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Manchester Invitational Cross Country: The family that wins together

By ALEX HALL
New Hampshire Union Leader

September 22. 2018 10:54PM
Runners in the boys' large-school division begin their race at the Manchester Invitational Cross Country Meet at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. (BRUCE TAYLOR/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER - In her first time running the Derryfield Park cross country course at the high school level, Merrimack Valley of Penacook freshman Sophia Reynolds won the girls' small school race at the 44th annual Manchester Invitational Saturday.

Shortly after her win, Reynolds' older brother, David, took the boys' small school race crown in a course personal-record time.

Sophia was all alone as she dashed toward the finish line, earning a time of 18 minutes, 48 seconds. David, a senior at Merrimack Valley, finished in 16:15, 16 seconds ahead of runner-up Jeffrey Allen, a senior at Campbell of Litchfield. David's twin brother, Matt, placed 53rd with a time of 17:57.

Merrimack Valley freshman Sophia Reynolds crosses the finish line to win the girls’ varsity small-school race. (BRUCE TAYLOR/UNION LEADER)

Both David and Sophia entered the Manchester meet, which features schools from around New England, fresh off victories at Oyster River of Durham's Bobcat Invitational on Sept. 15. 

David said his win Saturday meant a little extra to him because both he and Sophia left Derryfield Park as individual champions. 

Merrimack Valley girls' cross country coach Dave Irving said Sophia and David are the program's second and third ever Manchester Invitational individual champions. 

"They're runner's runners so they're very knowledgeable about running," Irving said. "We as coaches have to be on top of our game to give them instruction because they know the ins and outs of what they're doing and why they're doing it. They're smart runners."

Sophia said her strategy entering the race was to stay with the leaders until the hills and try to pull away at that point in the race. While she had to make some adjustments, Sophia said she pretty much stuck to her plan.

"I thought I had a good chance at top five," Sophia said. "I really didn't expect to win but it happened."

David separated from the front pack at the ski hill and had a healthy lead on Allen as he ran toward the finish line on the course's last stretch. 

Merrimack Valley senior David Reynolds races to a first-place finish in the boys’ small-school race. (BRUCE TAYLOR/UNION LEADER)

"They're both very healthy, they've had good summers of training and their fall has been going great so far," Irving said of David and Sophia.

The Oyster River boys had three runners finish among the top 25, helping them capture the small-school team title with a score of 97 points. Sophomore Andrew O'Brien led the way for the Bobcats with his fifth-place finish (16:48). Teammates Owen Fleischer (17:13) and Rowan Brown (17:28) placed 11th and 24th, respectively.

The Oyster River girls finished fourth in the small-school field, behind winner Immaculate of Danbury, Conn., runner-up South Kingstown (R.I), and ConVal of Peterborough. ConVal's Rachel Hurley, Schuyler Michalak and Clare Veverka finished second, fourth and fifth, respectively. Lily Doody was Oyster River's top finisher, taking 12th place with a time of 20:22.

Oyster River girls' coach Fergus Cullen said the Bobcats put a little more emphasis on the invitational than normal because Derryfield Park will host this season's New England Championships.

"A good step forward for us. The boys winning was nice because those out-of-state schools, a lot of them are going to be at New Englands," Cullen said.

Girls’ varsity large-school race second-place finisher Cali Coffin, of Nashua South, leads race winner Kate Wiser, of Pomperaug, Conn., right, and third-place finisher Caroline Fisher, of Bishop Guertin of Nashua, on the course Saturday at the Manchester Invitational Cross Country Meet at Derryfield Park. (BRUCE TAYLOR/UNION LEADER)

Bishop Hendricken of Warwick, R.I., earned a score of 49 to repeat as the boys' large-school champion. Concord (126) was the runner-up thanks in part to senior Forest MacKenzie's fourth-place finish (16:03). Coe-Brown Northwood Academy placed fifth with a score of 247.

The Coe-Brown girls were the top New Hampshire finishers in the large-school category, taking seventh place overall (277 points). The Bears had three runners place among the top 35, led by Addison Cox's ninth-place finish (19:07)

Nashua South sophomore Cali Coffin followed up her win at the Nashua North Invitational on Sept. 15 by earning runner-up honors in the girls' large-school race. Coffin finished in 17:59, shattering her previous personal-best mark on the course (19:10). Pomperaug of Southbury, Conn., sophomore Kate Wiser won the race with a time of 17:49.

