By Nate Leveille
The best the state of New Hampshire has to offer will converge at Sanborn Regional High School Saturday afternoon trying to punch their tickets to the New England Championship the following weekend.
Boys to Watch:
- Let’s start with the reigning state record holder and defending champ, Seth Baylus of Merrimack Valley. Looks like a shoe in to win the 100m, but how fast? Can he break his own record? We know he loves the Sanborn Track where he set the record last year. He may get a challenge in the 200m from Nate Fletcher of Portsmouth.
- Speaking of Fletcher, what he did last week at the D1 championships was freakish. I looked back at the 4×400 split at the end of the meet (48.9). With that speed and strength combo, the 300m hurdle record of 37.71 is most definitely in play.
- Brady Ash of Sanborn looks to win a MOC title on his home track as the top seed and only boy under 50 seconds. I anticipate some fresh legs in this event and multiple boys under 50 seconds.
- The clash of Pierce Seigne (Hanover) and Torin Kindopp (Keene) in the 1600m. The state record might be a little out of reach, but with an honest pace, they both could make a run at 4:10.
- Jeremiah Payeur (Dover) narrowly missed a D1 title last week in the 800m, but could he capture the All-State crown this week? He enters as the one seed.
- Teammate Tyler Sheedy (Dover) looks to punch his ticket to New England Championships and get his first MOC crown. He sits with a 10-second advantage over the rest of the field.
- The more wide-open events of the day have got to be the High Hurdles. Christopher Chong (Bedford) enters as the one seed, but Bryce Foster (Memorial) defeated him last week while the entire top 6 are separated by less than a second.
- Ian Solberg (Hanover) and Sami Witta (South) enter as the top seeds in the high jump at 6’4”. There are 8 boys over 6’
- Samuel Epstein (Merrimack) is the defending pole vault champ. He has a 1-foot advantage over the field how high can he go.
- Shane Wang (Concord Christian) dominated and put on a show in the horizontal jumps a year ago. He is the current state record holder in the triple jump and broke his own record a week ago. Can he do it again this week? He enters as the top seed in both the triple and long jump by a wide margin.
- Caden Zalenski (Milford) is the top seed in the boy’s shot he may be challenged by D1 champ Toby Brown or Nashua North.
- Peyton Strickland (Goffstown) enters the discus with a commanding 20-foot advantage. He is also only 2 feet away from the state record 197ft that is 20 years ago!
- Will Jaques (Souhegan) continues the D2 dominance in the throws as the top seed in the Javelin throw with a season-best toss of 168’10”.
- Pinkerton enters as the number 1 seed in 4×100 although a week ago it was Portsmouth getting the win. Don’t count out D2 power Milford.
- Londonderry and Exeter Battled to the wire in the 4×800 a week ago. Throw Hanover and Coe-Brown into the mix and we could have a great 4-way battle for the title.
- Portsmouth enters the 4×400 as the top seed and scratched some of their guys from individual events. Do they have a state record on their mind? 3:23.17 is very very fast but so is Fletcher and company. If Keene can give them a push like they did last week anything is possible.
Girls to Watch:
- Soraya Ross (Nashua South) blitzed the field in the D1 100m and I don’t think she would mind me saying she hung out in the blocks for a while and gave everyone a head start. 12.01 State record is in play if she gets out of those blocks. She has a gear no one else can match.
- Aida Wheat (Kennett) enters as the top seed in the 200m with Alexis Best (Merrimack), Ross and Harriet Barber (Central) all sub 26. This is going to be a very fast 200 meter race and Ross is the defending MOC champ.
- Barber is the top seed in the 400 meter run, but should see a challenge from D3 champ Lilianna Chirichella of Monadnock and Jhanelle Thomas of Nashua North.
- Brianna Malone (Portsmouth Christian). I don’t think Brianna has lost a race this season. She enters as the top seed in the 800m and I think he winning streak continues.
- Haley Kavanagh (Oyster River) is the one seed in the 1600m but 5 girls are separated by less than 5 seconds. Don’t count out Sophia Reynolds (Merrimack Valley), Mary-Kate Finn (BG), Hannah Shepard (Keene) or the sleeper of the race Isabel McIntrye of Dover.
- The 3200 meters could be the sleeper event of the day with NH veteran Souhegan’s Chloe Trudel as the top seed. Factor in the Bow dynamic duo of Susanna Zahn (D2 champ) and Maya Brochu along with D2 1600m champ CBNA’s Sheldyn Fisher, if these four catch fire and begin rolling, we could see multiple sub-11s. And we are definitely not overlooking D1 3200m champ Concord’s Shelly Smith who is seemingly just scratching the surface. Look out as all 5 are running fresh.
- Sydney Lavelle (Exeter) vs. Jordan Wheaton (Pinkerton). They had one of the races of the day last week at D1 as both dipped under the 15 second barrier in the 100 hurdles. Look for another good battle this week along with defending MOC champ Charlotte Cousins of Oyster River.
- Lavelle is the overwhelming favorite in the 300 hurdles with the top seed of 44.96. She leads a host of girls under 48 seconds in one of New Hampshire’s strongest events.
- Lavelle is also the top seed in the Long Jump with an 18’8” mark from the Merrimack Invite. Can she make a run at the state record 19’4.5”?
- Wheaton is the top seed in the girls HJ with 5’5”. There are many girls over 5’ in what should be a fun event to watch.
- Makena Lee (Coe-Brown) and Erin Eastwood (Exeter) are tied for the top mark in the pole vault at 10’7”. Eastwood is the defending MOC champ, but Lee has beaten her 2 of the three times they faced off this year.
- Ayva Mullen (Concord) has dominated the triple jump all year. She is the top seed at 36’11”.
- Briana Danis of Pinkerton is the top seed in the shot, but D3 powers Paulina Huckins (Newfound), Opal Shinnlinger (Mascoma Valley) are right behind her.
- Danis is the overwhelming favorite in the discus with a top seed of 135’2”. More than 10 feet ahead of the field.
- Madelyn Novak (Nashua North) is the top seed in the girls Javelin. She will be challenged by Malina Bohlmann of Newfound.
- Nashua South has dominated the 4×100 all season. They were briefly defeated by Pinkerton Academy last week before a DQ. Look for those two to battle it out for the win again this week. Both teams could break the state record of 48.68. South is the defending MOC champs.
- Exeter is the defending MOC champs in the 4×400 they should be challenged by both Pinkerton and Concord in what was an excellent race a week ago.
- Concord, Winnacunnet, and Alvirne are the top three seeds in the 4×800, but look out for the D3 champs and 4 seed Newmarket Mules. They dropped a 9:54.53 solo effort a week ago.
Good Luck Everyone!