Granite State Games will return in June

Let the Games continue for Year Two.

Yes, the Granite State Games, the brainchild of Bishop Guertin High School girls soccer coach Pat Mulcahy, will return in late June for a second year.

Last summer’s inaugural event had its ups and downs – far more ups, it seems – and Mulcahy is prepared to make improvements for the second year of Olympic-style games for student athletes currently in the eighth grade through junior year in high school.

The Games, which run from June 20-26, will feature the return of field hockey, boys and girls lacrosse, outdoor track, basketball and volleyball, as well as the addition of golf and softball.

The venues will be Southern New Hampshire University, The Derryfield School (softball), Manchester Memorial (track and field), and Sky Meadow Country Club (golf). Memorial, a closer venue to the main base at SNHU, is replacing Derry’s Pinkerton Academy as the track venue.

"I thought last year was a great success," Mulcahy said. "We had about 823 student athletes, and the turnout was spectacular. We had hundreds of schools and towns represented.

"The biggest surprise – the pleasant surprise – was there was so much parity around the state in terms of the winners."

Indeed, Mulcahy was nervous the Southern and Seacoast Region teams would dominate because they had the bigger schools, but the Monadnock Region (boys basketball, soccer) and Lakes Region (girl lacrosse) won gold medals. Those regions will be the competitors again this year, with a few schools shifted from one to another (example, Bow joins Monadnock from Lakes).

Help in putting the event on will still be limited, Mulcahy said, but he’s expecting about 1,000 student athletes competing, an increase from last year.

"I thought our team did an outstanding job," Mulcahy said. "We had interns to help out and our board was hands on. … But 12 wasn’t too many, so it was all hands on deck. But it’s awesome to have a team that is into the project, very hands on."

The flaw? Communication. Mulcahy said the email system the Games used to get information to the athletes and parents was not quick enough, so they have brought in a new computerized system that will get info to the athletes with one stroke of a key.

"We’ll have a new system where we can get emails to the participants saying things like ‘Don’t forget about the Opening Ceremony, be here by 1,’ etc. … It was all on us."

Mulcahy said it will help take that responsibility away from the coaches.

"They don’t want to do that, it’s a lot of work," he said, adding that coaches will actually be paid a small stipend for their work this year. Last year everyone was strictly volunteer.

"We think that’s needed," Mulcahy said.

Mulcahy said the help from athletic directors and school officials has increased. Last year, as he noted, most ADs were "a little afraid of it" because of potential athlete eligibility issues with the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association. Those issues never really materialized and "I wouldn’t say we have their buy-in, but they’re not afraid of it anymore."

Unfortunately, some potential sponsors are.

The event’s operating budget is about $100,000, Mulcahy said, but some sponsors from last year didn’t renew, a loss of perhaps $25,000 that he and his board are looking to replace.

Some of that lost money, Mulcahy said, can be picked up with the Games’ new communication system in terms of collecting student athlete fees (it costs $130 per athlete).

"We had some kids at the last minute say ‘Oh, I’ll play,’ and we didn’t do a good job tracking that," he said. "This year, everything will be tracked. We left a lot of money on the table."

Still, the event actually finished in the black last year and $500 in proceeds were donated to the New Hampshire Food Bank.

Mulcahy was surprised at the loss of sponsors.

"They want to help, but they didn’t see much value in it, which I understand," he said. "We’re hoping to recoup that with additional sponors. … That’s the biggest challenge this year, the dollars. Last year it was getting the word out, this year the biggest concern is the dollars. … We think this year people know about it and we’ll have some brand awareness."

All of this year’s finals will stream live online with PackNetwork. Lacrosse will begin early in the week with the opening ceremonies set for Thursday, June 23.

Does Mulcahy believe the idea that he conjured up just sitting at home one night a couple of years ago is coming to worthwhile fruition?

"It most certainly has," he said. "It’s a lot of work, it’s become almost a full-time job. The best thing for me last year was seeing kids who were rivals in high school be on the same teams together."

Adding the two sports wasn’t difficult.

"It’s relatively easy to add sports," Mulcahy said. "We just need to find a director for that sport."

For example, New Hampshire Softball Coaches Association president Dave Hedge contacted Mulcahy about softball, offering to organize its addition. Hollis Brookline golf coach James Turner is in charge of golf (eight boys and 12 girls per team).

"I would say it’s been a little easier, most of our directors are back," Mulcahy said. "It’s raising money, now tryouts (softball and field hockey rosters have been picked), and once we get the tryouts done, it’s event planning."

Also with some scholarship money handed out, Mulcahy thinks the athletes are getting something out of it.

"I think we’ll get 1,000 kids for sure this year," he said. "I think a lot of kids really enjoyed it. … I think the kids bought into it. The parents bought into it. It’s one weekend, minimal travel and it’s a much different animal than say AAU or travel soccer. I think it’s been good."

The Granite State Games, Volume Two, is on its way.

