NHIAA State Division Championship Meet Hub
Running Events Program – Courtesy of Lancer Timing
Field Events Program
Girls Meet Preview
By Nate Leveille
Twenty of the largest schools in the state of New Hampshire will converge on the baby-blue track at Salem High School for the D1 Championships. The championship and runner-up plaque will be up for grabs with a number of teams having a shot at one of them on paper. Seed wise, Pinkerton Academy girls would appear to have a clear cut advantage over the field by more than 30 points. Pinkerton has a well balanced approach with point scorers in the jumps, throws, sprints, hurdles, and distance. Jordan Wheaton is their driving force and major point scorer as a top 2 seed in three different events. Last year’s runner-up team Concord appears to have the best shot at knocking off Pinkerton as they are projected to score a boatload of points in all jumping events. Last year they made a late charge scoring a ton of points in Pole Vault, Triple jump, and the 3200 to nearly pulling off the win. They will have a similar approach this year. Nashua North has two superstars in Jhanelle Thomas and Madelyn Novak who could account for almost 50 points combined. Led by those two they can’t be counted out. Bedford also has a couple superstars of their own in Anika Scott and Fiona Lee. Those four teams should occupy the first 4 spots in the standings, but theres always surprises at the state meet as teams step up while others have an off day.
As I mentioned indoor, the sprints in NH are loaded this year. New England place winner Soraya Ross of Nashua South will look to defend her crown against the likes of Alexis Best of Merrimack, Iyana Braswell of Nashua South, Lily Jenkins of Portsmouth and Hannah Sippel of Pinkerton. Throw in Harriet Barber of Manchester Central and Jhanelle Thomas of Nashua North in the 200m and there should be some very fast times and good competition coming out of the sprints. Jordan Wheaton of Pinkerton is the defending champion in the 100 hurdles. Anika Scott of Bedford gave her all she could handle a week ago at the Londonderry Invite. I look for these two to battle to the line and potentially a state record watch as Wheaton comes in with a seed time of 14.38 and the state record is 14.23. In the 300 hurdles, Wheaton is actually not the favorite on paper as Thomas of North has been flying in the event lately. Those two have separated from the field, but don’t count out last years runner-up Kailey Dillon of Merrimack.
Middle Distance/ Distance
Barber of Central was last year’s champ in the 400m and has been on a mission all season long to defend her title. Her top challenge should come from Seacoast Champ Charlotte Beaudoin of Timberlane and Isabella Sippel of Pinkerton. In the 800, Anique Poulin of Dover is the top seed and defending indoor 600m champ. She will be challenged by last years champ Fiona Lee of Bedford. Lee is the overwhelming favorite in the 1600m run with a 18 second advantage over #2 seed Lily Thomas of Salem. Pinkerton will look to secure important points in the 3200m with the 1-2 punch of Contessa Silva and Isabelle Groulx. 3 seed Shelly Smith of Concord is the defending champ and cant be counted out.
The 4×800 is always the hardest relay to predict because you never know what athletes teams will use. Bedford is the top seed with a bunch of girls that are capable of running under 2:30. Exeter and Pinkerton are the 2-3 seeds. Nashua South has owned the 4×100 all year long establishing a new state record in much cooler conditions earlier this year. Look for them to defend their title from a year ago and hold off Pinkerton the two seed. Will they establish another state record? The 4×400 is usually whoever has the freshest bodies left at this time in the meet. Last year the 4×400 decided the meet. This year all the key teams are in the fast heat and it could be a repeat. Concord enters as the top seed followed by Pinkerton, Nashua North, and Exeter.
There may be no more important event for the Concord Crimson Tide than the pole vault. Kendall Barton of Concord enters as the top seed followed by a three way tie for second. Concord, Bedford, and Londonderry occupy 9 of the top 10 seeds. Long jump has been one of the strongest events in the state with 11 girls over 16ft. Scott of Bedford has been unstoppable as the one seed and only girl over 18 feet. Braswell of South is the two seed and watch out for Merrimack’s duo of Dillon and Best 3-4 seed. High jump is another very strong and unpredictable event this season. There are a number of girls in contention and a 3 way tie for the top seed between Ella Goulas of Concord, Wheaton of Pinkerton, and Kelechi Okorie of Nashua North. Best of Merrimack has been the “best” triple jumper in the state all year long. She has more than a 2 foot advantage on the field and could make a run at the D1 record of 38’11”.
