PICS – Courtesy of Reece Cutting (Newfound)
By Mike Smith
With a rainy afternoon in store, the 2023 Wilderness championships operated, per usual, with an efficiency that would help ensure that both spectators and athletes alike would stay dry for the most part and put up some great marks as we slide into championship season. Congratulations to all the winners, those athletes that improved their performances to qualify for States, to the winning teams, to host school Winnisquam, and to everyone that made this year’s version of the Wilderness championships a success. Let’s dig into it.
On The Track
The day started out with the 4×800. Gilford girls wasted no time getting after it, leading gun to tape, running 11:07.22. Newfound would finish second over Kennett. For the boys there was a great battle between Newfound and Gilford, with Gilford coming back on Newfound in the final 100, with Newfound’s Ben LaPlume holding off the Gilford charge to win 9:01.50 to 9:01.72. Winnisquam would finish third.
In the 100 hurdles, Winnisquam’s Victoria Kelly was the top seed and kept things that way, winning in 17.57 over Ellie Wimer of Kearsarge; Adeline Takantjas was third. In the 110 hurdles, Plymouth’s Cole Ahern would run 16 flat to win over Nicholas Haddocks of Gilford. Newfound’s Quinn Van Lingen would wind up third. In the girls 100, top seed and multi indoor champion Aida Wheat of Kennett would continue her winning ways over a stacked field, running a full half second faster than the field, finishing in 12.54. Newfound’s Elle MacDonald of Newfound and Belmont’s Emma Winslow would finish second and third. The boys 100 pitted two of the biggest sprint names in the business in Brady’s Joshua Gentchos and Gilford’s Isaiah Reese and the race did not disappoint. Gentchos would out lean Reece, 11.17 to 11.25, ensuring the matchup later in the day to be contentious as well. Belmont’s Colby Vetter would finish third.
In the girls 1600, Kearsarge’s Maelle Jacques and Mascenic’s Kaitlin O’Shea would go right to the front, gapping the rest of the field by 200 meters. Jacques would lead the entire time slowly gapping O’Shea to finish in 5:26.91. Moultonborough’s Adah Chapman would have the best second half of the race but couldn’t quite close down O’Shea, with the two finishing second and third. In the boy’s 1600, Gilford’s Patrick Gandini wasted no time getting after it, pulling the field out for a first lap that would see some attrition among the rest of the competitors. Gandini would win this one easily, running 4:22.71. InterLakes Abram Weil-Cooley would finish almost half a minute back, still running a quick 4:49, with White Mountains Eli Percy in third.
In the 4×100 relay, Kennett win was not out of the “Blue” with Wheat on anchor, but the Belmont girls made it a race, with Kennett 51.67 to Belmont’s 51.72. Plymouth would finish third in 55.86. For the boys, Brady flexed their short sprint strength, winning over 44.94 to Knnett’s 45.91. Belmont was third.
Kennett’s Piper Lopchanski would win the 400 in 1:02.03 over Kingswood’s Kylie Rapoza by almost a full second. In what might be the oddest series of events for a championship, Mascenic’s Kaitlin O’Shea finished in third, having run the 1600-4×100-400 combo pack. Not sure what her coach was thinking. In the 400, Tristan Kamann of InterLakes lived up to his seeding winning by half a second over Kingswood’s Casey Arsenault in 52.49. Brendan Goodwin of Winnisquam was third.
The girls 300 hurdles gave us one of the greatest battles of the day, with Kingswood’s Lauren McPhee and Kearsarge’s Ellie Wimer outdistancing the rest of the field by two seconds. McPhee would prevail, 50.42 to 51.27. Belmont’s Adeline Takantjas finished third. Proving to be an even bigger battle, Gilford’s Aiden Malek would win the tightest race of the day, by one hundredth of a second over Brady’s Nate Steigmeyer in 41.94. Gilford’s Haddocks would finish third.
In the 800, Kearsarge’s Molly Ellison would take control from the gun, running 2:23.55. Kennett’s Shannon Abrams and InterLakes Allana Poehler would finish second and third. The Great Gandini was back in the 800, pulling away from the field immediately, running unchallenged in 2:03.48. In probably the greatest mass finish of the day, Gilford’s Carter Forest would be the best of the rest, finishing in 2:11.60 over Winnisquam’s Henry Osmer.
