Granite State Games wait for approval

Pat Mulcahy can sense it. After a bevy of activity the past few weeks, he’s hoping his vision of the Granite State Games can take the next most significant step.

Mulcahy, who has built an organization known as the New Hampshire Annual Sports Competition Foundation, Inc., to create, fund and run the Games for a late June launch, is hoping that tryouts can begin for a couple of sports after the fall high school season ends.

That all depends, he said, on whether it can be done with the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association’s blessing. Mulcahy and his group want to be sure that holding regional tryouts for some sports will not violate the NHIAA eligibility rules.

“We’ve built an incredible infrastructure,” said Mulcahy, also the Bishop Guertin High School girls soccer coach. “But with or without that, if nobody shows up for tryouts, it’s a waste.”

Let’s review what Mulcahy announced last March: He wants to make something similar to Massachusetts’ Bay State Games a reality in New Hampshire for June 25-28 for athletes who will be entering their freshman year in high school in the fall of 2015 through those who will be seniors in 2015-16. The extravaganza will include seven sports: field hockey (girls only), volleyball, lacrosse, soccer, basketball, tennis and track and field. Teams will represent four regions: Monadnock, Southern, Lakes Region, and Seacoast.

As many as 1,000 athletes could be competing, and about four months ago Mulcahy reached an agreement to hold most of the events at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, with Derryfield School, just down the road from SNHU, helping out as well. Pinkerton Academy, however, would serve as the site for boys and girls track and field. Mulcahy said he tried to see if track and field could be held in Manchester but couldn’t get together on a meeting with city and school officials there.

That, he said, will not be a problem with the NHIAA.

“We’re trying to create some synergy with the NHIAA,” Mulcahy said, adding that is being mainly handled by Pinkerton athletic director Tim Powers. “We want to get clarification on the rules, rules for tryouts, etc. We don’t want to make the same mistake that others have made.

“It’s all set up nicely and we want everyone to know we’re not trying to discourage kids from competing in high school sports.”

For example, last spring several athletes at Nashua High School North and South had to sit out a couple of games due to violating NHIAA eligibility rules by competing in a spring hockey tournament in New York.

Preliminary talks with the NHIAA, Mulcahy said, have revealed that the organization wants to talk to the people in charge of the Bay State Games to see how that is all handled in terms of tryout dates, etc.

Once all eligibility issues are resolved, Mulcahy says it’s imperative to get the word out to high school athletes as soon as possible. Emails have been sent out to all athletic directors in the state, he said, informing them of the Games, and the organization’s plans.

Of course, the entire operation depends on funding. Mulcahy estimates that it will cost $90,000 to put the event on, and about $50,000 of that has been already raised.

Meanwhile, Mulcahy announced that 50 percent of the proceeds will be donated to youth sports organizations throughout the state, and scholarships will also be given through the proceeds to one male and one female athlete from each region (eight scholarships in total).

Each sport has a director – Pinkerton boys coach Kerry Boles for soccer, Nashua area AAU coach Roger Dunning for basketball, Milford coach Mike Wright for track, former Nashua South coach Bonny Ducharme for volleyball, SNHU assistant Melissa Grant for field hockey, New Hampshire youth coach Chris Wheeler for boys lacrosse and former Souhegan and Boston Univeristy standout McKinley Curro for girls lacrosse, and Milford coach Nancy McManus for tennis. There are other school sports figures on a board of directors.

“We’re also trying to get an AD in each region to be an advisor,” Mulcahy said. “Everything is going extremely well. We have an incredible team which is outstanding. The one thing I’m nervous about is getting info out to the kids.”