The 5th annual Border Clash cross country race had a ton of talent on display and two course records were set at Haverhill’s 12-year-old, 1.4-mile Winnekenni Park course.

Brock James of Salem’s Woodbury Middle School won in 7:42, shading the mark held by Jack Determan of North Andover Middle School (7:45 in 2017).

Lauren Downer of Sacred Hearts in Bradford ran an 8:35, beating the record set by Haverhill High’s talented freshman Finleigh Simonds (9:14 in 2018).

There were 118 boy finishers and 100 girl finishers.

Both James and Downer have athletic pedigrees. And both are just seventh graders!

Brock’s dad, Bill James, was the successful Methuen cross country coach and has been the Rangers’ wrestling coach for the last 18 years with a flashy 346-68-2 record. His sister, Erica James, is a standout at Salem High.

Lauren’s father, Ted Downer, was a three-sport Hillie athlete in the early ‘80s.

Big tip of the cap to Haverhill High coach Mike Maguire and his cross country teams who put in a lot of hours to run the top-flight meet.

Here are the other top-5 finishers:

BOYS: 2. Luke McGillivray, North Andover, 7:49; 3. TJ Lynch, North Andover, 8:18; 4. Ty Lescord, Hunking, 8:23; 5. Aiden Siwicki, North Andover, 8:23

GIRLS: 2. Gabby Harty, North Andover, 8:51; 3. Rose Gordon, North Andover, 8:52; 4. Luna Prochazkova, North Andover, 8:53; 5. Molly Tabb, Sacred Hearts-Bradford, 8:57


I’m assuming Framingham State cross country runner Kevin Durant from Lynn is quite a bit shorter than his NBA namesake. ... Wide receiver Joe Ayala of Haverhill (6-0, 170) and running back James DiGiammo of Andover (5-5, 150) are freshmen playing varsity football for Lawrence Academy.


Los Angeles sportscaster Ashley Brewer of “The Bachelor Winter Games” knows her way around the playing fields.

She swam at USC and in the Olympic Trials. Her brothers were athletes: Charles Brewer (Diamondbacks pitcher), Chase Brewer (UCLA pitcher) and Connor Brewer (Virginia QB).

Mom, Deborah Brewer, was Miss Georgia 1978.


Against an overmatched team, Bradford Christian soccer player Lexi Maranville of Merrimac had a golden chance for her first goal of the year.

Coach Tim Gordon said, “Instead of shooting, she passed the ball off to one of her teammates who is new to soccer this year. When I asked her why she did it she said, ‘I remember how great I felt when I scored my first goal and I wanted to give someone else the opportunity to feel like that.’”

Gordon concluded, “She really is a special kid.”


Thayer Thomas went from walk-on to a star receiver for N.C. State. He’s also been a fine passer on gimmick plays (3-for-4, 74 yards, 2 TDs). And despite only being a reserve and hitting just .222 last year as a redshirt freshman, he was drafted in the 33rd round by the Red Sox last June.

He didn’t sign, obviously, which may not be surprising since his middle name is Rockne.

Another Wolfpack grid recruit did sign with the Sox. Trot Nixon, one of the country’s top QBs, at the 11th hour signed with the Sox out of high school in 1993.



Recommended for you