The girls shot looks a lot like last year as all the top seeds return from a year ago. Bella Colizzi of Salem will look to win the title on her home turf. Briana Danis of Pinkerton comes in as the two seed, but look out for big meet performer Madelyn Novak of Nashua North who is the defending champ in the shot. Novak is also the defending champ in the javelin and top seed this year. She will be challenged by two seed Rachel Poulin of Exeter and Margaret Montplaisir of Portsmouth. There is less drama in the discus where Danis of Pinkerton is the top seed by 22ft. Novak is the second seed and Jameson Trask of Pinkerton is the three seed.
Coming off an exciting return to Indoor Track this past winter season one would hope the Outdoor season would keep that energy going and Division 1 has not disappointed! With the D1 State Meet this Thurs May 25th at Salem High School, NHTF takes a look at the top seeds, makes a few predictions, and celebrates all the athletes and coaches that have worked exceptionally hard all season.
Looking at the returnees from last year we all knew there was some serious speed out there, but with Keene’s Chris Stevens top seeded 100m 10.77 and Pinkerton’s Caden Michaud’s 10.95 we are likely to see a real battle. Add to that mix Memorial’s AJ Sebastien and Salem’s Samuel Jones (both 11.02 seeds) and Bedford’s Russell Ledger (11.11) we’ll for sure see a very exciting race over that short distance!
The 200m has Keene’s Stevens as the top seed with a blistering 21.78 and adds a very fast and tightly bunched group of sprinters with some familiar names from the 100 in Memorial’s Sebastien (22.58), Nashua South’s Ethan Schnyer (22.61) and Salem’s Jones (22.62), with a good size pack seeded not too far behind.
The 400m looks on paper to have top seed and Indoor 600m New England Champion Sean Clegg from Londonderry (50.07) run away from the field, but watch for Erik Nolan of Keene (51.08), Portsmouth’s Jake Haley (51.17), and Pinkerton’s Michaud (51.45) to challenge and push Clegg for the whole race.
In the 800m Merrimack’s Tyler Safstrom (1:57.79) is the top seed by almost a full second and running very well recently, but this distance is never a sure thing as Nathan Binda from Pinkerton (1:58.77) and Exeter’s Nate Mikulsky (1:58.94) are very much threats to challenge for the win. Watch for Bedford’s Jared Bekkering (1:59.61), Concord’s Shaun Fifield (1:59.66), and Avery Crowell from Portsmouth (2:00.96) to race tough as well. It wouldn’t surprise us if we saw a scorer come out a slower heat as well!
The 1600m will be one of many interesting races that have team championship implications, and watch for Bedford’s Jacob Redman (4:22.91) to control this race as the top seed by almost 8 seconds and turn on the jets for the win. However, a talented and hungry group will be working to play spoiler as Keene’s Sully Sturtz (4:30.82), Nicholas Marcotte from Alvirne (4:30.98), Portsmouth’s Crowell (4:31.01) and Ryan Fortin of Londonderry (4:31.10) are all seeded within 3 tenths of each other and are all capable of running faster than those seeds.
The 3200m will be an interesting mix of tactics and talent as Bishop Guertin’s Matthew Giardina (9:29.33) is the top seed by over ten seconds and could set the tone early. Keep your eye on the chaser pack of Fortin of Londonderry (9:39.84), Bedford’s Redman (9:40.35), Dante Castellano of Nashua South (9:46.33), Sturtz of Keene (9:46.37) and Merrimack’s Cameron Fredette (9:46.40) as any of those athletes could challenge for a top 3 spot.
In the 110 hurdles Bedford’s Chris Chong (14.73) is a massive favorite and the only hurdler seeded under 15 seconds. He is joined by teammates JJ Powers (15.84) and Jaden Cote (16.08) taking up the 1, 3, and 4 seeds in this event. Nashua South’s Rory Olsen (15.61) looks to break up that squad as the #2 seed. Winnacunnet’s Erik Marelli (16.21) and Portsmouth’s Jake Lovern (16.23) could both be dangerous in the final as well.
Chong (38.43) is a big favorite in the 300 hurdles as well over Olsen (39.47) again in the 2 spot and they are joined by Nashua North’s Jack Sullivan as the only three in the event to crack to 40 second barrier so far. The last 100m of this race should be electric with these 3 elite athletes at the top of their game. Freshman Ryan Jamison (42.22) from Winnacunnet could be a surprise factor as well.
Pinkerton (43.08) is the prohibitive favorite in the 4x100m and is seeded an absurd full 6 tenths ahead of the #2 seed and still very fast Bedford (43.68). Manchester Memorial (43.84) and Concord (43.93) will work to ensure no lead or seed is safe with the last 100m of this race sure to get the crowd on their feet.
