MI47 Preview!

HERE WE GO!!!  The 47th Manchester Invitational!  You ready???  We are!!!

Visit our MI47 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!

Use the link below as Millennium Running will have live results and splits!!! All event info including course maps, box info, etc can also be found on their website.

Millennium Running’s Live Results

Box Assignments 



Girls Small School @ 12:00

The girls varsity small school race is sure to have some fireworks as there will be four ranked teams competing (along with another 29 others) along with some ofDSC04684 the strongest small regional teams throughout New England.  Topping the list for NH is Oyster River and the 1-2 punch of Mackenzie Cook and Haley Kavanagh.  They’ve looked good during the early season finishing second at Bobcat to #1 ranked Bedford.  Close behind might be Hopkinton with their own 1-2 punch of Hannah Bennett and Shaylee Murdough.  Hopkinton won the Mascenic Homecoming against Monadnock and Mascenic while also finishing third at Bobcat.  The next ranked team is Souhegan led by Stephanie Svendsen and currently ranked 7th in New Hampshire.  Without many results to go off of we’ll just have to wait and see how this all shakes out.  And the last ranked team is Bishop Guertin, stepping down to the small school race after having last D1 All Stars Mary Kate Finn and Fiona Doherty to graduation.  BG will be led by Anna Fondakowski.

Sitting outside the rankings are also the aforementioned Monadnock Huskies and Mascenic Vikings, looking to take on larger rivals and see where they stack up both within their division and against schools from D1 and 2.  Both teams have a strong foursome (Bentley, Bentley, Gibson and Hall for Monadnock, and O’Shea, O’Shea, Lambert and Schaumloffel for Mascenic), so Saturday will be about how close they can get their scoring fifth to their front pack.  Staying with D3, we’d be remiss in not mentioning last year’s #3 team in D3 in the Conant Orioles.  The Orioles lost no one to graduation and had a strong spring track season.  Also I’m going to be keeping my eye on Newmarket, who has reloaded with three freshmen, adding to a team that finished fifth in D3.  You never know what to expect with freshmen and their first run at Derryfield Park.

DSC04692Outside of D3 and our top ranked teams we have Coe-Brown led by Sheldyn Fisher.  While Coe-Brown would be in what they would call a rebuilding year, it would be foolish to think they couldn’t do some damage as we move along the season. Others I anticipate will be looking to play the spoiler role would be Hanover and Bow.  The Hanover program is on the rise and it often happens that success with one gender trickles down to the other and their boys team has been rising over the last couple years.  I anticipate the girls do the same.  Bow is built a little different with Maya Brochu and Susanna Zahn likely the best 1-2 punch in NH and will likely benefit from some really low sticks.  If they can close the gap back to 3-4-5, they could be dangerous.

And for a look at our out of state competitors, Vermont is supplying one of the most storied programs in Harwood Union.  While Ben and Jerry’s might be more recognizable here in NH, Vermonters recognize the Waterbury based harriers as one of the state’s best programs.  Woodstock, U-32 and Thetford (home of the Vermont SCs and Morty’s Monster) will also be making the trip from the Green Mountain state.  Other out-of-staters include Burr and Burton, Excel Academy Charter, Gould Academy, Hyde School, Kents Hill of Maine, Malden Catholic, and Pentucket of Massachusetts.

The top individual has not been mentioned yet but is now.  Portsmouth Christian Academy’s Brianna Malone should be the one to beat, having the most experience over Derryfield’s famed hills.  However do not discount York’s Cary Drake who beat Malone at New Englands in Thetford.  Look for Zahn and Brochu of Bow, Cook and Kavanough of OR and Fisher of Coe-Brown forming the chase pack, with Hopkinton’s Bennett and Murdough, along with Aho and company of Conant, the foursomes of Monadnock and Mascenic, STAs Kate Burrus, and Newmarket’s Hagen looking to make the jump and reel in that front pack.  Not to mention our out of state visitors, looking to make something special happen during their trip to the Granite State.

Mike Smith

Boys Small School @ 12:30

In the boys race, we’ll see 36 schools (27 NHIAA schools) looking to show their stuff over the 3.1 miles of the legendary Derryfield Park.   Unlike the girls raceDSC04969 which saw four ranked teams competing, the small school varsity race has only two ranked teams from NH, #7 Oyster River and #9 Hanover.  Oyster River finished second behind D1 Exeter at the Bobcat Invitational, led by Chris Jernigan and Henry Hagen.  However DeMeritt Farm is their home course and Hanover, with their claim as having the hardest course in NH might be better prepared for the hills of Derryfield Park.  For the record, there are plenty of hills at DeMeritt.  Led by Mack Levy, the Hanover boys have been improving over the last couple years and looking for the opportunity to prove how good they are.  Next up is likely Trinity of Manchester.  Derryfield Park is their home course (the school is literally across Bridge Street from the course.)  Fronted by Max Scharr and Aidan Palmeter, the Pioneers look to explore their opportunities here.

