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2023 Wilderness League Championships Preview

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By Mike Smith

For more than 50 years the Wilderness Championships have taken place up in the Lakes region, giving athletes their final tune ups before the divisional championships.  Some athletes will look for individual glory, others looking to test out the event strategy before the divisional contest, and some working on the final specifics of their events.  And with weather coming in around noon, we’re sure to see some quick times in both the races and by the meet crew to get this one in before it gets messy.  Let’s dig into it.

On the Track!DSK_8093

In the 4×800, Gilford holds the top spots in both the girls and boys relays.  Both have more than a 13 second advantage and should be considered the favorite.  Kennett and Newfound should challenge on the girls side, with Newfound and Mascoma Valley looking to do the same on the boys side.

Top seed in the 100 hurdles is Winnisquam’s own Victoria Kelly with an 18.04 seed time.  Also under the 19 second barrier are Kearsarge’s Ellie Wimer, Belmont’s Adeline Takantjas, Plymouth’s Anelie Flynn and Mascoma’s Elena TrempeIn the boys 110 hurdles, Plymouth’s Cole Ahern leads in the seeds with 16.15.  Gilford’s multi man is the only other athlete under 18 seconds so it should be a close race between these two class of the field athletes.

The cream always rises to the top, and our top is Aida Wheat of Kennett with 12.61  Close behind is Newfound’s Elle MacDonald and Kearsarge’s Juliet Faria both under 17 seconds.  On the boys side there is a battle royale brewing between Bishop Brady’s Josh Gentchos and Gilford’s Isaiah Reese, both at or under the 11 second mark. Gentchos’ teammates Jack Beuachesne and Chris Messmore are both under the 11.5 mark as well.

DSK_8283In the 1600, Kearsarge’s Maelle Jacques has the top mark with 5:29.86.  Behind her is Mascenic’s freshman phenom Kaitlin O’Shea as the only other runner under 5:40 with Moultonborough’s Adah Chapman sitting just over in 5:41.  For the boys, Gilford’s Patrick Gandini leads the field by almost 35 seconds so this is his race to lose.  Under the 5 minute mark is Eli Percey of White Mountains and Abram Weil-Cooley of InterLakes.

In the 4×100, Kennett has the top girls time with 51.99.  Hot on their heels with a 52.66 is Belmont.  Both these teams have a two second advantage and the winner should come from one of these two teams.  In the boys race, it’s not hard to believe that with three athletes in the top four of the 100 that Brady is the top seed at 44.23.  However Belmont and Kennett are right behind them as sub 46 second teams.

In the 400, Kennett’s Piper Lopashnski is the top seed with a time of 1:01.48, but Mascenic’s O’Shea is not far behind with 1:02.24, however is running the 1600 before this.  Also under 65 seconds is Kingswood teammates Kylie Rapoza and Marcella DeNitto.  In the boys 400, InterLakes Tristan Kamann leads the field with a 52.68.  Also under 55 is Winnisquam’s Brendan Goodwin, Kingswoods Casey Arsenault and Profile’s Wyatt Lawton.

In the 300 hurdles, Kingswood’s Lauren McPhee leads the sub 52 seconders, with 51.02.  Newfound’s Stacia Paul and Kearsarge’s Wimer should give a good fight.  Brady’s Nate Steigmeyer leads the boys with a 42.02, with Gilford’s Haddocks and Aiden Malek both under 43 seconds.DSK_8745

Kearsarge’s Molly Ellison has more than a five second advantage over the field in the 800 with a 2:27.56 seed time.  Also under the 2:40 mark is Kennett’s Shannon Abrams, InterLakes Allana Poehler and Plymouth’s Reagan Sunderland.  The Great Gandini is back in the 800, with a 12 second advantage over the field having run 1:57.71.  Profile’s Lawton and Plymouth’s Landon Fogg are back in the 2:09s.