Granite State Games will return in June

Let the Games continue for Year Two.

Yes, the Granite State Games, the brainchild of Bishop Guertin High School girls soccer coach Pat Mulcahy, will return in late June for a second year.

Last summer’s inaugural event had its ups and downs – far more ups, it seems – and Mulcahy is prepared to make improvements for the second year of Olympic-style games for student athletes currently in the eighth grade through junior year in high school.

The Games, which run from June 20-26, will feature the return of field hockey, boys and girls lacrosse, outdoor track, basketball and volleyball, as well as the addition of golf and softball.

The venues will be Southern New Hampshire University, The Derryfield School (softball), Manchester Memorial (track and field), and Sky Meadow Country Club (golf). Memorial, a closer venue to the main base at SNHU, is replacing Derry’s Pinkerton Academy as the track venue.

"I thought last year was a great success," Mulcahy said. "We had about 823 student athletes, and the turnout was spectacular. We had hundreds of schools and towns represented.

"The biggest surprise – the pleasant surprise – was there was so much parity around the state in terms of the winners."

Indeed, Mulcahy was nervous the Southern and Seacoast Region teams would dominate because they had the bigger schools, but the Monadnock Region (boys basketball, soccer) and Lakes Region (girl lacrosse) won gold medals. Those regions will be the competitors again this year, with a few schools shifted from one to another (example, Bow joins Monadnock from Lakes).

Help in putting the event on will still be limited, Mulcahy said, but he’s expecting about 1,000 student athletes competing, an increase from last year.

"I thought our team did an outstanding job," Mulcahy said. "We had interns to help out and our board was hands on. … But 12 wasn’t too many, so it was all hands on deck. But it’s awesome to have a team that is into the project, very hands on."

The flaw? Communication. Mulcahy said the email system the Games used to get information to the athletes and parents was not quick enough, so they have brought in a new computerized system that will get info to the athletes with one stroke of a key.

"We’ll have a new system where we can get emails to the participants saying things like ‘Don’t forget about the Opening Ceremony, be here by 1,’ etc. … It was all on us."

Mulcahy said it will help take that responsibility away from the coaches.

"They don’t want to do that, it’s a lot of work," he said, adding that coaches will actually be paid a small stipend for their work this year. Last year everyone was strictly volunteer.

"We think that’s needed," Mulcahy said.

Mulcahy said the help from athletic directors and school officials has increased. Last year, as he noted, most ADs were "a little afraid of it" because of potential athlete eligibility issues with the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association. Those issues never really materialized and "I wouldn’t say we have their buy-in, but they’re not afraid of it anymore."

Unfortunately, some potential sponsors are.

The event’s operating budget is about $100,000, Mulcahy said, but some sponsors from last year didn’t renew, a loss of perhaps $25,000 that he and his board are looking to replace.

Some of that lost money, Mulcahy said, can be picked up with the Games’ new communication system in terms of collecting student athlete fees (it costs $130 per athlete).

"We had some kids at the last minute say ‘Oh, I’ll play,’ and we didn’t do a good job tracking that," he said. "This year, everything will be tracked. We left a lot of money on the table."

Still, the event actually finished in the black last year and $500 in proceeds were donated to the New Hampshire Food Bank.

Mulcahy was surprised at the loss of sponsors.

"They want to help, but they didn’t see much value in it, which I understand," he said. "We’re hoping to recoup that with additional sponors. … That’s the biggest challenge this year, the dollars. Last year it was getting the word out, this year the biggest concern is the dollars. … We think this year people know about it and we’ll have some brand awareness."

All of this year’s finals will stream live online with PackNetwork. Lacrosse will begin early in the week with the opening
ceremonies set for Thursday, June 23.

Does Mulcahy believe the idea that he conjured up just sitting at home one night a couple of years ago is coming to worthwhile fruition?

"It most certainly has," he said. "It’s a lot of work, it’s become almost a full-time job. The best thing for me last year was seeing kids who were rivals in high school be on the same teams together."

Adding the two sports wasn’t difficult.

"It’s relatively easy to add sports," Mulcahy said. "We just need to find a director for that sport."

For example, New Hampshire Softball Coaches Association president Dave Hedge contacted Mulcahy about softball, offering to organize its addition. Hollis Brookline golf coach James Turner is in charge of golf (eight boys and 12 girls per team).

"I would say it’s been a little easier, most of our directors are back," Mulcahy said. "It’s raising money, now tryouts (softball and field hockey rosters have been picked), and once we get the tryouts done, it’s event planning."

Also with some scholarship money handed out, Mulcahy thinks the athletes are getting something out of it.

"I think we’ll get 1,000 kids for sure this year," he said. "I think a lot of kids really enjoyed it. … I think the kids bought into it. The parents bought into it. It’s one weekend, minimal travel and it’s a much different animal than say AAU or travel soccer. I think it’s been good."

The Granite State Games, Volume Two, is on its way.