Amanda Nurse

I did track down Amanda Nurse, who was the women’s winner.  This was Amanda’s first time in the race.  She had been to Newburyport before but only to visit the waterfront.  She was treating the race as a training event as she prepares to run the Berlin Marathon in Europe in September.  I asked her how she won the race (27th overall): “I started out with one other woman and then I just found a pack of men that I was able to stay with.  I averaged something like 5:55 for the first half.  I started to feel a little tired when I hit that first hill (up from the Chain Bridge rotary).  I just stuck with it and started to separate from some people.  I ran on my own for the last three miles.”

I mentioned the turnover of runners in the 10-mile race.  One of the runners, Justin Freeman, who finished 7th, was the winner in the 2011 YH 10-miler that I covered.

There were 1631 starters in the 5K and it seems to draw a good collection of local runners.  I found three schools (Amesbury, Triton, Pentucket) with runners (Brian Abel, Colin Brennan, Peter Lopata, Will Coppola) near the front.

I did homework on some of the top finishers.

Ruben Sanca – from Cape Verde and is training for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, put into the UMass Lowell Hall of Fame in 2017, runs for Whirlaway.

Dan Vassallo – business consultant at Gravoc in Peabody, runs for Central Mass Striders.

Garrett Kenyon – ran at Creighton University.

Jason Reilly – from Rhode Island, 114th in Boston Marathon.

Jerry Lanning – went to Colorado State, runs for the Greater Boston Track Club.

Mark Hegarty – went to Springfield Cathedral and UMass Lowell, runs for Whirlaway.

Eric Mendoza – history teacher in Boston, went to Gonzaga, runs for the Greater Boston Track Club.

Jackie Solimine – 2nd woman in 10-mile, named UMass Lowell’s scholar/athlete of the year in 2017, finished with 3.88 GPA majoring in mechanical engineering, runs for Whirlaway.

McGrath Bissaillon – went to Providence, father coaches Amesbury track (?).

Chris Mahoney – went to UMass Amherst, is a biopharmaceutical scientist, runs for the Central Mass Striders.

Race Results

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Amanda Nurse nears the finish line

Ruben Sanca heads for the finish

Justin Freeman leads the way over several top-ten finishers at one mile in the 10-mile race

Jackie Solimine – 2nd female, 10 mile race

Caroline Turner – 3rd female 10 mile race

Brian Abel (2), Colin Brennan (224), Peter Lopata (1310), Will Coppola (2651)

Joe Rand, Steve Dowsett, Eric Salvo 5K runners

Dan O’Flynn

Heather Page finishes the 5K



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Filed under Newburyport, Yankee Homecoming

Michael Chavis homer gets Sea Dogs past New Hampshire 5-4

Michael Chavis is back with the Sea Dogs and tonight his 2-run homer was crucial in the Portland win over New Hampshire.

Michael Chavis has a determined look.

(Portland ME)  He’s baaack!

Michael Chavis, that is.

Boston’s #1 prospect stroked the big hit (2-run homer) leading the Portland Sea Dogs to a 5-4 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on a beautiful Thursday night of Eastern League baseball.

Michael has been away from the Red Sox for 80 games after testing positive to a banned substance.  But now he’s back where he left off with the Sea Dogs.

I took a few pictures of Michael tonight and, believe me, he had the look of someone with a chip on his shoulder.

What a segue!  The featured entertainment was the Axe Women.  They had me nervous when they started throwing axes at targets!  What could go wrong?  They also had some chain saws going which kept the Hadlock grounds crew busy clearing the wood chips off the playing surface.

Chips were flying

Good crowd watched this one.  Beautiful weather and the start of the second half of the Eastern League season.

I have been following tonight’s opponent (New Hampshire Fisher Cats) since I realized in early April that they had two of minor league’s best prospects (Vladi Guerrero Jr and Bo Bichette) on their roster.

I saw Vladi’s last active game with the FC’s on June 6th.  He left that game with what looked like a minor leg injury.  Hasn’t played for them since.  Today I found out that he’s rehabbing in Florida and will play a few games in the Gulf Coast League.  His likely future destination is AAA Buffalo but maybe he’ll play for New Hampshire on the way there.

That still leaves Bo Bichette playing regularly for the Fisher Cats.  The NH shortstop reminds me of Mookie Betts because he has power, but he also can steal bases.

Bo also never gets cheated when he bats.  In that area, Bo has the Dustin Pedroia approach to swinging.

Dalton Pompey and Jantzen Witte

The Fisher Cats lost CF/leadoff batter Jonathan Davis recently via a promotion to Buffalo.  The Cats had Dalton Pompey in the leadoff spot tonight.  Dalton reached the majors and now is trying to get back there.

Another of the Toronto prospects (Harold Ramirez) is now batting cleanup for NH.  He has a very solid .310 batting average going for him.

Catcher Max Pentecost is yet another prospect playing in Manchester (NH).  Tonight, Max gave the Fisher Cats an early lead with a 3-run homer.

