Full Results – Courtesy of Millennium Running
MI48!!! The festival had everything from individual battles to team battles to surprises and confirmations. But the bottom line is, Manchester Invitational is still the granddaddy of them all! Thanks to Millennium Running for putting on a first class event which truly celebrates and showcases athletes from all over New England.
Great job NH on being gracious hosts and even better competitors! Congrats to all!
Girls Small School
With near perfect conditions the girls small school race got off with a quick start. Right from the gun Hanover’s Lea Perreard wasted no time getting to the front, with a tight throng of small school top runners in her wake. Not right in her wake was Orono’s Ruth White, 2x New England champion. But do not be mistaken, she was out on the right side of the field about to make her own wake. As they crested the opening hill, White had separated herself from the pack and now was up to speed and honing in on Perreard. A Who’s Who of NH small school top runners fell in behind, including Mackenzie Cook of Oyster River, Madeline Lane of Hopkinton, Alanna Hagen of Newmarket, Hanover’s #2 Lila Muirhead and BFA’s Kaitlin Lumbra of Vermont. Behind that was a pack full of runners from various teams but also flush with OR and Hanover athletes.
By the mile, the lead had shifted as White had hit her top speed and would keep that going all the way to the finish. Her lead at the mile was less than ten seconds, but her finish time, smashing the course record, in 17:20, would end up 50 seconds up on Perreard. At 18:10, Perreard would have the fastest time of the day for anyone not named Ruth White by 18 seconds, with much of that having been run alone. Behind these two monster runs, OR’s Cook would finish before Hanover’s Muirhead, with D3 Hopkinton’s super freshman Madeline Lane rounding out the top five. Newmarket’s Hagen would be in next, followed by Hanover’s Faris, Plymouth’s Elli Englund, Kearsarge’s Molly Ellison and BFA’s Lumbra to round out the top ten.
After these two, the team battle was looking fierce. Hanover looked good up front, with Perreard and Muirhead spearheading the Hanover attack. Cook was at the point for OR, and getting some great support by sister Madelyn Cook, Haley Bezanson and Neely Roy, running as a pack the entire race. Hanover would counter with Megan Faris running ahead of this pack but there was a significant gap between Faris and Millie Larrick as their 3 and 4. OR’s #5 Haley Kavanaugh was rolling right with #4 Larrick. For added measure, OR’s #6 and #7, Talia Banafono and Jahrie Houle were marking Hanover’s #5 Sarah Glueck. While it could conceivable go either way, OR certainly had the upper hand.
In the end, Oyster River would win out. With Mackenzie Cook finishing in third, OR would go 3-11-12-13-19, scoring 47 to Hanover’s 57. Vermont’s Harwood and Massachusetts North Shore would be third and fourth (206 and 212) with NH’s D3 school Mascenic in fifth with 218 points.
So I watch these meets with my eye firmly on my own team, as I suspect most coaches do (or possibly on the main competition!) which sometimes makes writing the recap difficult as I might miss some of the action while focused on how my athletes are doing. But sometimes that also means I see things differently from the perspective of the average viewer or reader. So here are some of the things I saw.
Ruth White – I knew before the race, having commentated New Englands over the last couple years that watching Ruth run is something special. I remember the first time seeing ripping the Thetford course thinking this freshman has made a rookie mistake, taking it out too hard too early. But when she topped Morty’s Monster with less than a mile to go, all alone and still in full flight, I realized I was watching something special. While I would love my athletes to be in the same ballpark with Ruth (and I guess technically they were as Derryfield has a lot of ballparks), I was happy to simply be in awe of what she was doing yesterday on our fabled and historic Derryfield Park. I didn’t do the math, but there weren’t many of the over 2100 competitors that took to the trails on Saturday that ran faster than she did.
The strength of the small school race – Watching the Clash of the (small school) Titans in Hanover and Oyster River was a great one. At one moment when the racers passed you, you thought for sure Hanover would win. Then came a clump of OR and you thought maybe it would be the Bobcats. Back and forth. In the end it was Oyster River, but it was fun to see those athletes really running hard, knowing that their measuring stick so to speak was right there! A battle royal to be sure.
The amount of truly small school competition – The cut off for the small school is 1200 students, not exactly my vision of small school. When I started teaching, Mascenic was at 420 and smack dab in the middle of D3. We are now at about 240, sitting somewhere like the 12th smallest school in NH. With that said, the top twenty was littered with athletes in schools of less than half of the upper limit for the small school race. In order, Madeline Lane of Hopkinton in fifth, Alanna Hagen of Newmarket in sixth, Molly Ellison of Kearsarge in ninth, and Kaitlin O’Shea of Mascenic in 23rd. Toss in Elli Englund of Plymouth (school population 626) and that’s 20% of the small school race. I’d say that’s pretty darn good.
