Unlike their fellow fall athletes, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School cross-country teams only get one chance a year to compete on home turf. Vineyard runners made the most of this Island advantage last Saturday at the fourth annual Vineyard Cross-Country Invitational — as evidenced by head coach Joe Schroeder’s happy exclamation upon seeing the results of the boys’ meet:

“Check it out, we’re number one!”

Despite Duxbury High School junior Jason Angell storming the course in the varsity boys’ race with a winning time of 16:03, the Vineyarders showed their considerable depth and skill by taking home the team victory. Freshman Jeremy Alley-Tarter placed highest for the team, finishing in eighth place (among 65 runners) with a time of 17:25, with senior Willy Nevin and sophomore Kyle Joba-Woodruff finishing 12th and 13th, respectively. All received individual medals for their efforts, turning in sub-6:00 mile splits and finishing in the top 15. Sophomores Cooper Chapman and Job Deforest, along with junior Max Miner, rounded out the varsity finishers.

“Every single person counts,” said Mr. Schroeder after the race, noting that boys took the win despite their regular number three runner, Mr. Schroeder’s son Michael, having to drop out with leg cramps.

Vineyard’s Megan Dreyer, 446, at the start of the varsity race. — Ivy Ashe

Coach Schroeder’s team-centric words were on display throughout the invitational, from the varsity boys cheering on their junior varsity counterparts with cries of “Push harder!” and “Don’t give up!” to the visiting Canton runners thanking the hosting Vineyarders before heading off to their busses.

Thirteen teams, over twice as many as last year’s showing, competed in the Invitational, with the Vineyarders, Canton, Barnstable, Falmouth, Sturgis Charter and Milton Academy fielding runners on both the boys’ and girls’ side. Duxbury, New Bedford, and Dur-fee competed only in the boys’ races, with Notre Dame Academy, Ursuline Academy, Sandwich and Cape Cod Academy sending girls’ teams.

Sam Oslyn
Medalist Sam Oslyn. — Ivy Ashe

The girls’ varsity squads took fourth place, with senior Megan Dreyer and junior Shivonne Schofield finishing back-to-back in the 10 and 11 spots. Ms. Dreyer had a time of 21:11, while Ms. Schofield finished in 21:26. Junior Eva Balboni, freshman Lily Neville, junior Maya Harcourt, freshman Sophie Ulyatte, and senior Hallie D’Angelo completed the varsity roster.

The depth of the Vineyard teams trickled down into the junior varsity races as well. Senior Michael Osborn took first in a field of 87 for the junior varsity boys with a time of 19:04, leading the Vineyarders to a second-place team finish. The girls’ side again took fourth in team standings. Junior Shelby Ferry placed first among Vineyarders in the girls’ junior varsity race, finishing ninth of 71.

Being at home for the race is “way better than [running] other courses,” said Ms. Ferry. “We know it so much better than everyone else.”

Paige Nitardy and Lily Morgan in the stands. — Ivy Ashe

The 3.1-mile cross-country course begins at the high school fields and winds through the state forest before looping back around to the start. The invitational was the first race of the season in which Vineyarders ran a full 5K; the first meet, at Mashpee, was held on a 2.9-mile course.

Michael Osborn wins the JV race. — Ivy Ashe

Many of the Vineyard races this season are, like the Mashpee race, one-on-one matchups. Competing in the multi-team invitational, said Mr. Schroeder, “helps us prepare for bigger meets.”

League competition began Wednesday, with a matchup against Bishop Stang. Both Vineyard teams again put up strong showings, with the boys winning 39-21 and the girls taking their meet 43-20.

The Vineyarders will next compete at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School on Tuesday.