Friday, August 29, 2014

Granite State Games Coming in 2015

Bragging rights will be on the line, the state's top athletes will be on display as players from all regions of the state will compete in seven different sports - and it will all be done for a great cause. It's the first annual Granite State Games, and it take place June 25-28, 2015 at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester. The event is for athletes in the Classes of 2016, 2017 and 2018.

"There's already a lot of excitement building around the event" said Roger Dunning, the Granite State Games Director of Basketball. "The games are all about character and integrity, but they're also about giving back. It's a non-profit event, so any money that is collected goes directly into a scholarship fund for NH athletes."

June 25 will be the opening ceremony, with the games taking place June 26-28 at SNHU. A statewide tournament will take place for the following seven sports - basketball, soccer, track & field, tennis, lacrosse, volleyball and field hockey. For each tournament there will be a boys division and a girls division. The state will be broken into 4 regions - Monadnock Region, South Region, Seacoast Region and Lakes Region. Each division will have 1 team from each region.

"The Lakes Region will contain everything north of Concord" Dunning told the NH Notebook. "The South Region will consist of Nashua, Manchester, Londonderry, etc. the Monadnock region will be the western part of the state including Keene and Lebanon. The Seacoast Region will have Dover, Portsmouth, Rochester, etc. Any individual residing in NH and attending school in NH is eligible. This includes prep school players, but we may limit how many prep school players are on a team to keep it competitive."

The founder of the Granite State Games is Pat Mulcahy. He is working in conjunction with the National Association of State Games. Mulcahy, Dunning and the rest of their team are looking to mirror the Bay State Games (MA) and Empire State Games (NY). There are over 30 states across the country who do a 'state games' event. In each state they are an olympic-style event for high school age athletes, bringing the state's top athletes together in one place for a weekend of competition and fun.

"The main attraction in my opinion is the boys and girls basketball tournaments" commented Dunning, who has coached the Nashua Catholic boys basketball team and NE Flames AAU. "John Fagula will be coaching the South Region girls team. He was one of the first guys I called up when planning this. John has been gracious and is happy to be involved. His assistant coach will be Kayle Tave, who is the head girls basketball coach at Nashua Catholic. On the boys side, the South Region team will be coached by Merrimack High's Tim Goodridge, and his assistant will be Austin Denton. The other coaches for the basketball tournament will be named soon."

This is not an invite-only event. Any NH athlete who resides in and attends school in NH is welcome to sign up. From there, tryouts will take place beginning June 1, 2015. However according to Dunning, they plan on holding the basketball tryouts the last weekend of March, in an effort to get the kids committed to the event sooner before they get too wrapped up in their AAU season. Each team will consist of 10-12 players. They'll play each of the other 3 teams in their division in 'pool play', and then will be seeded based on their record in pool play for single elimination playoffs and championship games.

The folks who are running the Granite State Games are not only aiming to raise scholarship money for NH athletes, but they are also hoping this event provides exposure opportunities for the kids.

"Most of the players participating will be kids who have just finished their junior year of high school, with maybe a few sophomores and freshmen" explained Dunning, who played high school and college basketball in Maine. "This is a key time in the recruitment for many of these athletes. We've been talking to college coaches who are excited to see so many top recruits all in one place. We have received confirmation from over 40 college coaches in various sports who will be in attendance."

The NH Notebook will be in attendance covering this event. Keep checking this site as the event gets closer for more information. Also visit www.granitestategames.org for more info or to sign up.

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