3000-meter + 2nd in New Englands
The Homestretch Senior Long-Distance Runners Gear Up for a Spectacular Fall
Sam, Gabriel Amadeus Cooney; Ariel, Jean-Maurice Breton (aka, Dad)
by Bob York Their dog days of summer were logged on a stopwatch rather than crossed off on a calendar. Upon their return to Deerfield this fall, if the obligatory “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” essay was assigned, for both Sam Belcher ’11 and Ariel BeauregardBreton ’11 an appropriate title might be: “Last Chance to Finish First.” “Disappointment,” was the word Belcher used to describe the driving force behind getting his mojo on during the summer. Due to health issues, he didn’t run as well as anticipated at last fall’s New England Cross Country Championships, while Beauregard-Breton didn’t run at all. Belcher, who suffered a bout of bronchitis at the midseason mark and missed one meet and a week’s worth
of practices because of it, finished 12th at the New Englands; finishing in double figures wasn’t something in his game plan. Belcher, who resides in Old Deerfield and whose father coaches cross country at the Bement School, had finished 13th in this race as a freshman and seventh as a sophomore. So, winding up 12th was clearly heading in the wrong direction. Despite that southerly direction Belcher took in the final standings, Coach Steve Anderson considers his charge one of the best cross country runners to ever scamper across the Deerfield Academy campus. In fact, at this point in time, Anderson ranks Belcher third on his all-time list, behind Pat Bensen ’01 and Nick Blixt ’06. “I’d say Sam’s better than they were as juniors,” said Anderson, “but we’ll wait to see how things stack up after his senior year to take a final tally.” As for Beauregard Breton, who hails from Beaconsfield, Quebec, Canada, last fall would have marked her debut in this run for the roses, but an aggravated T-band—a muscle that runs from the hip to the knee—limited her to a cheerleading gig. Despite her absence from the race, and the last half of the season, Coach Dennis Cullinane felt confident
Beauregard-Breton would have done very well, possibly even won it, had she been able to compete. Cullinane described her as “one of the premier runners in New England.” Beauregard-Breton defeated last year’s silver medalist during the Canterbury Invitational. And she beat her easily. “Ariel even took a wrong turn during the race and still beat her,” said Cullinane. “It happened with about 150 yards remaining in the race . . . there was a slight turn in the trail and Ariel went left and the other girl went right. Fortunately, Ariel went only about 20 yards before she realized her mistake . . . turned around and raced to the finish line and still won handily.” “It was very disappointing,” said Beauregard-Breton of her injury and the fact that the only cure was complete rest. “The muscle that was causing the problem runs across the knee and it rubbed against it whenever I ran.” The injury kept her sidelined until February, “So, I had to start from scratch,” she said. But it didn’t take her long to make up for lost time. With plans on competing in the steeplechase at the Junior World Championships in July and hopes of attending either Boston University or Yale, she warmed up last
spring by winning the 3000-meter event at the New England Track and Field Championships. And in doing so, set a school record by breaking Molly Yazwinski’s ’99 mark in 10:37:78. Belcher showed no ill effects during the track championships, either. He finished second in his 3000-meter race and bested four runners who had beaten him in the cross country finale. “Everybody’s psyched . . . everybody’s back . . . on both the boys and girls teams,” said Belcher. “And best of all, we’re hosting the championships this fall. What more could you ask for?” “Staying healthy,” quipped Beauregard-Breton.
BeauregardBreton 3000-meter school record
along albany road
Ariel with her second–place medal in Steeplechase from the Canadian Junior Nationals.