Results Courtesy of Lancer Timing
By Nate Leveille
What a night to be a Bedford Bulldog. They came into the meet as a top 4 favorite but left as the 2023 D1 Girls State Champions. Bedford scored points everywhere securing the win with 90 points well ahead of runner-up Nashua North 76 and Pinkerton 75.
The first scoring event of the meet was the 4×800. Bedford and Exeter battled out the 8 laps until Bedford used a 2:18 anchor leg from freshman Annie Zink to pull away and get the win in a time of 9:34.79 over Exeter. The 100-meter hurdles were next on the track and didn’t disappoint despite a slight headwind. Star Jordan Wheaton of Pinkerton won in a time of 14.53 ahead of Anika Scott of Bedford 14.78. I tabbed the girls 100-meter dash as the most loaded field of sprinters in the state’s history. Soraya Ross of Nashua South shifted into high gear at the 80-meter mark to take home the crown in 12.43, Alexis Best of Merrimack was second in 12.48 and Iyana Braswell of South was third in 12.53.
Braswell and Ross went back to work a short time later in the 4×100. The South team has dominated this event all season long and the championships were no different as the smashed their own D1 record in a time of 48.64, just missing the state record they already own from earlier in the season. Pinkerton was runner-up in 48.94.
In the longer sprints, Harriet Barber of Manchester Central put on a display of strength and speed taking down both races. Her time in the 400-meter run set a new D1 record and personal best time of 56.20, well ahead of runner-up Charlotte Beaudoin of Timberlane 60.36. Behind her in the 200 was Jhanelle Thomas of Nashua North 25.65. Speaking of Thomas, she dominated the 300 hurdle field winning in a time or 43.92 just missing the D1 and state record. Behind her was teammate Isabella Di Vernieri and Kailey Dillion of Merrimack.
In the distance events Bedford flexed their muscle. Sophomore Star Fiona Lee of Bedford used a late kick to take the 1600m in 5:21.54 ahead of Charlotte Koutalidis of Winnacunnet 5:23, and Lily Thomas of Salem 5:26. Lee went back to work in the 800-meter run kicking to the line for the narrow victory in 2:19.23 over Anique Poulin of Dover 2:19.60. The 3200 was a more tactical race with the first 1600 meters going out very slow compared to the times the leaders had run on the season. It proved to be a good move for Contessa Silva of Pinkerton as she got the win in 11:46.86 over Kelseigh O’Neil of Bedford 11:47.
The last event on the track was an exciting one as Nashua North behind Thomas came from third to overtake Bedford and Exeter to get the win in 4:04.41. Bedford was second and Exeter third.
Moving onto field events! In a very competitive High Jump, Concord’s Ella Goulas did what she does and won clearing 5’4″ in a jump off! Spaulding senior Hannah Drew was second clearing 5’2″, with the next 5 athletes all clearing 5’0″! Pole Vault saw Bedford’s Maya Malatesta take the victory and valuable 10 points clearing 10′ in the process. Londonderry’s Amanda Robinson was second clearing 9’6″.
Moving to the horizontal’s Merrimack’s Kailey Dillon won in a tight contest with Bedford’s Anika Scott. Dillon soared 18’8.25″ to victory with Scott right behind her with a mark of 18’4.25″. Dillon’s teammate, Best, made it a Merrimack sweep holding true to her number 1 seed with a mark of 36’0.25″. High Jump champ, Goulas, was 2nd with a mark of 35’8″ while Exeter’s Emma Smith took third only a half an inch shorter.
The throws saw the top seeds hold serve beginning with Salem’s Bella Colizzi winning the D1 Shot Put title in her home ring tossing a 34’6.5″. Pinkerton senior Lillia Woods was second with 33’6″ and Colizzi’s teammate Abigail Ahlers was third less than 3 inches back. Pinkerton’s super senior, Briana Danis took the Discus with a toss of 122’1″ over North’s super senior Madelyn Novak’s 110’11” second throw. Novak became the javelin champ with a toss of 122’7″ in a close competition with Exeter’s Rachel Poulin who hung tough with a mark of 121’2″.
Congrats to all!!!
The 2023 Division 1 Championship meet was a huge success and congrats to Salem High School for doing a great job hosting the meet, and for providing a very fast track! Here’s a recap of the Boy’s meet.