The 4×400 will cap off the meet and it’s Pinkerton (3:29.29) in the driver’s seat again. This event clinched the Indoor D1 title for Bedford and look for the Bulldogs (3:32.77) to throw all their considerable talent at this relay to grab as many points as possible. Exeter (3:32.69) is running well and has the chance to capitalize on any mistakes or tired legs from other teams, and Nashua North has the ability to elevate over their seed time as well.
Leading off all running events on the oval is the 4×800, the event that’s always shrouded in mystery going into the meet. Will teams run their top distance runners or save them for individual events? Coaches don’t have to publicly declare their lineups so we are all left guessing! Ignoring the seeds, Pinkerton looks to have too much depth to dismiss even if they don’t utilize their 1:59-2:01 runners and Bedford could run Redman to complement a sneaky deep squad, so look to those two teams as almost a lock to go 1-2. Exeter has the talent to get in the mix as well as does Nashua South so those teams should be close behind in the 3-4 spots.
The Pole Vault is an extremely difficult event to do and to predict. Winnacunnet’s Wyatt Patterson (13’10) is about as sure of a bet to win as we have, vaulting consistently well and seeded a foot and 4 inches higher than the next best seed. In that 2 spot is Salem’s Nicholas Rushton (12’6) vaulting on his home pit. Donovan Gannon from Londonderry (12’0) and Concord’s Colby Nyhan (12’0) look to be the most likely to score big points if they perform well. Don’t count out the Nashua North vaulters and the swarm of six from Portsmouth; this will be as entertaining of an event to watch as one could hope for!
Speaking of difficult to predict, the Long Jump has an unbelievable 11 jumpers over 20 feet. Top seed Jack Sullivan of Nashua North (21’1) looks to be the favorite but it could be anyone’s day with Manchester Memorial’s Alexis Rivera (20’9.5) and Windham’s Shayan Biswas (20’8.25) close behind and all those 20 foot jumpers are in play!
Sullivan (42’4) is the top seed in the Triple Jump as well as the only jumper over 42’ and is motivated to go for the horizontal jump sweep. Exeter’s Thoren Kersten-Guiler (41’9), Londonderry’s Donovan Gannon (41’7.5), Concord’s Alain Twite (41’7) and Rivera from Memorial (41’7) look like the most likely group to compete over the top places but never count out a lower seeded athlete in this event!
The High Jump has a clear favorite in Londonderry’s Andrew Kullman (6’6) with Nashua South’s Sami Witta (6’2), Concord’s Twite (6’0), and Rivera from Memorial (6’0) all capable of having a big day. Watch for the Spaulding duo of Eli Benjamin and Paul Butler (both 5’11 seeds) to come up big if they are feeling it Thursday.
Nashua North has two phenomenal shot putters that could go 1-2 in that event in Toby Brown (55’1) and Darius Smith (52’9.5). Right there with them and absolutely in their class is Nashua South standout Antonio Martinez (52’7). Any one of these three could take home an individual win in this event.
Different event but same names at the top as North’s Brown (153’8) and Smith (139’8) are seeded 1-2 in the discus as well. Brown looks to be the favorite with a whopping 14+ foot lead over everyone else. Concord’s Sam Foulds (137’10) and Shawn Boudreau (132’5) are excellent throwers as well and do damage if they het hot at the right time.
The Javelin is another event that rarely goes according to seed, but Jason Yeaton of Portsmouth (164’11) is the top seed by 5 feet and will look to hold on to that top spot. Pinkerton’s Joseph Packowski (159’9) and Bishop Guertin’s Spencer Matarazzo (159’1) are serious contenders as well. Joining the 150+ club and threats to throw well are Bedford’s Alexander Grudinskas (152’10) and another Portsmouth thrower Evan Venn (151’4)
Based on seeding, consistency of performance, and sheer number of athletes entered in the meet, the team competition seems to come down to two favorites: Bedford and Pinkerton. Bedford brings two athletes in Chong and Redman that are close to “can’t miss” as you can get in a sport with an infinite number of variables and surprises. The Bulldogs are deep as well with big potential points in the 100 hurdles, relays, and a diverse portfolio of athletes that can get “sneaky” points in many places. Pinkerton has a ton of athletes in this meet, and even though outside of the 4×1 and 4×4 they don’t really have a clear-cut favorite in terms of seeding, the Astros are everywhere. Looks for 2nds, 3rds, 4th places to add up and potentially rack up a big team number.
After those two teams Nashua North seems to be another team with a high ceiling; they will feast on field events and score a ton of points there. Add in some hurdle and relay points and the Titans are a real contender if things break right for them.
The best of the rest are Nashua South, Exeter, Portsmouth, and Londonderry. All three teams have a multitude of athletes in many events but will need big performances and/or missteps from the teams already mentioned to break out of this tier.
Good luck and good health to all teams and individuals!