MI46 Preview!!

HERE WE GO!!!  The 46th Manchester Invitational!  1st one in 2 years! You ready???  We are!!!Manchester Invitational 2019 large School-22

Visit our MI46 Meet Hub as our center for everything Manchester Invitational over the past several years!!!  We have race videos, interviews, articles, photos! It will also be THE place for this year’s NHCC.com’s coverage as we will be LIVESTREAMING!!!

Millennium Running App

New for this year, Millennium Running has an event app featuring the Manchester Invitational! We encourage you, your athletes, and spectators to download the free app from the Apple and Google stores. All event info as well as live results, course maps, box info, ect will be right at your fingertips so that the meet can be followed along with in live time.

Millennium Running’s Live Results

Box Assignments 



IMG_2640.jpgGirls Small School @ 12:00

This year’s Small School Girls race pits four top ranked NH teams spread out across all three divisions, with Timberlane on the larger size all the way down to Portsmouth Christian Academy at the smaller end.  Mix in 12 regional out of state teams as well as an in state private school in the Dublin School and you’ve got yourself a field of 42 teams, making this the largest championship field of the day.

NH should be led by #5 ranked Souhegan, winners of the Saber Relays two weeks ago, led by 2020 MOC runner up Chloe Trudel.  With a strong crew of Stephanie Svendsen, Anna Brammer Depuy, Emma Jarnigan and Madeline Glover, the Sabers look to hold onto their Small School dominance. Souhegan will get a much needed preview of the Division 2 field heading into the second half of the season.  

Next up for the Granite State is #6 Oyster River, led by Mackenzie Cook, looking to improve on their fifth place finish from the Bobcat Invitational.  With strong support from Haley Kavanaugh,  Erin Carty, Talia Banafato, Denise Nadig and Tessa Brown, the Bobcats will be looking to close the gap to Souhegan.

Next is Division 3 powerhouse Hopkinton, ranked #8 in the latest rankings.  Led by Hannah Bennett, the Hawks look to improve on their already strong pack running skills and move up in the rankings.  Bennett has supported from freshman Shaylee Murdough, Cailey Stockwell, Clara Locke, Amelia Walsh, Ava Rothe and Audrey Davis that saw them finish third in the Coe-Brown Homecoming versus the two above teams.

And our final ranked team is last year’s Division 2 champions Coe-Brown.  Led by Sheldyn Fisher, Mallory Taylor and Bella Lemay, the Bears are looking to find their team chemistry and this race will shed light on where they are in this process.  Additional support comes from Natalie Sicard, Amelia Edmonds, Kassidy Taylor,  and Emma Larson.

With few results this season around the state, it’s difficult to see who might be lurking in the weeds.  Finishing fifth in Coe-Brown Homecoming (which sported aManchester Invitational 2019 Small School-57 very strong race for a non-invitational event) is Hanover.  Led by Sarah Gluek, the Marauders look to break into the NH scene.

Operating quietly under the radar has been D3 Conant, led by Kylie Aho.  Undefeated this season, the ever improving Orioles are looking to make some noise.  Other teams looking to move out from under Old Man of the Mountain’s  shadow are Bow, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Gilford, Merrimack Valley and Kearsarge.

However Manchester Invitational supremacy could come from an out of state challenge from any of these teams: Vermont’s Essex, Harwood, Mid Vermont Christian, Rutland, Thetford (home of this year’s New Englands), U-32 or Woodstock.  With little insight from last season’s racing (and this year as well), I can only speculate that if a team is traveling to Manchester they intend to make some noise.  Harwood from Waterbury, VT has a tradition of strong performance at Manchester and Woodstock has only 5 girls listed for race day so some might assume they are coming to play.

From Maine we have Kents Hill, Noble and Sanford and I’d be going out on a limb to speculate about performances this far off my radar.  From Rhode Manchester Invitational 2019 Small School-66Island we have Pentucket, which I know little about but looking over the entry list they must be loading up the bus as they have lots of athletes across all races.  Tyngsborough is the lone Small School race entry from Massachusetts, also off my radar.

And completely off my radar, but as far as I know making their Manchester debut is the Dublin School, a private school out of Dublin, NH.  While I know nothing about their cross country program, I do know (as I’m from the area) that they have a relatively new championship class nordic venue and that can’t be a bad sign for cross country!

