44th Manchester Invitational! Recap and Results!

While the story of the day at the 43rd Manchester Invitational was the heat itself, the story at MI44 was the heat of the racing!!! Because of the cooperative weather, race after race entertained allowing athletes and teams to truly showcase their early season progress!  Over 3000 athletes from all 6 New England states came together over 10 races to truly celebrate our sport at this festival of races.  Great job NH on being gracious hosts and even better competitors!  Congrats to all!

Full Results – Courtesy of Millennium Running


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Girls Small School

Well the preview wondered aloud if Merrimack Valley freshman, Sophia Reynolds, who has gotten off to such a strong start, could pull off the victory at the enormous Manchester Invitational.  Well, she didn’t blink as she dropped an extremely fast 2nd mile opening up an insurmountable gap to take home the individual title in 18:48 over a very gutsy performance from Con-Val’s Rachel Hurley who wound up second in 19:00. Hurley’s teammates followed closely as Schuyler Michalak and Clare Veverka placed 4th and 5th respectively both in 19:31.  Portsmouth Christian’s Liza Corso placed 7th in 19:45, Belmont’s Alice Riley was 9th in 20:05, Sanborn’s Avery Scully placed 10th in 20:10 while Oyster River’s Lily Doody was 12th in 20:22.

Team-wise, Con-Val’s terrific trio simply could not overcome one of the top ranked teams from Connecticut.  Immaculate of Danbury placed 5 in the top 28 sporting a pack-time of 1 minute 11 seconds to score 78 points for the win.  They were led by Angela Saidman, who placed 6th in 19:41.  South Kingstown, RI was the runner-up for the second consecutive year with 146 as Con-Val finished only 11 points behind with a tally of 157 points.  Oyster River was a close 4th, only 11 points behind CV with 168 as Madison Hoppler (20:57), Olivia Lenk (21:15), Kadence Murphy (21:32) and Sophie Sullivan (21:49) supported Doody.

Boys Small School

For the second consecutive week, the individual battle of top honors pitted MV’s David Reynolds and Campbell’s Jeffrey Allen.  And for the second consecutive week, Sophia’s older brother made it a Reynolds sweep.  Reynolds and Allen  were inseparable this week through over 2.5 miles of the race until Reynolds applied his sneaky speed/strength to gradually pull away for the win posting a 16:15 to Allen’s 16:31.  Both ran smart, both ran gutsy.  Speaking of gutsy, Mascenic’s Landen Vaillancourt really was never shaken by the top two as he placed 3rd in 16:37.  Oyster River’s Andrew O’Brien won a battle of D2 sophomores over Sanborn’s Dylan Khalil 16:48 to 16:49 as they placed 5th and 6th respectively.  John Stark’s Brandon Langdon placed 10th in 17:08, OR’s Owen Fleischer was 11th in 17:13 while Con-Val’s Evan Coyne rounded out NH’s presence in the top 15, placing fifteenth in 17:18.

Boasting a first man to fifth man pack time of less than a minute (48 seconds!), D2 defending champ Oyster River took home the team title with 97 points over 2nd  place Greely, ME’s 154 points.  Beginning to round into form, formerly state-ranked Mascenic placed third totaling 206 points to Hanover’s 229 points.

Girls Large School 

In a battle of super sophomores, Pomperaug, CT’s Kate Wiser out-dueled South’s ever-improving Cali Coffin to take the Large School individual title 17:49 to 17:59.  Coffin led most of the way, but Wise ran brilliantly over the last half mile to gain some separation.  BG’s Caroline Fischer placed a strong 3rd in 18:21 making her season debut.  Coe-Brown’s Addison Cox was the next NH finisher placing 9th in 19:07 while West’s Julia Robitaille was 11th in 19:14 outleaning Souhegan’s Arielle Zlotnick who posted the same time.  West’s Corinne Robitaille (13th, 19:18), Souhegan’s Chloe Trudel (14th, 19:21) and North’s Arianna Braccio (15th, 19:24) rounded out the top 15.

Vermont’s top team, Champlain Valley repeated as champions making an early bid to be New England favorites by posting a total of 149 points in spite of not running one of their athletes (sick) from their top 5.  Alice Larson (4th 18:40) and Ella Whitman (7th, 19:03) led the way for the perennial VT powerhouse.  The real story was how close the next 5 places would be as Connecticut took the 2nd – 4th spots with William Hall, Glastonbury, and Danbury separated by only 18 points!  Vermont #2 Essex was only ten points behind the CT trio, while Maine’s #1 Bonny Eagle, led by freshman Delaney Hesler, was 6th another scant 9 points behind Essex.  Check your math, because that makes five teams separated by only 37 points in a large, competitive race!  That is great cross country.  Coe-Brown was NH’s top team in this one placing seventh.

