New Hampshire programs will look for a better showing than last year at the 45th annual Manchester Invitational on Saturday at Derryfield Park.
The Oyster River of Durham boys’ team won the small school division but the boys’ large school and both the girls’ small and large school crowns went to out-of-state teams last season.
Bishop Hendricken of Warwick, R.I., won the boys’ large school title for a second consecutive season, Champlain Valley of Hinesburg, Vt., repeated as the girls’ large school champion and Immaculate of Danbury, Conn., won the girls’ small school division last fall.
Merrimack Valley of Penacook sophomore Sophia Reynolds, who was named the Gatorade New Hampshire Girls’ Cross Country Runner of the Year last season, is the defending girls’ small school individual champion. She won last year’s race as a freshman with a time of 18 minutes, 48 seconds, which was 12 seconds ahead of the runner-up, graduated ConVal of Peterborough senior Rachel Hurley.
There is certain to be a new individual boys’ small school champion. Reynolds’ older brother, David, who won last year’s race in 16:15, graduated last school year.
Three New Hampshire runners placed among the top 10 in last year’s girls’ large school race. Nashua South junior Cali Coffin (17:59) finished runner-up, Bishop Guertin of Nashua senior Caroline Fischer (18:21) placed third and Coe-Brown Northwood Academy junior Addison Cox (19:07) finished ninth in last season’s race.
Winnacunnet of Hampton senior Colin Donnelly is New Hampshire’s highest returning finisher from last year’s boys’ large school race. Donnelly placed 12th overall and third among New Hampshire runners with his time of 16:28. Forest MacKenzie and Eli Boesch-Dining, who were seniors at Concord last year, placed fourth and 10th, respectively in last fall’s race.
MacKenzie, a Deerfield resident, now runs at the University of New Hampshire and was named this week’s America East Conference male performer of the week. He won his first collegiate race in UNH’s dual-meet win at Maine last Friday.
45th Manchester Invitational schedule
9 a.m.: Girls’ freshman race
9:30 a.m.: Boys’ freshman race
10 a.m.: Girls “C” JV race
10:30 a.m.: Boys’ “C” JV race
11 a.m.: Girls’ “B” JV race
11:30 a.m.: Boys’ “B” JV race
Noon: Girls’ varsity small school race
12:30 p.m.: Boys’ varsity small school race
1 p.m.: Girls’ varsity large school race
1:30 p.m.: Boys’ varsity large school race
2:15 p.m.: Varsity awards ceremony