It’s been a while since we’ve scrutinized the performances for indoor track and it seems we’re all a little bit out of rhythm. Everyone needs to get used to the changes in training, the travel to the few venues we thankfully have across the state, the new markings in the various venues, and simply the different distances that we race for indoor as most of our athletes have never run an indoor season before. And if you look at the performances, it’s noticeable. I’m not saying they’re bad, but in those events that don’t resemble their counterparts in outdoor (think 55 hurdles versus 100/110 hurdles) there is a learning curve when your race is half (or almost half) the distance it usually is. Anyway, let’s dig into it.
Sprints & Hurdles
I’m going to consider the 55 (known as the Dash in indoor), the 300, and the 55 hurdles as the sprint events. Looking at those, Kennett’s Aida Wheat has a 3 hundredths of a second advantage over Belmont’s Emma Winslow and four hundredths of a second over Coe-Brown’s Anushka Chavda (7.59 to 7.62 to 7.63) in the Dash. Toss in ConVal’s Tasha MacNeil and Milford’s Keely Giordano and you have five athletes within less than a tenth of a second of each other.
Only one of those names translates over to the 300, where Chavda sits in the second spot, 0.67 seconds behind Newport’s Mattox Lovely. Emma Kennedy of Souhegan and Maya Thomas of Goffstown are the only other athletes under the 46 second mark with Lauren MacPhee of Kingswood sitting at 46.01.
Mattox sits in the second spot in the hurdles as well, running 9.30 to Coe-Brown’s Natalie Sicard with a 9.20. Pelham’s Reese Nicolosi is the only other athlete under 9.5 and leads five others under the ten second mark.
These events are covered by the 600 and the 1000. When we look at these events, one name stands out: Portsmouth Christian’s Brianna Malone. Her time of 1:37.33 in the 600 would have won the boys race that day, and gives her a 10 second cushion at the distance. So it’s safe to say Malone is the real deal indoors. If memory serves, the last time we were “in season”, Malone fell in the 1000 with not much race to go, got up and won. She will be a threat in any event (55 hurdles?) she decides. More on this later.
Behind her in the 600 are Marcella DiNitto of Kingswood and Audrey Littlefield of Souhegan, both under the 1:50 mark. At 1000, Newmarket’s Alana Hagen is closer 3:01.67 to 3:09.99. There is a pretty big drop off after this, as Kearsarge’s Amelia Lefebvre is another 16 seconds back.
Distance takes on a different meaning indoors, considering the 1000 at UNH requires 6+ laps on the track, the 15 requires 8+, and the 3K requires 18+. Distance really means distance in at least a number of laps sense. At the top of the leaderboard for 1500 is Malone (4:53.26) once again, with Oyster River’s Haley Kavanagh ten seconds back. Kearsarge’s Molly Ellison and Bow’s Maya Brochu are the only other athletes under 5:30.
In the 3000, Oyster River teammates Mackenzie Cook and Kavanagh lead the field with almost identical times, 10:33.40 to 10:33.81. The aforementioned Ellison and Brochu lead Mascenic’s Emma Schaumloffel as the five under the 12 minute mark. One name to watch out for would be CBNA’s Sheldyn Fisher who should open her season very soon.
The field events definitely have a different feel indoors, but they have the most similarity to their outdoor counterparts. And with that we see results that seem to make sense based on what we’ve observed in the outdoor seasons we’ve had since we haven’t had indoor.
In Long Jump, Belmont’s Winslow leads the field with the only jump over 16 feet, 16-3.75. Campbell’s Ava Houle sits at 15-10.25 with Newport’s Lovely at 15-6.75. Only Milford’s Annalise Nassy gets over the 15 foot mark with a 15-0.75
High Jump has three names atop the leaderboard, with Newmarket’s Kaitlin Bussell, Kearsarge’s Lefebvre and Oyster River’s Amalie Trump all at 4-9.75
Con-Val’s MacNeil is the only thrower over the 30 mark with 30-3.75. Milford’s Kylie Allen and Sanborn’s Paige Chespro have 29+ foot throws with more than a foot and a half back to the rest of the field.
It’s pretty early to delve into what teams will be doing come championship time. And with double points for these events we will definitely see teams that give up potential individual glory for the relay events. With that said, I am still willing to say what I see. While most of the short relay races will be contested as 4x160s on UNH’s track, the actual race will be a 4×200 at Dartmouth. While I don’t see the difference in conversions play as big a role as some coaches think they do, having four athletes with familiarity of the 200 meter distance is important. At this time Kingswood sits at the top of the leaderboard, and while I don’t want to say I expect that to change over the ensuing weeks, I do expect teams to build teams to contend for the title. In the 4×400 (at least a race in outdoor), Kearsarge leads the field with Kingswood lurking. Again I expect teams to use the second half of the season developing these teams. In the 4×800, with only one opportunity so far to run a time, we have Bow at the top of TRRS with this fall’s surprise D3 cross country runner up Mascenic currently as the second seed.