The first hour of the meet consisted solely of field events, and in the Shot Put top seeded Toby Brown from Nashua North won comfortably with a season best throw of 56’3”. A tight battle for 2nd saw Nashua South’s Antonio Martinez throw 52’8.5” (also a seasonal best) and edge out North’s Darius Smith. (52’6.75”). Merrimack’s Zachariah Rezaoui (47’6.5”) moved into 4th and the Spaulding duo of Ethan Sawyer (46’3.25”) and Jackson Rup (454.25”) placed 5-6 respectively.
The Triple Jump saw a lot of deviation from the seeding list with 4th seeded Concord’s Alain Twite leaping to a PR of well over a foot to easily win the event. 5th seeded Alexis Rivera of Memorial (41’4”) came in 2nd with Londonderry’s Donovan Gannon (40’11) preserving his 3rd place ranking. You could say that 7th seeded Keene’s Nick Dumond taking 4th was a surprise but Dumond stayed consistent with his seasonal best. Keene athletes surprising people will be a theme throughout this recap. The Pinkerton duo of Nicholas Harrington (40’2.25”) and Ryan James (39’4.75”) took 5th and 6th.
You can almost always throw the Javelin seedings out the window at the State meet, but top seeded Jason Yeaton from Portsmouth (160’10) stood firm and took 1st by 5 feet. North’s Smith appeared in the second of his three throwing events and threw a PR of 155’10” to take 2nd place. Scoring big points for his team that was in the hunt for a title, in 3rd place was Bedford’s Alexander Grudinskas (153’5”) followed closely by Spencer Matarazzo of Bishop Guertin (4th, 151’7”). Rounding out the scoring were Pinkerton’s Joseph Packowski (5th, 148’0”) and another Bedford thrower Mathias Wrede (6th, 143’3”)
Add Pole Vault to the list of a typical “anything can happen” event, but top seeded Wyatt Patterson of Winnacunnet easily vaulted 13 feet to win the event. Portsmouth’s Tyler Wilson went from sixth seed to a PR 11’6” for 2nd place over Londonderry’s Donovan Gannon (3rd, 11’6”, ties are broken by comparing makes/misses). Wilson’s Portsmouth teammate Jason Yeaton split time with the javelin and grabbed at 4th place with a vault of 11’0”. Nashua North’s D’Sean Coffie (10’6”) was 5th, and also clearing 10’6” and tying for 6th were Concord’s Colby Nyhan and Portsmouth freshman Leo Guarracino.
Moving to the track for a bit, the 4x800m was dominated by Exeter (8:09.61) almost 10 seconds faster than Bedford (8:19.11) in the #2 spot. Bedford running this time without distance standout Jacob Redman was impressive and was the beginning of collecting big points towards a potential team title. Running a very good time for 3rd place was Pinkerton (8:25.65, also in the team title hunt) and close behind in 4th was Nashua South (8:26.37). Portsmouth (8:37.20) and Merrimack (8:40.58) took the 5-6 spots.
In the 110m hurdle prelims, the following boys qualified for the finals:
1 Powers, JJ: Bedford 15.92
2 Chong, Christopher: Bedford 16.11
3 Olsen, Rory: Nashua South 16.15
4 Lovern, Jake: Portsmouth 16.29
5 Dillavou, Jason: Nashua South 16.52
6 Jamison, Ryan: Winnacunnet 16.63q
7 Marelli, Erik: Winnacunnet 16.64
8 Keith, Devin: Pinkerton 16.67
In the 100m prelims, the following boys qualified for the finals:
1 Ogbunamiri, Malik: Bishop Guertin 11.16
2 Stevens, Chris: Keene 11.21
3 Sebastien, AJ: Manchester Memorial 11.33
4 Michaud, Caden: Pinkerton 11.16
5 Russell, Ledger: Bedford 11.36
6 Marino, Quinn: Concord 11.38
7 Parker, Braydon: Pinkerton 11.41
8 Schnyer, Ethan: Nashua South 11.41
In the 110m finals, to no one’s surprise top seeded Bedford’s Christopher Chong took 1st with a crisp 15.46 adding to a growing point total for the Bulldogs. Rory Olsen of Nashua South (15.74) ran very well to comfortably lock up 2nd and JJ Powers of Bedford (16.10) joined teammate Chong on the podium with 3rd place. Jake Lovern of Portsmouth (16.25) held on to his 4th place seed from the prelims, and Pinkerton’s Devin Keith (5th, 16.47) as well as Erik Marelli from Winnacunnet (6th 16.50) both improving their time and place from the prelims.
