Are you ready? Despite the snow, the 2017 season will begin on Monday! Division 2 promises to be one heck-a-va battle for top team honors for both girls and boys. We at NHTF certainly are gearing up! The Kennett High School community is gearing up to host their first state championship meet! The preview includes the top returnees for each event, excluding relays. Enjoy!
ICYMI: 2016 Division 2 State Championship Races
Last year, Milford won the team title (97 points) with a mixture of jumps, distance running, great sprinting and two very strong relays. While the Lady Spartans have graduated much of their ‘jumping’ points, they still return the best sprinter in the state, Ms. NH Track and Field 2016 in Viankah Williams, as well as a strong distance crew, which includes the ever-improving Rebecca Durham. On paper (see below) Lebanon, led by Ms. State Record Breaker, Corinne Kennedy, look to be heavy favorites; however they will be hard pressed by the 2017 Indoor State Champion Souhegan Lady Sabers. With a strong balance of distance running, jumping and sprinting, Souhegan won the indoor title quite comfortably. Having already won the cross country and indoor D2 titles this academic year, they will be going for the triple crown this spring, last completed by Coe-Brown back in the 2014-2015 academic year.
Between Lebanon’s Corinne Kennedy (Hurdles/400, jumps) and Milford’s Viankah Williams (Sprints), this is the most talent-rich group of events in Division 2. Kennedy is entering her final season of an illustrious scholastic career which has seen her win countless state/regional titles and break numerous state records. She is the definition of a track AND field athlete. When healthy, Williams by far is the best sprinter in NH. In only her second year, look for the spring to be no different.
One would think with the graduation of Maegan Doody, there would be a slip in talent within the D2 distance ranks. Think again. Although, for the first time in several years there will not be a majordomo of sorts, there are several athletes who will be shooting for individual titles this spring. Souhegan’s Madeline Hunt, MV’s Kristie Schoffield, West’s Julia Robitaille, Milford’s Rebecca Durham, Con-Val’s Clare Veverka, Coe-Brown’s Alli Pratt and Oyster River’s Danielle Slavin all represent the parity which could produce some fantastic racing and times this spring. Each one of these ladies has displayed at any one time the potential to win an individual title.
2016’s triple state champion, Lebanon’s Kath Merchant is the obvious favorite to repeat this phenomenal feat this spring. Coe-Brown’s Kathleen Collins and Sanborn’s Megan Sheehan represents her largest competition. Look for these three juniors to seesaw back and forth this coming spring.
Last year on the strength of senior leaper Peter Forster and Sebastian Eaton, Souhegan easily won the D2 title with 82 points. With the graduation of Forster and Eaton’s transfer to Trinity, it seems Division 2 will have another team champion in 2017. Matter of fact with the other teams from the top five getting hit hard from graduation, expect several new teams to contend. With the addition of Eaton, D2’s top sprinter, to Oliver Thomas, one of D2’s top hurdlers, and Tim Zepf, D2’s top mid distance dude, Trinity certainly has the big three of the state. With this firepower, they have to be the favorite on paper, and it will take a very balanced track and field team to wrest the title away from the indoor champions. That balanced team could very well be Coe-Brown. While they have no superstars per say, they have the potential to score in most events across the board. With their close runner-up finish this past winter, Windham has to be considered as a real contender as well. Also in contention could be Lebanon, Merrimack Valley, and Portsmouth.
The aforementioned Eaton (Trinity) is the heavy favorite to repeat as champ in all three sprint distances. His teammate, Thomas will have plenty of company from the always hurdle-rich Merrimack Valley in Brandon Wood and Joey Baylus. Also watch out for Kevin Frey of Windham.
Obviously, Oyster River’s Patrick O’Brien is the favorite to win any distance event he enters. Entering his final season, O’Brien is truly on a roll and the Divisions will really just be the beginning of his season. Behind O’Brien, Pelham’s Cameron Starr has certainly established himself as the heir apparent. Look for Starr to score a bunch for Pelham. After these two, Coe-Brown’s Zach Richards, this past indoor season’s D2 1k champ, could garner his share of points.
With no superstar in this group of events, expect parody to prevail. Lebanon’s Marcus Roper looks to be one of the top returnees in all three throwing events. With Goffstown returning to Division 2 this spring, look for Oliver Gunski, this winter’s D2 shot champ to be in contention for both shot and discus. Coe-Brown’s Isaiah Allen, second to Gunski indoors, seems to be fast improving as well.
Here at NHTF, we love stats, and we can’t wait for the season to start to get some more data. So we took a look at last year’s divisional meets and thought we would score them without the seniors. Now the numbers are a great baseline, but do not account for everything; they don’t even include any relays. On top of that, you still need to account for injuries, DQ’s, transfers, people trying new events, improvements, freshmen, events that aren’t filled up, and so much more.
D2 Girls Top 6 Returnees Per Event