Proving once again that the cream rises to the top, Kennett’s Wheat would show her supremacy in the sprints, winning the 200 by 1.3 seconds, in 26.23. Belmont’s Ava Lacasse would run a very quick 27.53 for second, with Kearsarge’s Juliet Faria in third. The battle of the big boys was back for the 200, with Gilford’s Reese taking it over Gentchos this time, 22.92 to 22.96. Belmont’s Vetter was third.
In the girls 3200, Gilford’s Georgia Eckhardt jumped out to an early lead and held it gun to tape, winning in 13:09.36. Berlin’s Audrianna Lefebrve finished second with Kennett’s Jeweliana Gorham in third. In the boys 3200, with the opening lap a 75 and the whole field in place, there was obviously going to be some shakeup in this one. Two laps in Mascenic’s Drew Traffie would go to the front, opening up a 30 meter lead. Kearsarge Daniel Dalbec and Plymouth’s Tate Hayman would lead the chase pack and with a strong last lap Dalbec would catch and pass Traffie to win in 10:28.92. Traffie would hold on to finish ahead of Hayman.
In the girls 4×400, Kingswood would get out to a good lead, and even with Wheat on the third leg Kennett couldn’t quite get there and Kingswood wins this one 4:18.34 to 4:26.43. Belmont would finish third. The boys race would see Gilford’s Gandini coming out of blocks on leadoff, taking the baton first in the first exchange and not looking back. While Kingswood would get it close, catching Gilford’s closing leg of Reese was too much, with Gilford winning 3:37.86 to 3:40.26. Winnisquam was third in 3:51.84.
In the Field
In high jump, while three athletes cleared 4-11, Kearsarge’s Jacques would win on misses over Newfound’s Gretchen Reynolds and Plymouth’s Anelie Flynn. For the boys, Winnisquam’s Aiden Donahue would win by two inches, jumping 6-1 to Kennett’s Nash Harrigan. Plymouth’s Ahern was third. In pole vault, Newfound’s Taylor Mooney would reign supreme, winning by two feet with a 10-0 vault. Second would be Winnisquam’s Jordan Boelig with InterLakes Abby Lincoln in second and third. Plymouth’s Ahern would finish with a 6 inch advantage, going 11-6 to White Mountain’s Elijah Beaulieu 11-0. Gilfrod’s Benjamin Wolpin would finish third.
Belmont’s Winslow would continue her dominance in long jump, getting out over the 16 mark again, jumping a winning 16-2.5. Wiinisquam’s Skye Tibbetts and Kearsarge’s Ainsley Frankiewich would go 3-2. Kennett’s Harrigan would beat out InterLake’s fantastic freshman David Walker by two inches, winning 19-11 to 19-9. Plymouth’s Gabriel Kean would be third. In triple jump, Belmont’s Tankantjas would win by over a foot, jumping 32-9.75 to Plymouth’s Sydney Valentis 31-4.5. Interlakes Sara Harris was third. InterLakes Walker would get revenge over Kennett’s Harrigan (and Woodsville’s Garrett Emery) jumping 40-2.25. Emery would be second and Harrigan third.
In the throws, Winnisquam’s Becc Kulengosky (a name I butchered all day long) would prevail in shot, tossing the orb 32-2.75. Amelia Lefevrbe of Kearsarge and Emily Brewster also broke the 31 foot distance to go 2-3. Winnisquam’s Carter Fredette would make it a shot put sweep, winning with 38-10. Tight for second was Prospect Mountain’s Parker Wood (38-8.75) and Newfound’s Trevor Shanshagrin (38-8.25.) The top three less than two inches apart! For Newfound’s Isabelle LaPlume it was toss the winning disc (98-2) then off to prom. Behind her Gilford’s Abby Kenyon and Laconia’s Cheyenne Magoon would finish 2-3. Plymouth’s Alex Leuhrs would outdistance the field with a 130-10, seven feet exactly over Newfound’s Trevor Shanshagrin. Belmont’s Brady Filteau would be third.
In javelin, Newfound’s Malinna Bohlmann would toss a 115-7, a twelve foot advantage over Moultonborough’s Sadey Sherkanowski. Winnisquam’s top hurdler Victoria Kelly would be third. Gilford’s everything man Reese state leader in javelin would out outthrow everyone by over 20 feet, winning in 165-8. Behind him Kingswood’s Caleb Russo would be second with 142-1 and Newfound’s Beckett VanLenten with 136-3.
Showing my general lack and capacity at team scoring, Kearsarge girls would win over Kennett, 73 point to 66 points. Home team Winnisquam would finish third. For the guys I did get it right, going with Gilford, who with 111 points would almost double up on Plymouth. Third place would go to Kennett.