The warm-up meets are over. With this weekend’s Bobcat Invitational at Oyster River High in Durham, the real competitive season begins. More than 700 athletes from 22 schools are entered in Saturday’s meet, which draws much of D-2, all the D-1 schools on the seacoast, and a handful of D-3 schools as well. With a spectator-friendly course and good weather forecast, it should be a great day for cross country.
The girls field includes seven schools that qualified for the Meet of Champions a year ago: D-1’s Winnacunnett and Exeter; D-2’s Souhegan, Oyster River, Hollis-Brookline, and Windham; and D-3’s Hopkinton and Monadnock. Four of those schools are ranked in the pre-season Top Ten this year, so it should be a competitive meet.
Individuals to watch include five 2014 New England qualifiers. Oyster River’s Maegan Doody will make her season debut. Madeline Hunt of Souhegan, Mercedes McCoy of Winnacunnet, Sarah Nadeau of Hopkinton, and Danielle Slavin of Oyster River are also top-25 runners from a year ago. Joining them are state 400 meter champ Kristie Schoffield of Merrimack Valley, Jackie Gaughan of Exeter, and Hollis-Brookline invite winner Sarah Crampton of H-B. So, a real test for many top teams and individuals.
The boys’ race includes Meet of Champion-caliber teams from a year ago: host-Oyster River, Goffstown, Inter-Lakes, Lebanon, Windham, and Monadnock. Keep an eye on Kennett and Kingswood, who have strong teams this year.
Four 2014 All-State runners will be in the boys race. Cam Daly of Inter-Lakes and Dom Repucci of Hopkinton finished 2-3 at last year’s Meet of Champs. Justin Carbone of Exeter and Oyster River’s Patrick O’Brien, who won last week’s Korcoulis Invite at Hollis, will toe the line. Look for Kennett’s Nick Brown and Kingswood’s Hunter Miller near the front, too.