Kennett’s Wheat is back in the 200 as the top seed by over a second with a 26.50.  Belmont’s Ava Lacasse and Kearsarge’s Faria are the other two to have broken 28 seconds.  Brady’s Gentchos and Gilford’s Reese are back in the same order for the 200 as well, running 22.51 to 22.58.  This should be a good race.  Also back is Brady teammate Beauchesne and also Alan Yap, and Belmont’s Colby Vetter and Damien Sanborn as athletes having broken 23.5.

Back in the 3200 is Moutonborough’s Adah Chapman, leading with a 12;15.32 seed time.  Also sub 13 is Gilford’s Georgia Eckhardt.  Kennett’s Ben Biche leads the sub 11 club with a 10:47.  Close on his heels is Kearsarge’s Daniel Dalbec and Mascenic’s Drew Traffie.

In the girls 4×400, Kingswood has a four second advantage over Kennett with a 4:20.84.  Belmont is 15 seconds back on that.  For boys, Gilford is the clear favorite, with an 11 second advantage, running 3:35.14.  Behind them there should be a good battle between InterLakes and Kingswood, along with Winnisquam and Kearsarge.

DSK_8615In the Field!

In the girls high jump, Kearsarge’s Jacques leads Newfound’s Gretchen Reynolds by three inches at 5-3.  For the boys we have four at 6-0, with Winnisquam’s Aidan Donahue, Kennett’s Nash Harrigan, Gilford’s Haddocks and Plymouth’s Ahern.  In pole vault, Newfound’s Taylor Mooney leads the field by over a foot with 9-1.  Kearsarge’s August Zock has a six inch advantage over White Mountains Elijah Beaulieu and Newfound’s Dalton Dion, having vaulted 11-6.

Belmont’s Emma Winslow has jumped 16-6.75 to Newfound’s everything girl Malina Bohlmann 16-4.5, both enjoying a foot advantage over the field in long jump.  On the boys side, Brady’s Messmore and Gentchos are back in long jump, having jumped 19-10.5 and 19-10.  Kennett’s Harrigan, Woodsville’s Garrett Emery and InterLakes David Walker have all cleared the 19 foot barrier and this event should be tight.  Belmont’s Takantjas leads Plymouth’s Sydney Valenti in triple jump by one inch, 32-3 to 32-2.  Kearsarge’s Ainsley Frankiewich is close to that 32 foot barrier with 31-11.5.  InterLakes Walker is back in the triple jump with almost a two foot advantage having gone 43-7.  Behind him is Woodsville’s Emery and Kennett’s Harrigan.

In the throws, Newfound’s Bohlmann leads the shot by over a foot, having thrown 32-8.5.  Winnisquam’s Becca Kulengosky and Mascoma’s Georgia Kondi have also broken 30 feet.  Plymouth’s Alexander Luehrs leads three guys over 40, having thrown 40-6.25, to Kingswood’s Caleb Russo’s 40-4 andDSK_8127 Winnisquam’s Carter Fredette’s 40-1.

In discus, Newfound’s Isabelle Laplume has a ten foot advantage over the field having thrown an impressive 107-5.  Again Plymouth’s Luehrs leads the field in disc with just a bit more wiggle room, having thrown 134-5 to Newfound’s Trevor Sanschagrin 128-8.  Belmont’s Brady Filteau is the only other thrower over 120 with a 123-6.

Newfound’s Bohlmann returns in javelin, leading the field by over 14 feet with a 122-7.  Moultonborough’s Sadey Sherkanowski is the only other athlete to break the 100 foot barrier having thrown 108-5.  In the boys, Gilford’s Reese not only tops the field but is the state leader with 179-3.  Contemplate this, Kingswood’s Russo is 20 feet in arrears but still the #5 jav thrower in the state across all divisions!  I’m going to try to step out of my announcing duties to catch a glimpse of this one.

Looking to team titles, I’m going to have to speculate as my mental math for “guesstimating” team scores isn’t that sharp.  But using the amount of times I have to write in a schools name in the preview I’d say Newfound girls look really good and potentially a tight battle on the boys’ side between Brady and Gilford.  Push come to shove I’d have to give the tip of my hat to Gandini and Gilford.

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