EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

July 12, 2014

Granite State Games calling all athletes

High school athletes can compete on regional teams

High school athletes in New Hampshire will have a new opportunity to compete in 2015 during the inaugural Granite State Games.

While high school athletic competitions are divided by divisions and each team’s proximity to each other, the Granite State Games allow students to try out for regional teams in several sports.

“It’s more or less like the Olympics,” said executive director Patrick Mulcahy of Merrimack. “We bring in the best athletes despite their high school.”

The first year, teams will be chosen for soccer, lacrosse, basketball, track and field, volleyball, and tennis for both genders, as well as girls field hockey.

“Being in our first year — the games take place next year — we wanted to start off with seven sports,” Mulcahy said. “The ultimate goal is to replicate the Olympics and add team sports and individual sports.”

There will be four regions for students to compete for: Lakes, Southern, Coastal and Monadnock. Students can find which region they should try out for by going to granitestategames.org/about/regional-map/.

Mulcahy said regional pride is a large part of the games, but it is also an affordable option compared to playing for a club or premier team.

“It’s bringing a sense of state,” said president Tom Labonville of Windham. “Just kind of celebrating New Hampshire as a sports state.”

Winning teams and individuals will have the opportunity travel to the State Games of America and compete against teams from 31 other states with similar competitions.

College and professional scouts will also attend the games to find the best future athletes in New Hampshire.

“It’s bringing people together from all over the state at a high level of competition and giving students the opportunity to prepare for college athletics and getting scouted for college athletics without leaving New Hampshire,” said vice president Amanda Maseli of Nashua.

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