The Start of the 2017 Clipper Relays Girls Race. Photo by Ken Castro.
1. Clipper Relays, Maudsley State Park, Newburyport, MA: September 7th
The only relay race on our list, the Clipper Relays is one of the wildest invitationals of the season. With 223 boys relay teams and 157 girls relay teams competing in the 2018 meet, the 3 by 2 Mile relay race through the woods of Maudslay State park is a must see event. The race starts with hundreds of athletes funneling from the main field of the park into the significantly narrower paths that lead to the woods. Just as the athletes string out a bit, they are brought back together when tens of athletes simultaneously try to find their relay partner.
On the girls side last year, the Exeter High School Girls A team took home first place in the meet with a time of 35:55 - an average mile time of 5:59. On the boys side, the Wellesley High School Boys A team took home first place with a time of 29:21 - an average mile time of 4:54.
2. 12th Annual Martha's Vineyard Cross Country Invitational, Martha's Vineyard, MA: September 7th
One of the more difficult invitationals to get to for most of Massachusetts, the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School hosted Invitational hoists a meet for those wanting to spend their Saturday running on the island. The race takes place at Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, which offers both a great course for runners and a great viewing experience - especially for the start and finish of the race.
The invitational offers a Freshmen race, a Junior Varsity race, and a Varsity race - the latter two being 5000 meter races while the Freshmen race is a 3k race. Last year, Shane Henderson ran a 16:07.38 to take home first place in the Boys Varsity race for Old Saybrook High School, just beating out Imanuel Fernandez (16:08.76) of Brockton High School. Shepherd Hill Regional High School's Rebekah James took home the victory in the Girls Varsity race in a time of 18:45.11, leading Shepherd Hill Regional High School to a team victory in the race.
3. Amherst Invitational, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA: September 21st
The Amherst Invitational is a meet that brought together 23 Boys and 20 Girls teams together last year for both a Varsity and Junior Varsity race. Run through the Hampshire College course, the Amherst Invitational features three different boys and girls races - Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Freshmen.
The Boys Varsity race featured six boys that ran sub 16:00, three of which - Matthew Kleiman (15:56.00), Alex Ehrenthal (15:58.00), and William Chaffin (15:58.00) - were from Concord Carlisle High School. However, the pack was lead by New Milford High School's Eli Nahom, who finished in a time of 15:40.00. The girls side featured a runaway by the local runner from Amherst-Pelham Regional High School, Sophia Jacobs-Townsley, who finished with a time of 18:11.00. The home team, Amherst-Pelham Regional High School, also won the Girls Varsity race as a team, followed up with a third place team finish in both the Freshmen and the Junior Varsity races.
4. Catholic Memorial Invitational, Franklin Park Zoo, Boston, MA: October 19th
The Invitational that runs around one of the MIAA All States Championship venues, the Franklin Park Zoo, the Catholic Memorial Invitational is a meet that brought 40 teams together to race along a beautiful course. The invitational is split up into a boys and girls 3000 meter Freshmen race alongside the 5000 meter boys and girls Varsity race. Furthermore, the race starts and ends in a large field that is great for spectators, but still has great paths through the woods for the runners.
Last season, the Freshmen races were won by Frederick (Freddy) Coleman of Methuen High School (10:33.00) for the boys and Erin Moran of Arlington Catholic High School (12:53.00) - who was actually in 7th Grade at the time - for the girls. Franklin High School would win the boys Varsity race behind a 1-2 finish by Tyler Brogan (16:16.00) and Michael Hagen (16:17.00). Lexington High School would take home the girls race behind Danna Ofek's second place performance (19:39.00), 5 seconds behind Nashua North High School's Arianna Braccio.
The Frank kelley Invitational in Wrentham is one of the best invitationals for spectators. With the entire race run though the Wrentham Developmental Center fields, viewers do not have to move far to see the entirety of the course. Furthermore, this invitational is run at the same course as the MIAA Eastern Division Championship, making it a great invitational to attend in order to learn the course ahead of the division championship weekend.
Last season Sam Acquaviva of Newburyport High School took home first place in the Boys Championship race with a time of 15:53.40. The Girls Championship race was won by Littleton High School's Sarah Roffman with a time of 18:30.30. The Frank Kelley Invitational also has a Freshmen/Sophomore 3000m race which was won by Sebastian Gilligan of Masconomet Regional High School (10:01.60) for the boys and Lashley Molly of Whitinsville Christian (11:48.90).
Did your favorite invitational not make the cut? Send us a tweet @MileSplitMass to let us know your favorite.