Behind these front runners from NH are Mascenic, Portsmouth Christian and Timberlane.  Timberlane drops down from D1, and while I have no idea about the runners in their starting line up, when you’re a larger school competing in a smaller division it stands a chance you can compete.  Mascenic, last year’s D3 champs, return a 1-2 punch of Drew Traffie and Ryan O’Shea, and backed by some sophomores and freshman that if they start to get it going they might be able to shake up some of those front teams.  PCA, with 2021 D3 runner up in Jonas Teeter might be able to find the guys to nudge their way into one of the top spots.

DSC05087Looking at our visiting teams one would be foolish to sleep on Harwood.  Like stated in the girls preview, Harwood Union is a fabled program in Vermont and always runs strong at Derryfield. Thetford Academy, in the shadows of Morty’s Monster should be well suited for this course as well.  MA’s Pentucket is bringing a boat load of athletes to this meet so one can assume they might have what it takes to compete in this race.

Individually, this race should come down to Gilford’s Patrick Gandini and Lebanon’s Birhanu Harriman.  Harriman got the better of Gandini at Bobcat, so you can only imagine he’d like to return the favor. My dark horse pick would be Gould Academy’s Ethan Sewall, as they have elected to run six in the JV race and Sewall in the varsity race.  After that, the chase pack to be made up of Hanover’s Levy, OR’s Jernigan and Hagen, Mascenic’s Traffie, Ben Daniels and Matt Clarner of Hopkinton, Ryan Burgher of Hollis/Brookline, Peyton and Jace Joslyn of Monadnock, Teeter of PCA, and someone from Harwood and Thetford.  Add in the contingent of New England states and we can have a real menagerie of athletes and state affiliations in the top ten.

-Mike Smith

Girls Large School @ 1:00DSC05255

With 12 total ranked schools from Vermont, Rhode Island and NH, the girls Large School race truly feels like an early season New England clash!  Once again, NH has 6 ranked schools while VT has 5 of their top 10 in a single race!  While La Salle is Rhode Island’s lone rep, they are the biggest name when it comes to tradition and excellence!  So we have 3 states’ current #1 ranked schools clashing.  Beginning with the host state, NH!  NH-1 Bedford seems to be on a hot streak by virtue of their wins at  Bobcat and Nashua North Invites.  With a possible low-stick of Fiona Lee mixed with a youth movement, MI47 will be a true test for Bedford.  Of course they will be looking to test their mettle against perennial Northeast powerhouses, RI-1 LaSalle and VT-1 Champlain Valley.  Both of these storied programs have made multiple trips to Nike Cross Nationals.  Expect them to be favored with the 603 team of Bedford looking to crash their party.

Looking at NH schools, #4 Concord, led by Alina Pincoske and Molly Nyhan, should be leading the next pack of teams looking to come in the top 5. #5 Dover, led by Alyson Bortz and Isabel DSC05476McIntyre, will be looking to do the same, with hopes of leapfrogging the Crimson Tide with a good showing here.  Don’t overlook Keene either.  The girls team usually makes their presence felt at MI.  Also look for perennial NH contenders Pinkerton (NH-8) and Winnacunnet (NH-9) to stick their proverbial noses in the action.

Vermont schools always seem to perform well at MI.  In addition to Champlain Valley, expect VT-3 Essex to be in contention for a podium spot.  South Burlington (VT-6), Burlington (VT-7), and BFA-St Albans (VT-10) are the other ranked Vermont teams to watch for.

Individually, Bedford’s Fiona Lee seems to be the top NH runner.  Champlain Valley’s Alice Kredell is the top runner from VT while La Salle’s Caroline Cummings is the top runner from Rhode Island.   Chasing this top pack should be Pincoske, Nyhan, Bortz, McIntyre, Silva, and Meadows.


Boys Large School @ 1:30

The large school race should be an exciting one with many of the top ranked schools from New Hampshire but also some out of state visitors who could prove to beDSC05650 a challenge for local teams. Additionally, we get to see some national caliber individual talent that’s going to potentially bring a relatively old course record to its end.

