by Mike Smith
This past Friday night, Mascenic attended the second annual Monadnock Twilight meet on the first night of May. With eight teams in attendance (Campbell, Conant, Concord Christian, Hinsdale, Keene girls, us, Wilton and of course the home team in attendance) everyone in attendance was looking for some great racing, a little night time magic, a bunch of PRs and an environment as bright and electric as the power running through the stadium lights.
In an effort “pump it up” we showed up with a backpack full of glow in the dark shot puts, ready to turn the only throwing vector for the evening activities into a rave inspired exhibition. This seemed to work out well for us with our own Jimmy Crawford tossing the winning throw of 40-5. The winner of the girls event was Wilton Lyndeborough’s Kelsey Crouse with 24-11.5.
In the other field events, Mascenic’s Mackenzie Vaillancourt might have been the only girl in the HJ and she made the most of it, setting a new PR by jumping 4-2 and qualifying for the Wilderness championships. Boys was won by Campbell’s Austin McHugh with a jump of 5-6.
Only the men contested pole vault, which was won by Campbell’s Keegan Reynolds. With a vault of 9-6.
But the boys triple and long jumps were a totally different story with 3 of the top jumpers in Division 3 contesting those events, meaning three of the best in the state including the state record holder in triple in Concord Christian’s Shane Wang. Wang won a tight one in long jump over Conant’s Ethan Vitello and Ben Sawyer jumping 21-9, but showed why he’s the state record holder in triple by going 47-1, almost 6 feet beyond Vitello in this one. For the ladies in long jump Campbell’s Ava Houle won with 15-9 and Keene’s Reilly Salisbury went out 28-5 taking the triple title.
On the track, things got started with the mixed 4×800 relay with Mascenic jumping straight to the front at the gun. They eventually lapped the entire field which included the Hinsdale boys, Keene girls and Conant girls, running 8:53.18. Keene would end up in a nice battle with Hinsdale, pushing them to a 10:16.98, moving them towards fifth in D1.
In the 100/110 hurdles Keene’s McKenna Castor won a decisive victory running 18.90 while Conant went 1-2 with Austin Poikonen and Kaden Colby running 17.81 and 17.97. (This is a really good way for the Conant Orioles to start things off as they need to be seen as a contender for the boys crown this spring.)
Wilton’s Sam Boette work for the evening would include wins in both the 100 and 200, with Monadnock’s Jack Lorenz and Vitello winning those events convincingly as well. Lorenz would be back to contest and win the 300 hurdles, while Vitello would anchor Conant’s winning 4×400 relay to round out his evening.
The largest field for the night was the girls 1600 with two full heats which was won by Keene’s Reagan Hoy in 5:34, a time good enough to have placed just outside the top ten in the boys race won in a sprint finish by Monadnock’s Jace Joslyn (5:02.92) in what was probably the most highly contested race of the evening.
Keene (55.79) and Campbell (50.10) would win the girls and boys 4×100 relays, with Conant winning both 4×400 relays with runs of 4:35. 92 and 3:42.30.
Monadnock’s Emma Toscano would win the 300 hurdles (55.28) winning handily. Conant’s Kylie Aho would lead teammates Adrienne Kennedy and Neve Mormando to a 1-2-3 finish in the 800, winning in 2:36.51.
But probably the performance of the evening went to Monadnock’s Mitchell Hill who soloed a 1:58.42 to win the boys 800 by a whooping 14 seconds, leaving the competition to simply be entering the final straight as he crossed the line.
The mixed 3200, the event potentially most benefited by the evening program cool conditions and calm winds, was won by Monadnock’s Alyssa Hall (13:07.07 and Mascenic’s Jethro Somero (10:37.85), leading his teammates to a 1-2-3 finish. For Mascenic this meet is important for this exact reason, as we target a strong 3200 meters for this day specifically. Seems to have worked.
And while we had many PRs as we head towards the championship season (just the kind of momentum you want) the entire feel of the meet, while pretty darn competitive, was usurped by a strong sense of camaraderie and a respect for the individual and team performances over the evening. Stepping back on occasion I witnessed lots of banter between competing athletes, coaches and visiting spectators. The feeling of family among the throwing crowd was fantastic, magnified by the spotlight (both actually and metaphorically) illuminating those performances.
To be honest, it felt a little different than the usual track meet where testosterone rules and everyone seems to have their game face etched in stone. Maybe it was the perfect weather for the second year in a row. Maybe it was the stunning sunset we got to witness as the evening got started. Maybe it was the signs of spring along the back stretch with the peepers and the insects flocking to the stadium lights. Maybe it’s just the accumulation of eight weeks of practice and the opening jitters are gone and everyone is running on all cylinders. Whatever it was, it was special, and I for one will be looking forward to spending the first Friday in May 2023 in Swanzey, New Hampshire.