"I was able to stay in the front until the end," Coffin said. "I gave it all I had."

44th Manchester Invitational

At Derryfield Park

Girls' small school

Team results: 1. Immaculate (Conn.), 78; 2. South Kingstown (R.I.), 146; 3. ConVal, 157; 4. Oyster River, 168; 5. New Fairfield (Conn.), 184; 6. U-32 (Vt.), 232; 7. Campbell, 267; 8. Harwood (Vt.), 285; 9. Hopkinton, 293; 10. Hanover, 293; 11. Portsmouth, 329; 12. Yarmouth (Mass.), 343; 13. East Greenwich (Conn.), 358; 14. Merrimack Valley, 401; 15. Freeport (Maine), 423; 16. Brattleboro (Vt.), 499; 17. Fryeburg (Maine), 502; 18. Portsmouth Christian, 531; 19. Windham, 561; 20. Greely (Maine), 573; 21. Bellows Free Academy (Vt.), 575; 22. Kingswood, 587; 23. Plymouth, 627; 24. John Stark, 641; 25. Mascenic, 653; 26. Bow, 667; 27. Gilford, 730; 28. Newmarket, 751; 29. Derryfield, 761; 30. Kents Hill (Maine), 776; 31. Lebanon, 779; 32. Winnisquam, 785; 33. Noble (Maine), 830; 34. Pembroke, 877.

New Hampshire individual results: 1. Sophia Reynolds, Merrimack Valley, 18:48; 2. Rachel Hurley, ConVal, 19; 4. Schuyler Michalak, ConVal, 19:31; 5. Clare Veverka, ConVal, 19:31; 7. Liza Corso, Portsmouth Christian, 19:45; 9. Alice Riley, Belmont, 20:05; 10. Avery Scully, Sanborn, 20:10; 12. Lily Doody, Oyster River, 20:22; 16. Emma York, Merrimack Valley, 20:28; 19. Ellen Baker, Portsmouth, 20:30.

Boys' small school

Team results: 1. Oyster River, 97; 2. Greely (Maine), 154; 3. Mascenic, 206; 4. Hanover, 229; 5. Barrington (Vt.), 244; 6. East Greenwich (Conn.), 255; 7. Immaculate (Conn.), 273; 8. Martha's Vineyard (Mass.), 326; 9. Bishop Guertin, 327; 10. ConVal, 330; 11. Campbell, 337; 12. Bow, 345; 13. Trinity, 339; 14. Fitch (Conn.), 415; 15. Sanborn, 445; 16. Harwood (Vt.), 470; 17. New Fairfield (Conn.), 477; 18. Freeport (Maine), 512; 19. Merrimack Valley, 524; 20. South Kingstown (R.I.), 559; 21. Thetford Academy (Vt.), 575; 22. Yarmouth (Mass.), 618; 23. Brattleboro (Vt.), 632; 24. Windham, 634; 25. Monadnock, 685; 26. Noble (Maine), 696; 27. Kingswood, 697; 28. Randolph, 704; 29. Portsmouth, 732; 30. John Stark, 801; 31. Lebanon, 812; 32. Hopkinton, 816; 33. Bellows Free Academy (Vt.), 818; 34. Winnisquam, 845; 35. Goffstown, 915; 36. Timberlane, 925; 37. Derryfield, 941; 38. St. Thomas Aquinas, 983; 39. Kents Hill (Maine), 1,066; 40. Gilford, 1,087; 41. Plymouth, 1,093; 42. Belmont, 1,112; 43. Newmarket, 1,125; 44. Portsmouth Christian, 1,164; 45. Pembroke, 1,213; 46. Epping, 1,314; 47. Hyde (Maine), 1,346.

New Hampshire individual results: 1. David Reynolds, Merrimack Valley, 16:15; 2. Jeffrey Allen, Campbell, 16:31; 3. Landen Vaillancourt, Mascenic, 16:37; 5. Andrew O'Brien, Oyster River, 16:48; 6. Dylan Khalil, Sanborn, 16:49; 10. Brandon Langdon, John Stark, 17:10; 11. Owen Fleischer, Oyster River, 17:13; 15. Evan Coyne, ConVal, 17:18; 16. Danny Donovan, Trinity, 17:19; 18. Kirpal Demian, Bow, 17:21; 19. Logan Thibault, Mascenic, 17:23.