Boys Small School
The boys race was slated to be a showdown between Souhegan and Hanover, NH’s #3 and #5, along with the many unknowns that might be lurking with the out of state schools. While everyone expected Orono’s Ruth White to run away with the girls small school race, the boys small school individual race was up for grabs. And that was very evident once the gun went off and the front of the race was about thirty wide as they ascended the starting hill.
Early leader 600 meters in was BFA’s Porter Hurteau, looking to assert himself to the fore of the New
England scene. He was shadowed by Hanover’s Lucien Gleiser and North Shore’s Robby Levy. Behind them were a gathering of small school number ones and this early into the race, the top thirty spots were separated by less than ten seconds making it for an early tight race.
Things had started to string out by the mile, with Hurteau, Gleiser and Levy splitting 5:05, and the chase pack back three to five seconds. The next two miles would play a significant role in how the team battle and individual battle would turn out. By two miles, Gleiser and Levy had gapped Hurteau, and NH D3 aces Bocelli Howland-Vlahakis (freshman!) of Gilford and Jonas Teeter of Portsmouth Christian were gaining.
This would be what I saw with 900 meters to go as well. Over the ensuing half mile Gleiser would surge trying to break Levy. Levy made one last big push 60 meters from the finish but could not catch Gleiser, who crossed with the winning time being 16:06, and Levy two seconds back. Howland-Vlahakis would work his way into third, followed by Hurteau, and then Teeter. Having started a bit more conservative, Monadnock teammates Carlton Lampinen and Peyton Joslyn would go 6-7, followed by BFA’s Jacoby Soter, contesting whether BFA or Monadnock had the best one-two punch. Rounding out the top ten would be Sanborn’s Jake Pitre and Milford’s Logan Korthals.
In the team battle, only Hanover had an athlete in the top ten in winner Gleiser. However Souhegan is known for the clumping and had their top four in the top 28. While more spread out, Hanover also had their top four in the top 28 (actually top 27) and their 5th and 6th in the top 34) sealing the deal for Hanover with 87 points. Souhegan would take second with 137 points. Haddam-Killingsworth and BFA would take the next two spots (154 and 174) with Oyster River rounding out the top five with 191 points.
What a great race – I already mentioned how excited I was to see Ruth White in the girls small school race but there wasn’t the same “star power” in this one. That did not mean it wasn’t a great race, but rather the contrary. The battle for the individual title was the best of the day, with Gleiser, Levy, Hurteau basically beating the bejeezus out of each other for 5000 meters. Not to mention the great racing going on behind that, using the course to gain advantage, working through the pack, gritting out for every point. It seemed everyone knew what was on the line and was leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit of it.
The parity in D3 – I write the season preview and always give deference to the defending champion. Regardless of graduation, that team is sitting on top until someone dethrones them. In that preview I talked about Trinity, Gilford, St. Thomas, Fall Mountain, Mascenic, Monadnock, Hopkinton and Portsmouth Christian. If you look at the results from yesterday the order was Monadnock, St. Thomas, PCA, Hopkinton, Fall Mountain, Gilford, Mascenic, and Trinity, with 303 points separating those eight teams. Once the larger schools and non state schools are pulled out, that scoring is going to shrink considerably.
The mile mark from about 5:30 to 6:30 into the race – Not watching the bigger races yet on NHCC I was amazed as I watched this for the boys race just how thick the pack was for about 45 seconds going under the mile arch. Of course this is where my boys were, making it hard to make moves, but obviously that would be the case in that most of the athletes were going through the arch at this point. Makes for some upcoming coaching points for sure.
Girls Large School
This race went according to predictions with Champlain Valley Union (CVU) Vermont, the Northeast #3, flexing their muscle to win going away. With their scoring 5 in the top 20, they scored 48 points to runner-up Pinkerton’s 135. CVU’s top varsity 7 placed in the top 35. This at one of the larger invitationals in New England and they all come back next year! Led by their low sticks of Alice Kredell and Estella Laird, who placed 2nd (18:35) and 3rd (18:51) respectively, CVU is a complete team with the tight packing of their 2nd through 5th scorers. This is a potent line-up come championship time especially.
To their credit, NH#2 Pinkerton placed an impressive 2nd edging Phillips Academy by 1 point. While this is an impressive accomplishment any year, Pinkerton did this without their #2/3 as their fast freshman Sookie Folsom won the freshman race! Pinkerton was led by Contessa Silva’s 5th place finish (19:03). Isabelle Groulx was 18th in 19:40 with Gabrielle Bedard crossing in 31st (20:24) followed by Kalizan Marzolf (38th/20:38) and Parker Knowlton (46th/20:59). Phillips Academy had a nice meet as they podiumed just 1 point off the runnerup. They were Storrie Kulynych-Irvin who placed 4th in 18:58 and Emma Hagstrom who placed 11th in 19:19.