In the 100m finals (as in the 110 finals) competitors faced a decent head wind but top seeded Chris Stevens from Keene asserted his will over the field and cruised to victory with an 11.18. In a very tight race for the #2 spot were Malik Ogbunamiri from Bishop Guertin (2nd ,11.35), Manchester Memorial’s AJ Sebastien (3rd, 11.36) and Pinkerton’s Caden Michaud (4th, 11.38). Another Pinkerton runner in Braydon Parker (11.54) took 5th to join Michaud in keeping Pinkerton’s team title hopes alive. Ledger Russell from Bedford 11.61) chipped in a point for his team by taking 6th.
We now turn our attention to the 1600m where top seeded Redman from Bedford (4:22.33) won the race by holding off a hard charging Avery Crowell from Portsmouth (2nd, 4:25.90). Salem’s hometown favorite Brock James was 3rd (4:28.34) and close behind in 4th was Ryan Fortin of Londonderry (4:29.04). Keene’s freshman sensation Sully Sturtz (4:30.26) took 5th and Finn Christensen Kraft was 6th with a time of 4:32.95.
The always tense event of the 4x100m relay was up next; each team needs to successfully navigate 3 handoffs each at top speed. Exciting but nerve wracking! It’s tough to be the #1 seed but Pinkerton rose to the occasion and ran their best time of the season so far in a blistering 43.05 to take 1st place and add 10 points to their team total. Not to be ignored, Bedford stayed true to their #2 ranking and took 2nd place right behind the Astros with a quick 43.18. Bishop Guertin (44.19) outperformed their seed taking 3rd, and Manchester Memorial (44.20) was right behind for 4th place. Portsmouth (44.67) overcame a tough early handoff to place 5th and Concord (44.86) nabbed the 6th spot.
We at NHTF do occasionally get predictions right, and in the boy’s 400m we really nailed it. It helps when the athletes finish in order of their seeds… Prohibitive favorite Londonderry’s Sean Clegg held off a few challengers on the backstretch to finish with a strong 49.81 victory. Keene’s Erik Nolan (50.60) took 2nd with a late charge over Portsmouth’s Jake Haley (3rd, 51.03), and Pinkerton’s Caden Michaud (51.61) handled his third event of the day well with a 4th place finish. Michaud’s Astro teammate Nicholas Harrington (51.63) was right behind for 5th place. Thirteenth seed Brodie Proulx from Exeter (52.58) fought his way to 6th place.
Turning back to the field events for a bit, in the Discus it seemed like a plague of fouls were affecting the field including Alvirne’s Shawn Boudreau (131’7”), but he managed to get what he needed to secure the win and hold off the second-place finisher by one inch. In second place (and impressively finishing in the top 3 in all three throws) was North’s Smith (131’6”). Concord’s Sam Foulds (129’10”) was consistent in holding on to his #3 seed, Bedford’s Camren Raymond (121’6”) was 4th, and his Bulldog teammate Eli Goumas (118’5”) took 5th. North’s Brown (117’5”) caught a case of the fouls as well and finished in 6th.
The Long Jump’s #4 seed Andrew Kullman from Londonderry wowed the crowd with a stunning 22’0.75” rocket launch on his second attempt, and that was all he and his coaches needed to see as Kullman passed the rest of jumps and won the event by over a foot. Keeping Keene more alive in the team hunt than anyone could have predicted was 2nd place finished Isaac Nelson (20’11.5”). Also shaking things up was 16th seed Chris Santana from Spaulding (20’9.5”) taking 3rd. Keeping the streak of lower seeds performing well was 14th seed Dover’s Brady McInnes (20’4.5”) grabbing 4th place. The 5th and 6th spots were taken by Manchester Memorial’s Alexis Rivera (20’4.25”) and 15th seed Xavier Emery from Nashua South (20’1.75”).
