The best the state of New Hampshire has to offer will converge at Oyster River High School Saturday afternoon trying to punch their tickets to the New England Championship the following weekend by placing in the top 6 in their respective events. Not only is this a New England Qualifier, but it is simply the most competitive track and field meet on NH soil this year. The best of the best settling the annual question, “Who is the best in the state of NH?” Athletes will need to focus on this and not the weather change as temps are forecasted to be 30-40 degrees cooler than the previous couple days.
The 100 looks to be 2 of the most competitive races on the day. The girls seeds have 4 within a tenth of a second with the 5th seed being D2 champion. D1 Champ, South’s Soraya Ross tops the list with a 12.25. Merrimack’s Alexis Best’s fastest time is 12.27 with Ross’s teammate Iyana Braswell 3rd seed at 12.30. Portsmouth’s Lily Jenkins is seeded 4th with a 12.35 and then you have D2 champ, Kennett’s Aida Wheat at 12.44. Who is your pick??!!
The boys have Keene’s Chris Stevens as the top seed in both the 100 and 200. As D1 Champ with the fastest times on the season, that makes him a true favorite on Saturday. Watch for Pinkerton’s Cade Michaud to give him another run in the 100. D3 Champ Joshua Gentchos is in both the 100 and 200 coming off one of his best performances of his life. Gilford’s Isaiah Reese is in both events as well, while Sanborn’s Brady Ash and Memorial’s AJ Sebastian are threats in the 200.
In the girls 200, Central’s Harriet Barber is the number 1 seed at 25.17 with the aforementioned D2 Champion Wheat as the second seed just .06 behind. Barber posted this time coming off the 400 meters which she is also favored in with blazing 56.20! To be quite honest, the 400 meter time is insane for NH and is also almost 4 seconds up on the second seed. The battle for second is super tight as the next 5 seeds are separated by just 6 tenths of a second! Back to the girls 200, we do see Wheat along with North’s Jhanelle Thomas as well as Portsmouth’s Jenkins also seeded in the 25 second range. It seems these athletes have the best shot at pushing Barber over the half lap.
Londonderry’s Sean Clegg is top seed in the 400 at 49.81. Hoping to get pulled under the 50 second barrier is Sanborn’s Ash, Oyster River’s Ty Dorow and Keene’s Erik Nolan. Most interesting here is Dorow. If he is healthy, Clegg with have 3 guys chasing after him with legit shots.
The queen of the High Hurdles, D1 Champ Pinkerton’s Jordan Wheaton, is the favorite here with a seed time of 14.38. Her heir apparent, Bedford sophomore Anika Scott is the next seed at 14.52 and may give her a run. It is the hurdles after all. The king of the Hurdles in NH currently is Scott’s teammate, Christopher Chong as he is top seed in both the High Hurdles and 300 Hurdles. The High Hurdles has him at 14.73 with D2 Champ Plymouth’s Cole Ahern the next seed at 15.28. The intermediate hurdles sees South’s Rory Olsen as the only other athlete under 41 seconds with a seed time of 39.47. Again this is the hurdles, so nothing is for sure.
On the girls side, after only a couple races, Nashua North sophomore star, Jhanelle Thomas is already threatening the Corinne Kennedy’s state record. The D1 Champ is seeded at 43.92. Do not count out the D2 Champ, Oyster River’s Erin Carty. She is racing on her home track and won going away last week.
Middle and Long Distance
The 1600 is the first individual distance event on the day. In the girls race, watch for a repeat of last week’s D2 match up with Champ Haley Kavanagh of Oyster River topping the seeds at 5:09.32 with Hanover’s Lea Perreard the close second seed at 5:10. The boys race should be an absolute dog fight between Bedford’s Jacob Redman and Gilford’s Patrick Gandini. Could be the race of the day distance wise. Redman would seemingly have an edge with his 800 time, but don’t sleep on Gandini’s kick either.
The boys 800 will be an exciting race as CBNA’s Gavin Demas, Bedford’s Redman and Oyster River’s Chris Jernigan are all entered. Last week Demas still ran 1:54 doubling back from the 1600. Jernigan, 2nd last week, will be hard to beat as well, especially considering his own 49 second split in the 4×400. Perhaps a wild card is Gandini. While he is doubling back along with Redman, he has been running rarely solo in all of his efforts.