Individually, expect Souhegan’s Chloe Trudel to be towards the front managing the pace.  While not mentioned in the team preview as low numbers means they don’t have a team is PCA’s Brianna Malone, who has proven she can run with anyone.  Others in the mix up front for NH will likely be Bow’s Maya Brochu, Conant’s Aho, Gilford’s Cat Stow, Hollis-Brookline’s Amy Pattelena, Hopkinton’s Bennett, Newmarket’s Isabel Pentony, Saint Thomas Aquinas Kate Burrus, Oyster River’s Mackenzie Cook, MV’s Sophia Reynolds and a who’s who of New England Small School All Stars.

Mike Smith

Boys Small School @ 12:30IMG_3014.jpg

Although there are five less teams than the Small School Girls race, the Boys race should be action packed as there are four NH ranked teams (plus one that was ranked top ten) along with seven New England regional teams and one NH private school.

Starting off the ranked teams is recent addition to the top ten in #6 Oyster River.  Led by Dillon Labonte, the Bobcats are proving to the state they deserve to be ranked with a win at the Bobcat Invite and a second place showing at Coe-Brown Homecoming to #1 ranked Coe-Brown.  Supporting Labonte are Henry Hagan, Amani Harvey, Chris Jernigan, Keane Swiesz, Ethan Bessette and Theo Fleischer, looking to establish themselves as a top five team in NH.

#7 for the Granite State is Windham.  Losing two of your top five to graduation usually means a rebuilding year but the Jaguars.  Led by Michael Killian, have picked up where they left off last season.  With solid support from Logan Carter and Braden Sanchez, the crew from Windham should be seeking a top spot in this race. 

IMG_3032.jpgThe #8 ranked team is Sanborn.  Led by the Khalil brothers, Jared and Tyson, the team from Kingston will need to shore up their top five in order to move up the state rankings and compete for a top spot on Saturday.

#9 from NH is the Marauders of Hanover.  Recently third behind OR and CB at Coe-Brown Homecoming, the Marauders have some a strong four in Spencer May, Mack Levy, Will Parker and Luke Holmes and if they can bring up their #5, 6 and 7, they could be ready to make some noise on the NH scene.

Preseason ranked in #10 is Mascenic.  Off to their usual conservative start, the Vikings have slowly been putting the pieces together for a Division 3 run.  Led by the Traffie brothers (Connor and Drew) with support from Jethro Somero and Ryan O’Shea, the Vikings will need to find the missing fifth if they are going to contend and with a young group of freshmen in the line up, Derryfield Park might provide the perfect proving grounds for that.

Much like on the girls side, with a lack of results from last year (and this year) figuring out who are the other contenders is like consulting a Ouija board.  The Gilford boys have been improving week to week under the tutelage of Patrick Gandini.  Can they complete the metamorphosis before Saturday?  The Hopkinton boys behind Matt Clarner and Ben Daniels could sneak in to the top five along with Kearsarge behind their leader in Gavin Garzia.

There are seven teams from outside NH in Vermont’s Harwood, Thetford and Woodstock, Maine’s Gould Academy and Noble, RI’s Pentucket and MA’s Tyngsborough.  With Harwood’s long history of VT small school domination, I suspect they will be in the mix.

In state we have both private school entry, the Dublin School as well as D1 Timberlane.  With few results this season I see Timberlane’s entry into the Small School race as a real wildcard and am eager to see what happens when the dust settles.  As mentioned in the girls preview, Dublin has a championship nordic program which one would think would only benefit their cross country prowess.  

Individually, in state I would have to tip my hat to Gilford’s Gandini, undefeated this season (and I witnessed him solo a 16:50 on the historically tough, 142 meter extra long Belmont course, winning by two minutes).  Also towards the front I would suspect the Brothers Khalil (Sanborn), with Windham’s Killian, OR’s Labonte, followed by a pack containing the Bothers Traffie (Mascenic), Conant’s Ethan Vitello, Hanover’s Mack Levy and Spencer May, Trinity’s Aidan Palmeter and a who’s who of New England All Stars.

-Mike Smith

Girls Large School @ 1:00NI_GIRLS_V0015.JPG

With 11 total ranked schools from Vermont and NH, the girls Large School race truly feels like a border clash!  NH has 6 ranked schools while VT has 5 of their top 10 in a single race!  Both states current #1 ranked schools will be clashing.  NH-1 Concord seems to be building momentum by virtue of their win at Nashua North.  With 2 experienced veterans in Molly Nyhan and Alina Pincoske along with newcomer Shelly Smith just beginning to figure it out, the Crimson Tide potentially has 3 low sticks and in a meet as large as MI46, that truly is valuable.  Watch out though for NH-2 Keene.  This is their first true test.  Hannah Shepard, and company has Keene as one of the stronger, more consistent programs in the state.  They will be looking to prove that to the rest of NH and could contend for the team win.  Assuredly contending will be NH-3 Bishop Guertin.  Led by one of the race favorites, MaryKate Finn, the Cardinal competed neck and neck with Concord last weekend.  Will the hilly Derryfield favor them this week?

