By Mike Smith
What a wild and wacky season this has turned out to be. Some of the big guns either haven’t hit their stride or are mysteriously absent from the battlenotes. With meets looking much different, different formats, smaller fields, less time between events, events not run, getting a clear picture of what to expect for championship season requires someone to be a psychic. But here’s what we know so far.
In our preview, one of the things I was sure of was new team champions. While Kearsarge made the move from D3 to D2 in cross country, battlenotes indicates they stayed in D3 for track and field. Nothing says they will be able to hold onto the mantle, however their presence is likely to be felt in the division.
The Portsmouth Christian girls are on fire. Liza Corso and Brianna Malone lead the distance events, with Corso having the top marks in the 800, 1600 and 3200. Malone has the #2 mark in the 800, the #3 mark in the 3200 and appears to not have run the 1600 yet. Lily Kjendahl has the #4 mark in the 800 and Ella Malone is ranked #12. Will we see this team make a run at the D3 record? A composite of their 800 meter times indicates they are currently under the old record by more than a second. Time will tell.
Janiah Young, the top sprint “returner” has yet to show up in the Battlenotes. But then again, no athletes from Stevens has been entered in Battlenotes as of this writing. Perusing results around the division, she doesn’t show up there either, leaving the door open for someone else to grab the reins.
With so many meets hand timed, and with all the faults hand timing can bring, rather than simply looking at top seeds let’s have a look at events where the top seed has a significant gap back to the second seed.
400 – Brianna Malone, PCA
800 – Liza Corso, PCA
1600 – Liza Corso, PCA
3200 – Liza Corso, PCA
300H – Eliza Bates, Newport
LJ – Ava Houle, Campbell
TJ – Sarah Harris, I-L
SP – Opal Shinnlinger, Mascoma
Disc – Opal Shinnlinger, Mascoma
Of course looking at the above list and recognizing how the single gender, smaller competitive fields will make the SCs move at a quickened rate, PCA coach Mike Schevenell is going to have to make some decisions as doubling and tripling athletes will be tough. Will PCA be going for as many team points as it can or individual (and relay team) glory? I can’t wait to find out.
Much like in the girls sprints, the top returner in the 100, Franklin’s Samuel Tuck, is yet to show up in the Battlenotes, along with any Franklin athletes. Maybe it’s not just the athletes that are a bit rusty? Top seed in the 100, JJ Davis of Kearsarge is entered with a time listed in tenths. Applying the hand timed protocol to his time, rounded up with 0.24 seconds added he’d be seeded aside Newport’s Jagger Lovely. With schools entering times listed as Kearsarge FAT yet with the home school seemingly entering hand times, it makes me suspect of some of the Battlenote entries.
Conant’s Ethan Vitello, already an accomplished long sprinter is also making inroads in other events. The top seed in the 400 and a high seed in the 800, Vitello has taken his talents to the jumps, as he is the top seed in the triple jump with 40-8 and the #2 seed in the long jump. Branching out into field events might make for a great combination for some of the running events with a compressed schedule.
At this point in the season Gilford’s Patrick Gandini has a commanding presence in the distance events. Top seed in the 3200 by almost a minute and also top seed in the 1600 by more than ten seconds. At this point in the season, he seems the man to beat and must be considering the distance double.
Other individuals with substantial space between their top seed and the person behind them.
110H – Gabe Rock, Mascoma
300H – Jagger Lovely, Newport
TJ – Ethan Vitello
SP – Joey Bergeron, Bishop Brady
Disc – Joey Bergeron, Bishop Brady
So now we’re set for the second half of the season and I expect there will be some shifts as athletes begin to come around to their fitness and build their speed. Time will tell.