PCA’s Brianna Malone headlines the girls 800 as its top seed with a 2:13.27. Expect her to rip right to the from the gun with the likes of Oyster River’s Kavanagh, Dover’s Anique Poulin, and Bedford’s Fiona Lee giving chase.
Oyster River’s Mackenzie Cook has gotten accustomed to running alone in the 3200 and running fast. The D2 Champ comes in with a seed time of 11:06.65. Expect her to be right there and even faster as she will not be doubling back from the 1600 this week. Hanover’s Perreard is the next seed at 11:24 and one can never count out the Pinkerton duo of Contessa Silva and Isabelle Groulx.
Last week, after setting the D2 meet record in the 1600 in 4:12, CBNA’s Aidan Cox doubled back to the 3200 and ran 8:57.63. He doubled back to this. He doubled back to run the fastest 3200 on NH soil, a D2 meet record, solo, closing in 61. Cox is running this fresh this week. If the weather cooperates, this could get really memorable. Leb’s Birhanu Harriman gave chase the first few laps at D2 and then strongly ran alone the remainder of the race crossing in 9:20. He will have help this week with BG’s and D1 Champ Matthew Giardina coming in at 9:24.11. Then you have a host of others who are not doubling back from the 1600 either. So watch for names like Leb’s Thomas Wolfe, Keene’s Sully Sturtz, Coe-Brown’s Tyler Tkaczyk and Londonderry’s Ryan Fortin to battle for the coveted New England berths.
Just a note on relays. THEY SHOULD BE AWESOME! Usually, teams load up each relay and we witness some of the most drama filled races on the day. This year, state records could be on the line in the girls 4×100 and possibly the boys 4×800 if CBNA runs their core 4. Look for South and Pinkerton in the girls and boys 4×100 respectively. Both have been the best in the state all season long. The 4×400, Nashua North and Pinkerton are the top seeds. The 4×800 has Bedford and Coe-Brown as the top seeds.
Girls Pole Vault sees Kendall Barton as its top seed at 10’2″ with the next 4 seeds clearing 10′ this year. The boys side has a clear favorite as Winnacunnet’s Wyatt Patterson is at 13’10”. Concord’s Ella Goulas is the top seed in the Girls High Jump by virtue of her 5’4″ clearance this year. On the boys’ side, expect a showdown of sorts between Division Champions as Londonderry’s Andrew Kullman and Hanover’s Ian Solberg will be competing.
Merrimack’s Kailey Dillon and Bedford’s Scott will battle in the girls Long Jump as their seeds are only separated by 2 or so inches. Londonderry’s Kullman tops the list in the Long Jump as the only athlete bettering the 22′ mark. Watch for Conant’s Ben Sawyer, West’s Edwen Rodriguez and John Stark’s Rio Calle all of whom are in the 21 foot range.
Merrimack’s Best is just that in the Triple with 38’8″. Concord’s Goulas is second seed at 36’8″. Its a battle of D3 athletes at the top of the Triple Jump as freshman David Walker of Inter-Lakes and Tayshawn Sheppard of Somersworth top the seeds both eclipsing 43′.
The girls shot put looks like a D1 battle as Salem’s Bella Colizzi, Pinkerton’s Briana Danis and North’s Madelyn Novak top the performance list. It is similar on the boys side as North’s Toby Brown and Darius Smith along with South’s Antonio Martinez top the list all above the 50′ barrier. Joining them there and perhaps crashing the D1 part is Leb’s D2 Champ Tanner Ames.
Danis and Novak top the performance lists in the Discus with D2 Champ Madeleine Grenier (CBNA) and D3 Champ Isabelle Laplume (Newfound) the next best seeds. The boys sees D2 champ CBNA’s Zachary Bistany topping the boards with Brown seeded second followed by Newports D3 Champ Kyle Ashley and Ames both within striking distance.
Novak tops the list of girl jav throwers with Newfound’s Malina Bohlmann and Exeter’s Rachel Poulin also looking to contend. And finally the boys javelin may be one of the best of the meet as 3 athletes have eclipsed the 170 barrier with Gilford’s Reese, Newport’s Ashley and Hanover’s James Chafouleas.
Good Luck Everyone!