After being away from indoor for quite a while, and this season in it’s infancy, predicting the winner is tricky. Hedging my bets, I’m going to resort to saying what I see so far and suggesting that a handful of teams will likely be in the mix. If down the road, different teams end up in the driver’s seat please cut me a break. Look at the standings today, January 2nd, and try to score this meet. Milford and Souhegan have a lot of athletes spread around the events with no athlete in the top spot. D3 schools Belmont and Newport have athletes leading events but the question is can they carry the team? Sanborn and Bow have a bunch of athletes and if they figure out how to play their cards right, can they steal the title? Or will it be another team like Kearsarge sneaking up stealthily over the second half of the season? We’ll find out on February 12th when I’ll thankfully be calling the races that I see not trying to figure out what will happen six weeks down the line.
I hope no one reads this next bit of writing and think I’m baiting someone into something they might not want to do. But having witnessed 21 indoor D2 championships I see a glimmer of the past in Brianna Malone. Twenty years ago (2003) Hanover sprite Catherine Bryson grabbed the yolk of the Hanover girls program and ran (and won) the 3000, the 600, and the 1500, and then anchored their 4×400 team to second place in the race and for the overall title. Things were different twenty years ago, but could Malone make a similar gamble? We shall see.
– Mike Smith
Sprints/Hurdles (55, 300, 55H)
The early season sprint action has been exciting, with a mix of seasoned vets paired with a handful of upstart underclassmen. Oyster River’s Ty Dorow has carried his impressive spring season over to indoor, as he leads the way in the 55 dash with a spikeless 6.81! The 55 has also seen Bishop Brady’s Joshua Gentchos (6.83), Belmont’s sophomore sensation Damien Sanborn (6.83), and Newmarket’s Jordan Espo (6.86) all dip under 6.9 sans spikes!
Campbell’s DJ Chaudhry has blazed his way to a 38.08 in this young season, to top the current leaderboard. Meanwhile Souhegan’s Carson Behn (38.48) and Oyster River’s Dorow (38.58) have also shown some solid speed in the early goings.
In the hurdles, Souhegan’s Cole Henderson (8.79), Plymouth’s Cole Ahern (8.83), and Hanover’s Aidan Powell (8.86) are leading the way. Look for these three to contend for the individual title on Superbowl Sunday at Dartmouth!
The indoor season so far has seen Lebanon’s Tanner Ames take charge of the throws department! His 47’ 1.5” is almost 4 feet ahead of the next competitor. Shot putting consistently over 46’ in each meet, he’ll be looking to put some life into Lebanon’s hopes of scoring some hardware come championship season!
In the High Jump, last year’s outdoor DII champ Ian Solberg of Hanover, has dominated thus far, clearing an outstanding 6’ 7”! Look for Winnisquam’s Aidan Donahue (6’2”) and Coe-Brown’s basketball transfer Matthew Corriveau (6’1”) to continue to progress as this indoor season rolls on. Also don’t rule out Conant’s sophomore superstar Ben Sawyer who holds a PR of 6’ 4” from last year. Speaking of Sawyer, this kid is crushing the long jump with a stellar 20’ 8.5”. Also at the top of the ranks is Pelham’s Junior Mackinnon with a 20’ 1.5, and Brady’s Gentchos (19’11”).
Hanover’s Lucian Gleiser has certainly made an impressive transition to the indoor season, as he’s leading the way in the 600 (1:26.99), and the 1000 (2:40.16)! Teammate Aidan Powell has also blazed his way sub-1:30 in the early going, while Coe-Brown’s Gavin Demas and Jamie Lano also ripped a pair of 1:29’s without spikes on a tight UNH track! Milford’s Daniel Sixon has also gotten off to a solid start, and has himself in the mix thus far, posting a 1:32 and 2:44.
Gleiser is currently in the top spot in the 1500, flying to an early season 4:19. Fresh off an outstanding cross season, Oyster River’s Chris Jernigan has already put up a speedy 4:21 as well! Lebanon’s Thomas Wolfe, another stud this past XC season, has thrown down a 9:15 3k. These are some excellent first half of the indoor season times, however, keep in mind this doesn’t include any of Coe Brown’s big guns (Cox, Tkazyck, Lano) or Lebanon’s NHXC runner of the year and recent Georgetown University signee Birhanu Harriman. I’d expect all of this crew to hammer home some legit times once the competition gets heated!
With many of NH’s top athletes running in late season cross country championships, and just getting ready to race this winter, the team competition is incredibly difficult to call at this point. However, based on early season races, it’s those powerhouse distance programs who look poised to take home some hardware this winter as well!
If I were to call it right now, I see a showdown between Hanover and Coe-Brown for the indoor title. On paper, Hanover has the depth with Gleiser, Aidan Powell, Aidan Bradley, The Solberg Brothers, and their relays to really do some damage! Coe-Brown will also look to spread out their top guys to maximize their points across all areas of the track. Lebanon should also be in the mix, as the mid/distance combo of Harriman, Wolfe, and Carson Jones, hurdler Nicholas Lamontagne, and shot putter Ames may be enough to push them into one of the top two spots. Other interesting programs to watch for are Souhegan and Oyster River. Souhegan is solid across the board, with strength in mid/distance, hurdles, and jumps. Oyster River will ride on the backs of Jernigan in the distance events, and Dorow who will contend for individual titles in each of his races.
There seems to be much more parity this winter than we’ve seen in some time. It’s going to be an exciting next couple months of competition. Best of luck to everyone!!