Kullman was smart to save his legs for a tough battle in the high jump but ultimately prevailed jumping 6’4” for the win. Keeping the pressure on was Spaulding’s Paul Butler who cleared 6’2” for 2nd place. Nashua South’s Sami Witta took 3rd with a 6’0” clearance, and Oliver Duffy from Winnacunnet (5’10”) and Windham’s Jack Conrad (5’8”) rounded out the rest of the scorers in 4th and 5th respectively. We’d love to tell you who came in 6th, but a stunning 13 out of 18 high jumpers did not make the opening height of 5’8”, so that last place went unclaimed.
Back to the oval, the 300m hurdles went pretty close to predicted/seeded as Bedford’s Chong won the event in 39.24. He was pushed every step of the way by South’s Olsen (39.51) who took 2nd place. Pinkerton kept their team hopes alive by countering Chong with Devin Keith (3rd, 41.35) and Landon Mackiernan (5th ,42.28). Breaking up that duo was Winnacunnet freshman Ryan Jamison in 4th with a 41.73. Taking the last scoring spot was Portsmouth’s Jake Lovern (42.29).
In the 800m, top seeded Tyler Safstrom of Merrimack cruised to an even split 1:57.26 victory. In 2nd was Nathan Mikulsky (1:58.36) who was able to hold off Bedford’s Jared Bekkering (3rd, 1:58.85) and Pinkerton’s Nathan Binda (4th, 1:58.88). In 5th was Astro teammate Theodore Davis (2:00.06) , and leaning over the finish line to squeak out a 6th place was Crowell from Portsmouth (2:00.84) who managed to PR in the 800m after coming in 2nd in the 1600m.
The 200m can be an event of attrition after athletes go through potentially 100m trials/finals, 4x100m, possibly jumps or a 400m so sometimes it doesn’t go according to “plan”. But if you are as talented as Chris Stevens of Keene, that doesn’t phase you! Stevens ran away from the tightly bunched field to win with a time of 22.32. This was not an easy victory however as Memorial’s Sebastien (22.41) was right behind for 2nd and Ethan Schnyer from Nashua South (22.59) was in the mix with a 3rd place finish. The top six were all within 6 tenths of each other as Windham’s Kevin Brooks (22.72), Bedford’s Russell (22.80) and Samuel Jones of Salem (22.81) took 4-5-6 respectively.
The 3200m started predictably as the top seed by 10 seconds Matthew Giardina of Bishop Guertin took a commanding lead that stayed about 50m ahead of the chase pack for almost the entire race. However, no lead is safe with Bedford’s Redman in the race and as Redman closed in a 59 second final lap it took everything Giardina had to hold off Redman on the home straightaway. And hold off he did, countering with a 62 second last lap to seal the win in 9:24.11. Redman was close behind in 2nd with a time of 9:25.21. In third was Londonderry’s Fortin (9:36.75) getting in on the doubling action with Redman coming back from the 1600 impressively. The same can be said for Sturtz of Keene (9:38.49), grabbing a 4th place and scoring in two tough events as a freshman. Merrimack Cameron Fredette (5th, 9:40.08) was not about to be left out of the double-happy crowd as he too ran the 1600m earlier. Nashua South’s Dante Castellano (9:40.52) placed 6th in a very competitive event.
The last event of the night was the 4x400m relay and it had everything a track fan would want. Top seeded Pinkerton lived up to the hype running a very fast 3:27.44 in unseasonably cold temperatures and winning by over two seconds. Not surprising when you look at the arc of the meet for this team after the fact, but Keene laying down a 3:29.98 from a slower heat and taking 2nd place was electric to watch in real time. 3rd through 5th places were achingly close with Bedford (2nd, 3:30.07), Portsmouth (4th, 3:30.89) and Exeter (5th, 3:30.98) all roaring down the home stretch in super close proximity. 10th seeded Alvirne also surprised everyone with a very good 3:33.60 for the 6th spot.
After all scores were tallied, Bedford came away with the team title in dominant fashion, scoring 88 points to runner-up Pinkerton’s 60. Both teams were favorites to take those spots going into the meet, and they both lived up to the pressure. Keene really had a day and took 3rd overall with 54 points, Londonderry was 4th with 52 points, and Portsmouth was the final team over 50 with 50.5 points, good enough for 5th place.
Congrats to the D1 Champion Bedford team, they carried the momentum of their Indoor title to the Outdoor arena and somehow got even better in the process. Winning the runner-up plaque was Pinkerton. Congrats to all!
Great job by all the athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, and spectators in making this Championship a great one to be a part of. See you next year!