By Mike Smith
Well, Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner which means it’s time for the Division 3 State Championships where we get to see who’s on top of the D3 heap. Back to our old format, Pre-Covid, the D3 championship will take place Saturday, May 28th at 4pm at Pelham High School. Due to scheduling conflicts we will be using a D2 host to get this one in.
Girls Team Predictions
In the season preview, I gave the nod to Hopkinton and their returning crew. However Newfound has quietly been gathering steam, is more well rounded and should provide a challenge to the Hawks. Looking potentially to spoil the show could be Newmarket or Conant as both teams have a bit of depth and some diversity among their scoring athletes. If either of these teams are on fire, they could spoil the proceedings.
Sam Boette of Wilton-Lyndeborough did return to the top of the D3 ranks in the 100 and 200, but Belmont’s Emma Winslow tops the 100 with a time of 13.12. Boette’s right behind in 13.13 and is the top seed in the 200 with a 27.14. Newfound’s Elle MacDonald is third in the 100 and fifth in the 200 and will be key in scoring points towards the team title for the Bears. Monadnock’s Liliana Chirichella and Campbell’s Ava Houle sit in 2nd and 3rd in the 200.
In hurdles, Newport’s Maddox Lovely tops both distances, well out in front of her challengers in both events. Newfound teammates Molly Lu McKeller and Stacia Paul sit in the second spot in the 100 highs and the 300 lows respectively.
Monadnock’s Chirichella sits atop the 400 meter entries, almost a 2 second advantage over Newmarket’s Alana Hagen. Portsmouth Christian’s Brianna Malone, last year’s winner in the 400 will be looking to go after Anna Harmon’s 800 meter division record of 2:17.02 and considering she’s already run in the 2:16s a number of times this season, this is a very real possibility. She’s almost ten seconds up on Newport’s Taylor Fellows and Hopkinton’s Cailey Stockwell who will be leading the chase pack.
Hopkinton teammates Anna O’Reilly and Hannah Bennett are listed as 1-3 in the 1600 with Newmarket’s Hagen splitting the duo. PCA’s Malone will be back in the 3200, making for a unique double attempt. She has a comfortable 40 second cushion on the field. Bishop Brady’s Katie Palmeteer and Bennett will be battling for second or possibly first if the 800 meter record attempt has burned all the gas in Malone’s tank.
Newport’s Lovely tops the field in high jump with a 4-11 entry. Kearsarge’s Amelia Lefebvre, Trinity’s Allie Norwesh and Newmarket’s Kaitlyn Bussell are all one inch back at 4-10. In the preview, I had tapped Hopkinton’s Grace Hall as the one to watch in the horizontal jumps after winning both the long and triple jump last year. She is the leader in triple at 35-2, but Campbell’s Houle has a 6 inch advantage in long jump with a 16-10 mark and is second in triple as well. Newfound’s Malina Bohlmann will be looking to steal points in long jump and Moultonborough’s Sarah Dubois holds the third position in triple jump. Pole vault gets really interesting with Newfound holding the top four positions (Bohlmann, Taylor Mooney, Cassandra Zick and Mikayla Ulwick) and will be key to earning a team title.
In the preview I had mentioned to keep an eye on Mascoma’s Opal Schinnlinger and I was correct in that as she leads the discus by over 20 feet (121-1)but is the second seed in shot put to Newfound’s Paulina Huckins (37-5) by 8 inches. Huckins teammate Isabelle LaPlume (100-6) sits in the second spot in disc with Fall Mountain’s Sierra Proper a foot back (99-6.) Somersworth’s Grace Bronkema (107-7) has a one foot advantage over Newfound’s Bohlmann in javelin.
Predicting relays is always tough, as teams mix up the members of their teams in order to score the most amount of points. Recognizable during the seeding meeting, some teams stack the relays while others substitute in alternates. What I can say is Belmont tops the list in the 4×100, while Newmarket holds the top spot in the 4×400 and 4×800 relays.
Boys Team Predictions
In the season preview I mentioned Kearsarge as the team to keep your eye on, however in the offseason the Conant boys have amassed a team custom built to challenging the ranks of D3. With multi-event virtuosos Ethan Vitello and Ben Sawyer, a talented thrower in Garrett Somero, and enough depth to stack up some points in most of the events I feel they are the team to watch. Gilford will also be in the chase, with the talented Patrick Gandini leading their charge. If there are teams in a position to displace Conant or Gilford it’s likely Newfound or Monadnock. Newfound is well rounded while Monadnock has the potential for some big individual points if things go well. We’ll have to wait and see.
In the preview I mentioned returning champions Tim Kelm of Portsmouth Christian and JJ Davis of Kearsarge. Both names are a top the leaderboards in those events they are returning champions, Kelm (11.24) in the 100 and Davis in the 400. Davis is also listed as the fourth seed in the 100, and Kelm is 6th in the 200. Leading the 200 is Conant’s multi-man Vitello with 22.75. Bishop Brady’s Josh Gentchos is the #2 seed in the 100 with Mascoma’s Logan Gilmore #2 in the 200.
Trinity’s Tyler Geffrard is the only 110 hurdler under 17 seconds (16.69) with Moandock’s Jack Lorenz the only guy under 43 in the 300 hurdles. Lorenz is #2 in the 110 hurdles with Gilford’s Aiden Malek #2 in the 300 hurdles with Geffrard third.
JJ Davis leads the 400 along with InterLakes Owen Carney, both having run 50.34. Monadnock’s Mitchell Hill is the only one under the 2 minute mark in the 800, but don’t be fooled by Gilford’s Gandini that fulfilled the trifecta last year and is looking to do it again this year. He is the top seed in the 1600 and 3200, with Hill the second seed in the 1600 and PCA’s Jonas Teeter is the best of the rest in the 3200.
Conant’s Ben Sawyer is the only jumper above 6 feet (6-1) with Fall Mountain’s Brady Elliott having cleared 6-0. No surprise in the leader in long and triple jump, with State record holder Shane Wang of Concord Christian leading triple with 48-2 over Conant’s Vitello at 43-1.25. Wang also leads Conant’s Sawyer and Vitello in long jump, with those three the only ones to clear the 20 foot mark. Kearsarge’s August Zock, Newfound’s Dalton Dion, Campbell’s Keegan Reynolds and White Mountain’s Elijah Beaulieu are all listed at 10 feet even in the pole vault. Your champion should come from that pool.
Conant’s surprise champion in shot put last year is this year’s top seed, having thrown 43-2. Belmont’s Brian Miles is in second with 42-4 and Mascenic’s Jimmy Crawford (40-9) is one inch better than Newports Kyle Ashley (40-8) as the putters reaching the 40 foot mark. Somero is also ranked third in discus, with Belmont’s Miles
top seed with a throw of 131-1 to be nine feet clear of the field. Newfound’s Trevor Sanshagrin is in second and one of the places Newfound needs those points towards the championship title. Campbell’s Justin Edmonds leads javelin with a throw of 160 feet. Newport’s Ashley and Hopkinton’s Max Bishop are the other two having thrown over 150 feet.
Again, predicting relays is near impossible as often the lineup that ran the seed time are not the all the athletes running in the relay at States. With that said, Mascenic is the top seed in the 4×800, with Kearsarge the top seed in the 4×100 relay. But what could turn into the greatest show of the day is the 4×400, where #1 Conant will rely on Vitello, while #3 will rely on Gandini to score as many points as possible. Not to forget Campbell in the #2 slot but it’s possible the title could come down to this race.