From New Hampshire, all eyes are going to be on Coe-Brown and their top runner Aidan Cox. . A quote from Coach Cox, “Aidan is running faster than I have ever seen,” tells me we can expect to see him really get after it. More about the individual race later, but I think we will get a chance to see just how good Coe-Brown can be this season. They’re currently sitting on the “teams to watch list” of the regional rankings and will have a chance to jump onto the board with a solid performance.

Possibly the biggest threat from New Hampshire is a team we haven’t seen at Manchester, Phillips Exeter. The prep school has a top runner in Byron Grevious who beat Aidan last spring on the track running in the mid 14s for 5k and they always have one of the strongest XC teams in their conference. The town of Exeter actually has a second excellent team with NH’s #2 Exeter High School, who will also look to put themselves in the top team mix. Their top runner Matt Allen is one of the best runners in the division and while he won’t be up with the two previously mentioned guys, he’ll definitely be in the top group of guys in the race. Exeter has shown solid depth through four this season, but they’re going to need a strong run from their fifth to hold off our next team.

DSC05796NH-3 Nashua South looked very impressive this past weekend winning the Nashua North Invitational. South looked like a pure depth team on paper coming into the season but the arrival of sophomore Daniel Byrne as a top five finisher at Nashua has made them stronger than expected. Don’t be surprised if after this weekend they’re the team to beat in Division I if they can transfer their success on the flat Mines Falls course to hilly Derryfield Park. The next New Hampshire team to watch is Pinkerton. This year’s Astros team is really strong depth-wise but a little less likely to have a sub 17:00 guy than some years in the past.  However, they could have their whole top five in under 18 minutes. That kind of packing could help Pinkerton put in a fairly low score.

Concord has continued their streak of strong teams this year with a bit of help from excellent freshman Josiah Conley, who has been the top runner for Concord multiple times this season and was a top 10 finisher at Nashua. Concord is another team with solid depth so depending on how their 4-5 does, they could find themselves ahead of Pinkerton. Bishop Guertin came into the year as the team to beat in Division I and have struggled a little bit early on. Their top runner, Matt Giardina is coming off of a definitive win at the Nashua Invitational, so if the rest of his varsity squad can continue improving, we might see them move back towards the front of the division. Also, keep an eye on Winnacunnet and Salem, who have both gotten off to solid starts and are currently battling for that #10 spot on the state rankings.

How about the non-New Hampshire schools? Bishop Hendricken from Rhode Island started the year out nationally ranked 16th on Milesplit and as a regional teamDSC05791 to watch on Dyestat. At their first invite this year their whole varsity was under 18 minutes with several runners under 17:00, so they should give Coe-Brown a good battle. La Salle also from Rhode Island raced in the same invitational in a different division and showed incredible depth with their varsity all being between 17:00-17:10. Workout race? Maybe. They were also mentioned in the regional teams to watch by Dyestat.  One more regional ranking team? Sure! Hall High School of Connecticut had their top 5 all under 17:05 at the dual meet earlier this season and should definitely be fighting for the team win.

Champlain Valley from Vermont is another team to keep an eye on with a top guy who has broken 16 and a top five all under 18 minutes at the Queensbury Invitational. Brookline from Massachusetts also looks to have a REALLY tight pack who might all be sub 17 guys, but it’s not easy to get an exact idea of how good they are since Mass teams frequently run these goofy 2.8 mile races instead of 5Ks. Also keep an eye on Phillips Academy of Andover, who is another strong prep team who’s joining the race this year.

Big question at this point, who looks like the team winner of the race? After spending several hours combing through the data like the running nerd I am, my conclusion is… I have no idea. Sometimes there’s a team who comes in with an obvious lead on paper, but this doesn’t appear to be one of those years. I’ll pick Coe-Brown to support one of the home teams. They have a potential race winner in Aidan Cox and their next four, Tyler Tkaczyk, Jamie Lano, Gavin Demas and Nikhil Chavda, doesn’t make them look any weaker than any of the visiting teams. Watch out for Phillips Exeter though as their top guy could also win and they have four other returners who look like sub 17:30 guys.

How about an individual champion? Aidan Cox from Coe-Brown and Byron Grevious from Phillips Exeter are the two most obvious runners to watch having both gone under 15:00 for a 5K and are probably going to make it a two man race. Matt Servin from Champlain Valley ran a 15:44 at the Queensbury Invite which is certainly moving. Matt Giardina from Bishop Guertin is coming off of a nice win at Bishop Guertin. Bishop Hendricken’s Troy Silvestri is one of the top returners from last year’s New England race.  However the true top returner is the defending champion in Framingham’s Samuel Burgess.  Let’s hope the local guy sends a message to the rest of New England that New Hampshire has the guy to beat this fall. Good luck to everyone!

-Ian French