Boys Large School 

Last year, Concord raced admirably in the heat to place 3rd overall behind champion Bishop Hendricken.  This year, the Crimson Tide took another step forward as they placed second to the #2 ranked team in the Northeast. In the process, Concord edged Vermont #1 Essex by four points, while Connecticut’s #2 team William Hall HS placed 4th with 228 points.  Coe-Brown, NH #2, placed 5th with 247.

Along with Hendricken proving they are the strongest boys team early this season, the story of this one was the battle for the individual title.  Concord’s Forest MacKenzie, true to his patient style of racing, essentially hung in the front pack until it was whittled down to six over the 2nd, most challenging, mile up and over McIntyre.  Two of this top six were freshmen from Connecticut in Aidan Puffer (Manchester) and Gavin Sherry (Conard) while Aidan Tierney (Bishop Hendricken), John Mariano (Xaverian Brothers, MA) and Henry Farrington (Essex, VT) were the other harriers battling.

MacKenzie proved to be the master of the descent as he stormed to a 5-10 meter lead when they emerged from the woods and entered the final field section with the five contenders on his heels.  Misfortune beset the Concord senior as he fell in the mud at the bottom of park.  Taking full advantage, some of the best in New England would pass and commence the gutsy battle over the last couple turns.  To the surprise of most, it was freshman Sherry who would open up a gap to win in 15:49 over senior Tierney (15:56).  Mariano would placed 3rd in 16:02, and MacKenzie would courageously scrape and claw his way to fourth just ahead of Puffer and Farrington 16:03 to 16:05 to 16:08.  Eli-Boesch Dining would place 10th in 16:13 to be the next NH finisher with Winnacunnet’s Colin Donnelly posting a 16:28 good enough for 12th to round out Granite Staters in the top 15.  .

Girls JV “B”

Champlain Valley put on a clinic on the topic of depth today as they also won the JV “B” race by placing all five scorers in the top 8 to amass a paltry 21 points.  Oyster River also exhibited a display of depth as they were led by freshman Leah Parks (4th, 21:37) to place 3rd only 4 points behind Glastonbury, CT. Bedford was 4th with 125 points and were led by the duo of Niamh Russell and Emma Chisholm ,who placed 17th and 18th both in 22:45.

Boys JV “B”

Thanks to Concord’s Ryan Ciesluk for breaking up team champ Bishop Hendricken’s bid for a sweep of the top 6 places.  Surrounded by Rhode Islanders, the sophomore held strong to place 4th in 17:19. With a headlock on the boys’ races this year, Hendricken repeated as champs scoring only 17 points.  As they have done consistently over the past 50 years, Pinkerton was NH’s top JV team placing 4th, 18 points ahead of Concord which finished 5th with 166.

Girls Freshmen 

Pay close attention to these results as many of NH’s best teams entered varsity-level athletes to participate in one of the great events of the day.  After all, they are freshmen for only one year (hopefully!).  Make it 3 consecutive years which NH boasts the freshman individual champ as Pinkerton’s Mariesa Preble took the title in 13:31 over Concord’s Katherine Kennedy’s 13:36.  NH would end up sweeping the top four places as Londonderry’s Grace McDonough was right with Kennedy placing 3rd in 13:39 and John Stark’s Brianna Langdon was 4th in 14:07.   Kennedy and her teammate, Abby Goulas, who placed 6th in 14:17, led the Crimson Tide to the team championship as NH teams also swept the top four team spots with Pinkerton, Nashua North and Hanover placing 2nd-5th respectively.

Boys Freshmen

While a new course record was not set this year, a phenomenal competition ensued and Hanover’s Sam Murray kept the NH individual win streak alive as he outleaned fellow Granite Stater Luke Brennan (Pinkerton) to win in 11:28. Essex, VT took home the team title here with Concord, led by John Murphy’s 6th place (11:54) finish, placed second with 130 points, three ahead of Bishop Hendricken. Londonderry, led by Jack Marshall (12th, 12:14) placed 4th with 160 points.

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