Contrary to popular belief, the freshman race was NOT the first race of the day at the Manchester Invitational. Instead, it was the Open Race, featuring Sophia Reynolds mom, Sarah. Sarah would get things off to a great start for MV by winning her division. She then exemplified the fortitude in MVXC’s motto by standing at “Lester Angle” for 8 straight races taking photos, before finally saving the life of an athlete from Spaulding. OK, she may not have saved a life, but she was very helpful and did save our Gatorade towel from heading to Rochester, never to be seen again.
First up for the high schoolers was the Little Kid Race/Tot Trot/Freshman Race. We don’t usually run athletes in this race because it means leaving school earlier, but things worked out and people woke up so Emmaleigh, Victoria, and Taylor lined up in the girls race, while Jack and Trevor ran the boys. The first bit of good news, and it was very good news indeed, was that box #48 was actually at the opposite side of the field from where I had thought, not only giving the girls team an edge spot but the uphill edge, saving at least 6 vertical feet. The boys were sandwiched somewhere in the middle, battling with Bishop Hendricken for foot space. Each athlete tackled the 2.1 mile modified course admirably, with Emmaleigh leading the MV girls and Jack taking down almost half the field to lead the boys.
JVC was next, with Liz and Alexis representing the girls, and Aidan and Mitchell representing the boys. Also running the 2.1 mile course, Liz and Aidan led the way for MV, while Alexis experienced the joys of side stitches for the first time. Nothing like a sword in the side when you’re trying to run a race. It’s not helpful!
On to the JVB race, where they would run a full 5k and the girls actually had enough runners to score as a team! Cassidy, Nicky, MacNeill, Anna, Violet, and Bea ran for the girls, while Tim was the lone MV rep in the largest race of the day, with 344 finishers. Good news for Tim, I believe he ran a PR, AND he survived the thundering herds in one not-smooshed piece. As for the girls, I believe they placed 18th of 24 as a team, but my JVB girls results won’t update, so I’m going off memory. As we try to narrow the huge gap from our 5th scorer on the girls team to the 6th, we’ve had 5 different runners land in the 6th and 7th spot - this time Violet was actually our 6th fastest of the day despite running in the JV race. Tim, for the record, was only 6 seconds from a varsity time.
On to the varsity! For the girls, we finally found a use for all the Gatorade towels that gatorade sent us last year courtesy of Sophia Reynolds. The boys could’ve used them too, but they did not. We had two buckets of ice-water, with towels in them. The girls finished their warm-up and immediately draped the towels over their shoulders. It’s not the cooling of their core body temperature that led to their success, however, it was the intimidation factor of the Gatorade Super Heros. They actually looked pretty cool. Wearing their capes right up to the gun, the girls got off to a great start from their corner of the line. Over the course of the race, Sophia Rebenciuc would lead through the hardest section of the course, eventually ceding the top two spots but holding third. Sophia Reynolds was just behind in 8th, accomplishing the goal of a single-digit score while essentially running at altitude with her diminished breathing capacity. Take a look at the finish chute pictures of the next three girls; Emma, Maddy, and Samantha each had great kicks, passing all the bib numbers in those photos with them. Each one of those is responsible for the 4-point spread that resulted in a very surprising 2nd place finish, the best Manchester Invite finish for MV ever. Sam in particular kicked ALL-THE-WAY-TO-THE-LINE as evidenced in the NHCC footage from the meet. At the end of the day, the girls took second behind a school from Rhode Island, and just ahead of Division rival Souhegan. With the statewide merges, MV finished behind only Bishop Guertin (winner of the large school race) and Souhegan (they had a JV runner who would have been number 4 on their team, giving them the hypothetical win). Carlie and Theresa closed out the scoring for MV, with Carlie somehow running a decent PR (as did Maddie, a tough feat on a hot day on a hard course).
On the boys side, a couple were experiencing the colds that are coursing through the girls team, but still managed to race a very solid race. In the end, the illness probably accounted for 5 places in the Small School Race, but probably not any spots in the DII merged results (24th in Small School, 11th in DII merge). Ethan once again made a monster improvement over last year, placing in the top 50 and as the 25th DII runner on the day. Christian took over as #2, with Isaac as #3, an under-the-weather Mark as #4, and Marshall as the all-important #5. All this time I was thinking Elisha was the most improved over a year ago here, until I just went back to check his finish from 2018 and saw a photo of him and...Isaac! Holy moly Isaac, you took 3 ½ minutes off your time! Maybe it’s been like that all year and I hadn’t noticed, as it seems so normal to see Isaac up front. One thing is for sure, there has been some incredible improvement on this team from a year ago!
On to Pembroke!