Needham, MA placed a strong 4th led by individual champion Greta Hammer, who battled Kredell and
Laird from the 1 mile on and was able to separate late to win by just 7 seconds breaking the tape in 18:28. Phillips Exeter was next in 5th and were led by Daria Ivanova’s 6th place overall finish in 19:03. Bedford was next best for NH as they placed 7th overall. They were led by veteran Fiona Lee and her 12th place overall finish followed closely by her teammate Kelseigh O’Neil who placed 15th in 19:36. Dover, without one of their top runners, placed a respectable 8th and were led by Alyson Bortz.
Winnacunnet was the 4th NH team placing 11th and were led by Charlotte Koutalidis and her 13th place finish. Don’t look now but Concord wasn’t too far behind in 12th led by Shelly Smith. As with the other races, we are looking forward to the merge to see how all of this shakes out! Congrats to all!
Boys Large School
The large school boys race was an exciting one from start to finish with some excellent times and some fun surprises on the team side so let’s dig into what happened!
Any race that has multiple top 100 in the country level runners in it is bound to go out fast and this race did for sure with five runners blasting through the opening mile in sub five minute pace. As expected, Phillips Exeter’s Byron Grevious and Phillips Academy’s Tam Gavenas were in that group but they were joined by U-32’s Cyrus Hansen, Bishop Guertin’s Matt Giardina, and Coe-Brown’s Jamie Lano. Now Manchester’s second mile is known for punishing aggressive starters as it has a significant increase in elevation and you really don’t get a break until just after the second mile ends. You’d expect to see the leaders slow down noticeably, but with a high quality field like we had Saturday, the leaders were basically unphased by the literal mountain they climbed. Our unsurprising leader at the top of the hill was Grevious who predictably was slowed by the second mile… by whole four seconds.
At this point, there was a small amount of spread between the top five, but it was really anyone’s race still. For Grevious, the third mile turned out to be his fastest as he ran the final 1.1 miles of the race in five minutes which is 4:33 pace. WOW! No wonder we got to witness a new meet and course record! Gavenas also had an outstanding race, running one of the best times ever coming in less than 10 seconds behind. Keep an eye on this guy as the season goes on as he could absolutely move up in the national rankings. Those two really commanded the last mile of the course, but we also saw an impressive run from Hansen of U-32. He got a little revenge after losing to Bishop Guertin’s Giardina last week at Nashua as he took third beating Giardina by about 10 seconds. To his credit, Lano grabbed a huge PR finishing just 10 seconds behind Giardina. Looking forward to seeing these guys battle again at New England’s in November!
New Hampshire also saw excellent runs from Bedford’s Jacob Redman, who broke 16:00 on the tough course and South’s Dante Castellano, who ran an excellent last mile and kept Redman in sight only trailing by 10 seconds. Giardina remains the New Hampshire man to beat but he’s going to have to stay focused if he’s going to hold everyone off.
Grievous’s win also played a role on the team side as we saw a definitive victory for Phillips Exeter. With four guys in the top twenty in a really deep field this year, it was impressive to watch. PEA looks primed to have an excellent season, win their league again and contend for an NXN berth. Vermont’s #1 St Johnsbury took second place and likely put the rest of New England on notice that come November they are going to be the team to beat. They impressed with two guys in the top ten making them strong contenders for All New England status come the end of the season.
For New Hampshire teams, we saw some exciting battles and a couple of upsets. South (NH#1) defended their position at the top of the New Hampshire rankings taking fifth place in the competitive field and beating our second team Salem (NH#4) by a convincing 101 points. Salem came in 9th overall and look like they are definitely a team on the rise with their young varsity not being thrown by the challenging Manchester course at all. They beat Pinkerton (NH#2) by 65 points. While Pinkerton ran one of their varsity guys in the freshman race, I don’t think it would have changed the outcome overall, likely only moving them up one spot to 10th. Next we saw Bedford (NH#6) continuing their solid season coming in 13th only 9 points behind Pinkerton.
Our next ranking’s upset came from Coe-Brown (NH#8) taking 16th place beating Bishop Guertin (NH#7) by a meager 14 points. Finally, Londonderry may make the leap into the rankings this week after taking 19th place to beat Exeter (NH#10) by 54 points. The big takeaway? South owned the course today and have made their stake as the best team in New Hampshire clear after dominating at both the flat Nashua course and the hilly Manchester course. The battle currently seems to be for second place between several teams.
For those of you who love to follow the rankings, you’ll have to be a little patient to see how the invite affects things. Race timers Millenium Running will release the merged results on Tuesday and since we had ranked teams in both races it’s important to see how they would have fared if everyone was in the same race.