More than 350 runners are expected to make the trip to Northfield Mountain this Saturday for the annual Dick Atkinson Invitational.
With the league championships underway and only a week removed from the heavily-populated Twilight Invitational, the numbers are lower than a typical statewide Invitational.
But the meet, which honors the late legendary high school coach and founder of the Western Massachusetts indoor track league, still attracts some top competition each and every year.
It will be no different on Saturday.
Here we list some of the top runners we expect will be among our leaders at Northfield.
Evelyn Wool, Bromfield
Wool is the defending Division 3 champion. The talented junior, who was also fourth at the Meet of Champions and a runner-up at the Mid-Wach Championships in 2022, is coming off a PR performance at the Twilight Invitational. She was third overall in the Large School race with a impressive 18:27 clocking for the 5K course. Wool also went sub-19 at last month’s Frank Kelley Invitational where she placed seventh overall in 18:55.2
Avery Murphy, Murdock
Murphy’s another runner who had their best effort on Twilight’s quick 5K at the Cape Cod Fairgrounds. The Blue Devils junior was sixth overall in the Small School race where she was timed in a PR of 18:46.2. In 2022, Murphy was a victor at Mid-Wach and a runner-up to Wool at the Div. 3C meet. She was also eighth at the MOC in 2022. With some history between them, our individual champion could be either Wool or Murphy.
Olivia Pendleton, Dennis Yarmouth
Look for Pendleton to be one of our top finishers this weekend. She was consistently under 20 minutes last year, highlighted by a seventh-place showing at the Div. 2C meet where she raced to a then best of 19:44.1 for the 3.1-mile layout at Stanley Park. Last weekend, she was tenth overall in the Small School race at Twilight where she posted an all-time best of 19:26.1.
Rose Bradley, Bromfield
Bradley has shown some promise this fall after a solid freshman campaign in 2021. She ran 19:38 at Wrentham in late September to place 20th at the Frank Kelley Invitational. This past weekend at Twilight, she broke 19 minutes for the first time, crossing the line in 18:59.8, an effort that placed her 16th overall in the Large School race.
Ben McCarthy, Millis
McCarthy has the fastest time among all the entries this season after his performance at the Twilight Invitational. The senior harrier was 18th in the Small School race where he was timed in 16:17.75.
James Regan, Hamilton Wenham
Regan is experiencing his best season as a high-schooler. He was seventh at last month’s Ocean State Invitational where he finished with a time of 16:29.6. A week later, he clocked a PR of 16:19.9 at the Frank Kelley Invitational to take 15th overall. He also went low 17 minutes at the Bay State Invitational at Fort Devens.
Ben Rich, Hamilton Wenham
Rich has shown dramatic improvement from his sophomore season in 2022. He raced to his all-time best of 16:28.2 at the Frank Kelley Invitational, which is two minutes faster than the time he ran at Wrentham last year at the Cape Ann League Championships. Rich also went 17:21.6 at the Ocean State Invitational, a minute best from a year earlier. His most recent performance was a tenth-place finish at the Bay State Invitational on Oct. 7 where he finished with a time of 17:04.1.
Ben McWaters. Bromfield
Here’s a young runner we expect will be battling with our leaders this weekend. McWaters, a freshman, clocked at PR of 16:29.2 at the Frank Kelley Invitational last month. This past weekend, the gifted underclassman ran 17-minutes flat to place sixth in the Sophomore race at the Twilight Invitational.
ORDER OF RACES
11:00 a.m. – Junior Varsity Boys Race 5K
11:40 – Junior Varsity Girls Race 5K
12:20 p.m. – Varsity Boys Race 5K
1:00 – Varsity Girls Race 5K