Tomahawks run well at Invitational

The Merrimack High School girls team, Souhegan’s Eli Moskowitz, and the water vendors were the big winners at Saturday’s steamy Manchester Invitational cross country meet at Derryfield Park.

After learning her Tomahawk girls had won the large school division despite being the smallest-sized school, coach Cathy Merra fittingly attributed the victory to her team’s “summer running.” She no doubt was referencing her team’s dedication, but it was also fitting considering the race felt like summer running, with temperatures into the 80’s and the sun beating down on the largely treeless Derryfield slopes.

In fact, the large school race that the Tomahawks won was the most grueling of all the races, with so many runners collapsing at the finish line that the medical tent was to capacity.

Merra was particularly pleased because two of her team’s top-five finishers – Bailey Carillo and Grace Corbett – are just freshmen. The three other scoring Tomahawks were Sarah House, Erica Lane and Brittaney Gravellese.

The same race also featured a spectacular showing by Alvirne’s Shaylyn Saunders, who finished third with the area’s second-best individual finish. Broncos coach Jeff DiPrizito was pleased with Saunders’ performance.

“I think she’ll be in the 19’s (on this course),” said DiPrizio, who was also pleased with the performance of teammate Katie Bellomo. The race was loaded with local competitors, with Alvirne finishing ninth followed consecutively by Hollis Brookline and Nashua North. Nashua South finished 15th.

Winning the boys large school race, Moskowitz was the area’s only individual winner, coming out of the wooded section of the course with a 10-yard lead with a half-mile to go. From there, he pulled away on the zig-zag uphill finish to the course, winning easily. One spectator was prompted to remark “he looks like he could have run another five miles.”

Souhegan coach Geoffrey Wilson wasn’t surprised by Moskowitz’s strong performance, noting “he’s running very well. His workouts are amazing.”

Alvirne, considered by many to be the area’s best boys team, was hit by some illness and had a few subpar performances, although DiPrizito lauded the performances of Noah Cote and Kyle Saunders as the Broncos finished 10th.

Wilson had his girls team petition up to the elite class race, where the Sabers finished seventh out of seven teams, but, as Wilson pointed out, may have performed like the seventh best girls team at the entire meet, which featured 72 girls teams from all New England states.

In fact, he opted for the Elite race based on the competition as well as the less crowded format. The two large school races resembled something out of a “Braveheart” battle scene. Souhegan’s Madeline Hunt finished seventh in the race.

Bishop Guertin’s boys team placed fifth in the small school race, led by the seventh-place finish of Christopher Fischer.