By Nate Leveille
The D1 championships were filled with breakout performances, lifetime bests, and exciting team races. On the girl’s side Pinkerton Academy locked up the team title with a solid 75 points placing in 10 of the 13 events and winning 4 of them. Jordan Wheaton of Pinkerton (Hurdles and High jump) and a talented distance and sprint squad displayed why they have been the best team on paper all season long. In the runner up spot was a young Bedford girls team with 57 points. Dover 40 points, Concord 39 points, and Portsmouth 38 points rounded out the top 5.
Sprints & Hurdles
I said it during the live feed and it did not disappoint. The girl’s 55-meter dash was the deepest field in the history of the D1 meet. Senior Iyana Braswell of Nashua South entered as the 3 seed, but continued her stellar senior season besting the loaded field and winning in a time of 7.36 seconds just ahead of teammate Soraya Ross (7.37) and Alexis Best of Merrimack (7.39). All three girls have a shot at the podium at the New England Championships.
In the hurdles, Wheaton of Pinkerton continued her dominant season finishing first in 8.40 seconds well ahead of Anika Scott of Bedford (8.55). I don’t believe Wheaton has lost a hurdle race this season. In the 300 meters is was freshman sensation Mikita Barry of Bedford blasted the field with a season-best 41.38. Outdoor 400m champ Harriet Barber of Manchester Central used a late charge to finish second in 41.83 and Best of Merrimack was third in 42.13.
Middle Distance/ DIstance:
Anique Poulin of Dover had a breakout performance in the 600m running a lifetime best sub 1:39.10 to get the win. She was able to hold off a hard-charging Samantha Ducharme of Bedford (1:40.56) and Meadow Gregory of Exeter (1:41.72). In the 1000 meters, Isabel McIntyre of Dover put on a tactical clinic using as little energy as possible to win in 3:10.11 over Isabelle Groulx of Pinkerton Academy (3:14.67).
In her 3rd race of the day, the 1500-meter run, McIntyre used the same strategy to secure 10 more team points winning in 5:05.16. Lily Thomas of Salem finished second in 5:06.71 and Cortessa Silva of Pinkerton was 3rd in 5:06.82. In the 3000 meters, it was Silva of Pinkerton (10:57.01) with a strong kick to separate from Shelly Smith of Concord (11:00.58) and Anna Fondakowski of Bishop Guertin (11:00.96).
Wheaton of Pinkerton continued her winning ways in the high jump clearing 5’4”. She was followed by Ella Goulas (5’2”) and Kelley Mikelson of Concord (5’0”). In the Long jump Scott of Bedford got the win in 17’3”. She was followed by Miriam Nada of Portsmouth 16’6.75” and Kailey Dillon of Merrimack 16’6.75”. In the shot put, big meet performer Madelyn Novak of Nashua North bested the field with a (36’10”). Bella Colizzi of Salem finished second (35’0”) and Briana Danis of Pinkerton was third at (34’8.75”).
In the 4×800 Pinkerton Academy secured 10 early points in the meet winning in 10:07.90 over Alvirne 10:09.83 and Portsmouth 10:21.45. The 4×400 was not as exciting as anticipated as Bedford rolled to a win in a season best 4:09.30. Behind them was Pinkerton 4:15.97 and Exeter 4:17.11. The top 6 teams all produced season bests. The 4×200 might have been the most exciting relay of the day as three teams came to the line together. It was Nashua South winning in (1:49.59) over Portsmouth (1:49.71) and Bedford 1:49.73.
On the boy’s side, Bedford behind a talented sprint squad and distance stud Jacob Redman pulled off the upset of sorts winning the D1 title with 60 points well ahead of runner-up Pinkerton Academy (44 points). Portsmouth (43 points), Windham (35 Points), and Nashua South (34 points) rounded out the top 5.
Sprints & Hurdles:
The anticipated matchup between Chris Stevens of Keene and AJ Sebastien of Memorial will have to wait for outdoors. Unlike in the Millrose Games, Stevens was not allowed to run the race under protest after false starting. Sebastian cruised to the win in 6.59 seconds ahead of Kevin Brooks of Windham (6.68) and Sam Jones of Salem 6.71. Stevens got his revenge in the 300m with a state best (36.06) for the win ahead of Brooks of Windham (36.53) and Christopher Chong of Bedford (36.91). In the Hurdles, Chong of Bedford broke the 8-second barrier running 7.94 seconds for the win. He was followed by Matthew Morrison of Pinkerton (8.31) and Jaden Cote of Bedford (8.40). Bedford scored a massive 18 points in this event.
Middle Distance/ Distance:
Sean Clegg of Londonderry entered the 600 meters as the 1 seed and a seed time just off the D1 record. He didn’t come away with the record but cruised to an easy victory in 1:23.42 more than 4 seconds ahead of second-place Tyler Safstrom of Merrimack. In the 1000 meters, Jacob Redman of Bedford established himself as the man to beat in Division 1 distance running. The much-anticipated race went out more similar to the 3k as the crawled through the first lap in 35 seconds. The race got ramped up but no one had an answer for Redman’s devastating kick as he got the win in 2:36.25. Portsmouth finished 2-3 with Avery Crowell 2:38.23 and Jake Haley 2:43.05.
In the 1500 meters, nearly everyone who entered was on their second or third race of the day. With that in mind, a “fresh” Matt Allen of Exeter did everything he could to hammer the pace and distance himself from Redman’s devastating kick. Redman hung on tough and made his move with a lap-to-go winning in 4:04.56. A spent Allen held on for second in 4:11.50 and Crowell of Portsmouth was third in 4:15.68. In the 3000 meters Matthew Giardina of Bishop Guertin used a powerful last two laps to get the win in 8:59.33. Matthew Fortin of Londonderry finished second in 9:01.47.
Sami Witta of Nashua South has been the top high jumper all season long. He proved that by getting the win clearing 5’10”. In the Long Jump, Alexis Rivera of Manchester Memorial had a lifetime best of 21’1.75” to upset Michael Dettore of Exeter 20’9.25”. For anyone that watched the shot put it was very clear that Toby Brown of Nashua North had the 60ft mark in mind. He nearly achieved that goal, but sadly fouled the top of the toe-board. He still put on a heck of a display winning with a throw of 55’5.75” over his teammate Darius Smith 49’2”.
Pinkerton and Portsmouth both looked to score as many points as possible in the 4×800 while hopefully not emptying the tank of all their athletes. Portsmouth got the win in ( 8:31.78) ahead of Pinkerton (8:32.48) and Merrimack (8:43.93). The 4×400 was a different story as Pinkerton needed to win the last two relays and get some help from other teams in order to win the meet. Pinkerton dominated the 4×400 going to the front and never looking back. They crossed in at 3:36.97 ahead of Portsmouth at 3:39.45 and Exeter at 3:40.69. In the 4×200 Bedford needed a 4th-place finish or better to secure the team title. Pinkerton needed to win the 4×200 and get some help as Bedford entered as the three seed. Disaster struck on the first handoff as Pinkerton went out of the zone. It didn’t matter, Bedford finished second (1:37.93) behind a dominant Windham squad (1:34.43) and locked up the team title. Finishing third was Concord( 1:38.07).
Congrats to the Bedford boys and Pinkerton Girls team champions!
Good luck to all the qualifiers at New England’s and Nationals!