25 School Invitational of mostly Division 2 schools deemed an early season D2 Championship Preview with special guests!
Race Schedule: Middle Schools 9:00am, JV Girls 10:00am, JV Boys 10:40, Varsity Girls 11:15, Boys Varsity Race 11:50
New This Year: Coaches can register and run up to 9 in the varsity races; LIVE TWITTER UPDATES! POST RACE VIDEO INTERVIEWS!
Runners to Watch: Maegan Doody (Oyster River), Hannah Parker (Coe-Brown), Sarah Crampton (Hollis-Brookline), Brooke Laskowsky(Coe-Brown), Kristie Schoffield (Merrimack Valley), Elisabeth Danis (Coe-Brown), Melissa Hiatt (St. Thomas)
The Black Bear Invite looks to be a great early season test of some of the top teams in the state, including current #1 Coe-Brown, #3 Bishop Guertin, and #9 Bow scheduled to compete. There are also a couple teams looking to break into the rankings, most significantly Hanover, along with Windham and Hollis/Brookline.
While it may be early in the season for Coe-Brown to go full-tilt as they are looking to peak in November and beyond, don’t expect them to sit back and allow another team to claim victory on their home course. Bishop Guertin may not have the front-running pack that the Bears have, but they certainly have a pack, and a deep pack at that as evidenced by their sweeping the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th relay spots at the Saber Relays. This pack should allow them the ability to overcome the lack of frontrunners and take home a top two position. After these two, it’s up to Bow to validate it’s top 10 ranking, while unranked Hanover, with a solid pack of runners itself, will try to leapfrog Bow onto the podium. Windham should be in the mix as well, with the final team order coming down to the classic battle of the 4th and 5th runners.
Individually, Oyster River’s Maegan Doody is coming off a super-fast time on her home course and will look to make it two Invites in a row. Whether Coe-Brown’s Hannah Parker (who looks very healthy and very fast so far this year), Brooke Laskowsky, or Elisabeth Danis make an attempt to bring the individual crown back home will likely depend on the team’s strategy.
Look for Merrimack Valley’s Kristie Schoffield, Hollis’s Sarah Crampton, and St. Thomas’s Melissa Hiatt to also make their presence felt in the front pack. With good weather predicted a few days out, this is looking like a fast year!
Runners to Watch: Josh Fontaine (Lebanon), Patrick O’Brien (Oyster River), Cam Daly (Inter-Lakes), Cam Barth (Oyster River), Brian Reaney (Portsmouth), Nick Brown (Kennett), Hunter Miller (Kingswood), Davio DeLuca (Coe-Brown)
Once again, the Black Bear looks like a great Division 2 matchup this year on the boys side, with almost every D2 team attending, including what could be a preview for the title on the last week of October. Oyster River (NH#5) and Coe-Brown (NH#6) both have deep teams and look to be the favorites. Defending D2 State Champion, Oyster River, comes off a very fast and victorious Bobcat Invite, while this will be the first genuine, big meet test for Coe-Brown. With the graduation of state champ Jeremy Brassard, Coe-Brown is transformed from a team with a front runner, to a pack running squad who’s place in the results will depend on how far up that pack can finish. Oyster River should benefit from super soph Patrick O’Brien, fresh off a blazing 16:28 on his home course, as well as a seasoned group of returning harriers from last year’s state championship squad.
Other teams to watch to possibly make a bid for a top 10 ranking include Portsmouth, Hanover, and Kingswood, who had a surprising 4th place finish at Bobcat last week. Portsmouth will be running at full strength for the first time this fall as senior Brian Reaney returns to action. Hanover, a perennial powerhouse in D2, looks primed as always to only improve as the season progresses. The top 4 D2 teams from Saturday will likely be contenders for Meet of Champions slots.
With the graduation of Brassard, and the absence of Souhegan’s Eli Moskowitz, the race for the individual title seems wide open for the first time in a few years. Look for a large front pack for a big portion of the race that should include Cameron Daly (Inter-Lakes), Josh Fontaine (Lebanon), O’Brien, Reaney, and DeLuca. Coe-Brown is notorious as a tough, strength course, so it probably won’t be settled until the final mile. Don’t be surpised if Brown (Kennett), or Miller (Kinsgwood) make their presence known as well. See you all Saturday!