Cavan Biggio had an rbi

Another NH player, Cavan Biggio, who wasn’t even a Top Thirty Toronto prospect at the start of the season, is now in that category.  Cavan has recently switched from 2B to 3B.  He has turned into a power hitter.  Tonight, he drove in a run.

Boston’s #12 prospect (Josh Ockimey) pinch hit late in the game.

Surprised that there weren’t any other photographers at this one.

The 7PM start had part of the field in sun with the rest of it in shade.  Makes picture-taking a challenge.  The shade started on the NH side, so I started there.  When the field was all shade, I moved over to the Portland side.  I ended up with a pretty good look at some infield plays.

When possible, I will cheer on Slugger as he tries to end his lifelong losing streak racing youngsters.  Tonight was different.  I was stunned when Slugger took off while his very young opponent was getting instructions.  That’s just not fair and it troubled me.  And the opponent needed all the help he could get.  He was set to follow Slugger, when he was supposed to be going in the opposite direction!  But despite the big lead, Slugger got what he deserved for cheating.  The big guy was ten yards from that elusive first win when the belly whoppers kicked in.  I don’t know what Slugger dined on pre-race, but it certainly didn’t settle well.  He ended up bent over and I thought that the cleanup crew would be getting a call.  Fortunately, he didn’t leave any memories but he did keel over on his back to protect his upset stomach.  Meanwhile, the opponent trotted happily across home plate.  Yet another devastating setback for Slugger.  In previous losses I have questioned his training methods.  It may be time to check his eating habits too.

Sea Dogs President Charlie Eshbach was in the house.

Thanks to media connection Chris Cameron for arranging my visit.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Dan Mars

Cavan Biggio

Tossing an axe at a target

Sea Dogs dugout and crowd

Bo Bichette sets up for a big swing

Michael Chavis

Jeremy Rivera takes third

Bo Bichette

Max Pentecost had a 3-run homer

2B Nick Lovullo dives for a grounder

Harold Ramirez

Cavan Biggio signs

Pitcher Adam Lau was signing before the game





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Filed under New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland Sea Dogs

Dom Sclafani and Carissa Winning breeze in Harrison 5K Run by the Lake

Carissa Winning tops women

Dom Sclafani wins race

(Harrison ME) “Back so soon?”

That’s what someone asked as Dom Sclafani came over the hill past the Harrison boat landing.

But he was back, and it was “soon.”

Dom finished the Harrison 5K Run by the Lake in 16:26 to win for the second straight year.

The recent graduate from Oxford Hills started fast and never let up.  His margin over Oxford Hills’ junior Noah Currier was over 2 ½ minutes.

I asked Dom afterwards about running a race with no challengers.  “I run for fun.  I keep track of how I’m doing in my head.”

Dom will be attending Wheaton College (Norton MA) in the fall.  “I plan to major in Bio/Chem,” he told me.  “Running had nothing to do with my going there but the cross-country coach at Wheaton wants me to run so I probably will.”

Dom (in orange) wastes little time separating from the rest of the runners

Carissa Winning of Norway (ME) ended up 8th overall and dominated the women’s division.  Carissa came across at the post-office finish two minutes and forty-three seconds ahead of the next woman, Carrie Bush.

Nice night for running.  The 7PM starting time makes plenty of sense temperature wise.

The number of runners was well below what it has been in the past.  Reason?  The race is run on Wednesday’s and this year the 4th was a Wednesday.  Usually the race is the night before Old Home Days starts but the 4th had the Bridgton race going.  It just didn’t work out.

The Bommer family took part – Amelia, Arno, Alyssa

This race is more of a family event anyhow.  Most of the spectators know the runners and there are plenty of smiles to be seen.

I asked Dom where his interest in running came from: “I started running toward the end of 8th grade.  I began to take it seriously during my junior year of cross-country at Oxford Hills.”

Dom’s running certainly has improved.  He ran over a minute faster this year.  He also keeps inching up the list of finishers in the prestigious Bridgton 4 on the 4th taking 8th last week.  “I was about 10-20 seconds out of 7th.  I will keep working and see if I can do better.”

I was impressed with the Back 40 stat service which covered this race.  Generally, with previous Harrison 5K’s the results aren’t posted online until the day after the race.  Tonight the results were already online when I left the awards ceremony.  That’s service!  However, the Back 40’s speediness does pressure me to get my coverage posted since I have no excuse to wait until tomorrow to do it.

Race results

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Noah Currier 2nd

Erik Martin 3rd

Lokesh Kumar Meena 4th

Devyn Hatch 5th

Kyle Spangler 6th

Arno Bommer 7th

Last hill – Ashley Mayhan and Brailey Sands

Lilli Ackers and Kim Spangler

Dom comes over the hill past the town wharf

Back 40




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Filed under Harrison, Harrison 5K Run by the Lake, Harrison Old Home Days