WEST NEWBURY — Alanna Poretta didn’t have the best of cross-country seasons this fall as a junior at Boston College.
But, the way she ran Saturday morning at the Pentucket Pride 5K Road Race, you’d never know it.
Despite running very little over the last few weeks as she recovered from a sprained hip that limited her season, Poretta breezed to first place in the women’s division in a course-record time of 18:29, more than a minute ahead of runner-up Kelly Lecours of Haverhill.
“I’m pretty happy because I’ve taken some time off and I wasn’t sure how well I’d do,” said Poretta. “I’ve been doing a lot of swimming to keep up my conditioning and it’s worked out.”
Ordinarily, Poretta might not have competed Saturday, but the Pentucket Pride race is special.
“It definitely hits close to home and it’s fun to come back here.” said Poretta. “We ran this course on pre-race days.”
With the confidence of yesterday’s performance behind her, Poretta is excited about preparing for the indoor track season, during which she’ll be competing in either the 3,000 or 5,000.
St. John’s duel
In the men’s race, St. John’s Prep juniors Liam Dow and Scott Atwood, both of West Newbury, battled for first, with Dow surging for the win in 17:21, four seconds ahead of Atwood.
Dow was the No. 1 runner this fall for the Prep, which finished fourth at the Division 1 All-State meet, and he was confident about his chances yesterday.
“I ran really well in cross-country this year, so I had a pretty good idea I might win,” said Dow, who finished third two years ago in 18:17. “It was kind of nice to come back here and see old friends.”
Both Dow and Atwood, who was 12th last year, ran on the Pentucket Pride course as middle schoolers at Pentucket, so they were familiar with it.
For both, it was a great way to cap the cross-country season.
”We were really happy with how we (St. John’s) did at All-State,” said Dow. “We were aiming for the top 10, so finishing fourth was great. We’ll go for first next year.”
RACE NOTES: There were about 300 finishers Saturday, a number swelled by the demise of the Andover 6K cross-country race, which is traditionally also held on the last Saturday of November. Race director Dave LaBrode hopes to revive the Andover race next year. ...
Former Methuen resident Dan Dodson, despite battling bronchitis, ran in his 100th race of the year, along with 88-year-old Lou Peters of Methuen, who ran in the Feaster Five just three days earlier. ...
There was a strong representation of the Bradford Huskies at yesterday’s race. ...
Leslie Behan, the wife of Timberlane coach Mark Behan, ran a strong race and was a likely age group winner.
A malfunction of the timing services kept final results from being computed other than for the top three finishers. But the race was so well run, most runners didn’t seem to mind.
Pentucket Pride leaders
1. Liam Dow, West Newbury, 17:21
2. Scott Atwood, West Newbury, 17:25
3. Larry Fowle, Amesbury, 17:45
1. Alanna Poretta, West Newbury, 18:29
2. Kelly Lecours, Haverhill, 19:46
3. Casey Hill, Groveland, 20:39