By Scott McGrath
On Saturday, 9/11, Oyster River High School and DeMeritt Hill Farm will play host to 21 New Hampshire teams: Goffstown, Hopkinton, Newmarket, Dover, Milford, Winnacunnet, Pembroke, Kingswood, Sanborn, STA, Spaulding, Hanover, Belmont, Campbell, Epping, Bedford, Hollis-Brookline, Lebanon, Gilford, Concord, and Exeter. The course at DeMeritt Hill, as the name implies, is notoriously hilly with grinding up-hills and rip-roaring downhills as runners navigate double-wide trails and rows of apple trees. In 2019 we saw Souhegan’s Chloe Trudel and Winnacunnet’s Colin Donnelly use patient tactics to secure individual victories while Phillips Exeter Academy secured both of the team titles.
However, without Phillips Exeter Academy in attendance this year, the races are wide open for new champions. Fresh off their wins at the Coach K Invitational hosted by Hollis-Brookline, the Oyster River squads look to contend for the title on their home turf. Doing so will be a formidable challenge however with newcomer to the meet Concord looking to continue their historic dominance. In all, 5 of the top 7 teams at last year’s Meet of Champions will be mixing it up in the girl’s race including last year’s champions Hanover, as well as Concord, Exeter, Bedford, and Dover all looking to test each other. On the boys side, 3 of last year’s top 7 MOC teams will line up in Concord, Sanborn Regional and Oyster River.
Individually, on the boys side look to see Sanborn’s Jared Khalil, Gilford’s Patrick Gandini, Dover’s Tyler Sheedy, Concord’s Sam Hilts, Zachary Hooper and John Murphy, Oyster River’s Dillon Labonte, Lebanon’s Birhanu Harriman, Hanover’s Mack Levy all mixing it up in the top 10.
On the girl’s side look for Dover’s Ashlyn Smith, Milford’s Abbey Halloran, Exeter’s Ali McFarland, Concord’s Molly Nyhan, Hopkinton’s Hannah Bennett, Merrimack Valley’s Sophia Reynolds and Oyster River’s Mackenzie Cook all potentially in the mix for the victory.
It’s early yet in the season and for most teams this is the first invitational of the season. We’ll see you on the hill!
NHCC Note: As with the past several years, NHCC will be there to snap pics, interview and video! We will also be selling NHCC long sleeve tees!! Stop by the tent to grab yours!