Girls' large school

Team results: 1. Champlain Valley (Vt.), 149; 2. William Hall (Conn.), 197; 3. Glastonbury (Conn.), 205; 4. Danbury (Conn.), 215; 5. Essex (Vt.), 225; 6. Bonny Eagle (Maine), 234; 7. Coe-Brown, 277; 8. Exeter, 290; 9. Billerica (Mass.), 290; 10. Souhegan, 300; 11. Salem, 304; 12. Bishop Guertin, 317; 13. Bedford, 334; 14. Burlington (Vt.), 352; 15. Pomperaug (Conn.), 385; 16. Manchester Central, 452; 17. Concord, 455; 18. Pinkerton, 481; 19. St. Johnsbury Academy (Vt.), 499; 20. Nashua South, 533; 21. Coventry (R.I.), 562; 22. Keene, 574; 23. Merrimack, 580; 24. Milford, 587; 25. Manchester (Conn.), 625; 26. Mt. Mansfield (Vt.), 669; 27. Winnacunnet, 696; 28. RHAM (Conn.), 733; 29. Lowell (Mass.), 774; 30. Westford Academy (Mass.), 787; 31. South Burlington (Vt.), 82; 32. Hollis/Brookline, 825; 33. Conard (Conn.), 826; 34. Londonderry, 897; 35. Spaulding, 931; 36. Massabesic (Maine), 37. Dover, 1,023.

New Hampshire individual results: 2. Cali Coffin, Nashua South, 17:59; 3. Caroline Fischer, Bishop Guertin, 18:21; 9. Addison Cox, Coe-Brown, 19:07; 11. Julia Robitaille, Manchester West, 19:14; 12. Arielle Zlotnick, Souhegan, 19:14; 13. Corinne Robitaille, Manchester West, 19:18; 14. Chloe Trudell, Souhegan, 19:21; 15. Arianna Braccio, Nashua North, 19:24; 17. Caroline Towle, Bishop Guertin, 19:31; 18. Lauren Robinson, Milford, 19:31; 19. Carly Rinko, Bedford, 19:34; 20. Violet Sullivan, Exeter, 19:36.

Boys' large school

Team results: 1. Bishop Hendricken (R.I.), 49; 2. Concord, 126; 3. Essex (Vt.), 140; 4. William Hall (Conn.), 228; 5. Coe-Brown, 247; 6. Conard (Conn.), 259; 7. Danbury (Conn.), 273; 8. Glastonbury (Conn.), 307; 9. Winnacunnet, 311; 10. Londonderry, 328; 11. Xaverian Brothers (Mass.), 356; 12. U-32 (Vt.), 365; 13. Pinkerton, 371; 14. Lowell (Mass.), 395; 15. Burlington (Vt.), 440; 16. Nashua North, 453; 17. Manchester (Conn.), 460; 18. Souhegan, 485; 19. St. Johnsbury Academy (Vt.), 529; 20. Mt. Mansfield (Vt.), 544; 21. Pomperaug (Conn.), 560; 22. Westford Academy (Mass.), 561; 23. Champlain Valley (Vt.), 619; 24. Massabesic (Maine), 635; 25. Salem, 644; 26. Bonny Eagle (Maine), 680; 27. South Burlington (Vt.), 685; 28. Merrimack, 733; 29. Deering (Maine), 773; 30. Exeter, 779; 31. Billerica (Mass.), 800; 32. Hollis/Brookline, 936; 33. Alvirne, 965; 34. Sanford (Maine), 967; 35. Manchester Memorial, 975; 36. Dover, 1,032; 37. Bedford, 1,048; 38. Nashua South, 1,100; 39. Spaulding, 1,184; 40. Manchester Central, 1,190.

NH individual results: 4 Forest MacKenzie, Concord, 16:03; 10. Eli Boesch Dining, Concord, 16:13; 12. Colin Donnelly, Winnacunnet, 16:28; 17. Joseph Curran, Nashua North, 16:34.

ahall@unionleader.com


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