TNI_GIRLS_V0103.JPGhen we have NH-4 and new state contender Dover.  They have already proven themselves at an even tougher course at DeMeritt Hill Farm by winning the Bobcat Invitational.  Based on that, Derryfield could, perhaps, be a perfect course for them to make yet another splash.  Look for that!  Led by Brooke Marshall and Ashlyn Smith, they are our sleeper pick.  Bedford (NH-7) and Exeter (NH-10) are our other ranked teams looking to move up the rankings with a great performance Saturday.

Vermont brings their very best with their #1 ranked Burlington leading the Green Mountain State charge.  This is a bit of a change as Champlain Valley (VT-4) is a multi-time defending champ, but will also be competing.   Add in VT-5 South Burlington, VT-6 Mt. Mansfield, and VT-7 BFA-St. Albans, and Vermont will make their presence felt.

With teams as possible wild cards like out-of-state Framingham, MA and Manchester, CT along with private school Phillips Academy, this weekend’s MI46 will certainly provide a surprises.

Individually, the names from Nashua North Invite certainly should factor in like BG’s Finn, North’s Dantia Braccio, Bedford’s Fiona Lee and Concord’s Nyhan, Pincoske, and now Smith.  But don’t forget about Dover’s Robinson’s performance at Bobcat.  She is certainly strong and Derryfield could be a course tailor-made for her and the rest of the Green Wave.  Look for Abby Broadley from Vermont’s Bellow Falls as well as Rebecca Cunningham from Burlington as well.


Boys Large School @ 1:30Manchester Invitational 2019 large School-208

For the Boys Large School race, we can expect to see some fast teams not just from New Hampshire but from around New England.

For New Hampshire teams, we’re looking at Coe-Brown as the number one coming in with all eyes on their top returner Aidan Cox. Cox came into the season ranked as the #5 runner IN THE COUNTRY and this looks to be his first hard effort of the season that will hopefully culminate in a trip out to the west coast for Nike Nationals. This will also be Coe-Brown’s first invitational of the season so we’re hopefully going to get a better look at how the team fared in replacing one of the best teams in New Hampshire history.

Bishop Guertin has looked outstanding through the start of the season quickly climbing into the second spot after beating Concord at Nashua last weekend. Manchester is a very different course though, so we’ll see if the win was helped but the speedy nature of Mines Falls. They’ll be helped by what has looked like a very complete varsity squad that doesn’t really have a Manchester Invitational 2019 large School-384weakness 1-7. BG may have taken the win but Concord was right on their heels with a top three that should match up well against any team they face, all finishing in the top 5 at Nashua despite some serious competition. If their fifth guy can close the gap on BG’s fifth then you could quickly see these two teams flip positions. Expect these top three teams to be relatively close and it will likely be very difficult to tell who the top squad is during the race.

A bit back from our leaders an interesting battle has been going on between Pinkerton and Londonderry. Pinkerton has taken the win in their two meetings with strong runs especially for their 4-7 runners. That said, Londonderry’s 4-5 have been right on top of the Pinkerton crew, so it would only take a minor shake up for Londonderry to come out on top.

How about teams coming in from out of state? Bishop Hendricken comes in ranked #4 in the region and #1 in Rhode Island so they would seem like the team to beat in the whole race. In some early season action their top five have all come in under 17:00, so they’re already running very strong. We also have Vermont’s #1 and #2 teams coming in with BFA in the top spot and U32 currently in second. BFA in particular has a really strong top three and a top five that are all under 17:30 already this season and should absolutely give the top New Hampshire teams some heavy competition.

The individual race should be pretty exciting with Manchester, Connecticut’s Aidan Puffer coming to town adding a second nationally ranked (#11) runner to the race. For guys with plans to make it to Nationals, this is a very early season race, but it should be fun to see the battle between Puffer and Cox. Nate Fondakoswki of Bishop Guertin and Sam Hilts of Concord finished less than one second apart at Nashua. Fondakowski generally likes to go out very hard so him leading the race early wouldn’t be a surprise. The question is, whether he can hold off Hilts on a course that is considerably more demanding than Nashua. Pinkerton’s Luke Brennan is another one to keep an eye on as he did not finish far behind at Nashua and was definitely gaining on the leaders towards the end of the race.

-Ian French

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