2018 MEET OF CHAMPIONS PREVIEW
By Nate Leveille
Last week the Divisional Championships were all about individual sacrifice for the team goal of winning a state championship. Some athletes were holding back in certain events or tired from running multiple races and relays.That won’t be the case this weekend! With no team scoring at the Meet of Champions, individuals will focus on their best events and relays in hopes of placing in the top 6 and qualifying for the New England Championships, June 9th at the University of New Hampshire!
The boys 100 meter dash should be a rematch of last week’s Division 1 meet where Jadyn Ruimwijk of Pinkerton and Dalton Mutz of Concord blazed to very fast times. If anyone from the other divisions can challenge, it will be sophomore Kyle Doucette of Hanover.
The 200 meters may be the race to watch as D2’s stud, Trinity’s Stephen Duckett the top seed, takes on Mutz, Ruimwijk, and Doucette!
Noah Woodman of Pinkerton will look to establish a new state record in the 400 meter run and he will have help. He appeared to ease towards the line last week on his way to a 48 point. I haven’t seen a New Hampshire boy make sub 50 look this easy. The help will be from Duckett who went sub 50 down at the Loucks Games. If Duckett can get out early and push Woodman, then the state record of 48.27 set back in 2009 is in trouble.
Moving our way up, the 800 meter should be interesting as top seed Spenser Sawyer of Windham is seemingly running fresh (maybe a 4×8 leg?). With the difference in seed times, he is the favorite. D1 Champ, Exeter’s Jake Winslow will be doubling back from what should be an epic 1600 meter run, but do not count him out. He seems to have mastered the art of winning. Watch for Colin Conery of Concord or Ian Daly of Inter-Lakes as both have potential to pop one at any time, especially Ian, who has been itching for competition the entire season. Ironically Ian’s dad is the coach of Concord. Who would he be cheering for if they are neck and neck down the stretch?
Getting back to the 1600, look for another showdown between Winslow and North’s David Vorbach as both have excellent strength and speed. Last week at the Division 1 meet, Vorbach led 1599.9 meters of the 1600m race. His tough-nose style of front running could cause problems for the other two. Vorbach is also the favorite in the 3200m later on in the night. Forest Mackenzie of Concord will be a handful for him as always, and I never count out Cameron Starr of Pelham who is clearly rounding into superb form as evidenced by last week’s D2 double.
The hurdles is really Billy Powers of Winnacunnet and everybody else. Anyone tuned into the 110 hurdles could see the first New Hampshire boy to ever go sub 14. Just for good measure I say Powers doubles down and breaks the 300 meter hurdle record as well.
The relays are always tricky to figure out with some schools graduating, others having prom, and some kids just not available. I know the 4×100 is unpredictable with Concord, Windham, Bedford, and Merrimack with all sub 44 second times on the year. The 4×800 is Concord’s to win, but only if the load it up. If not, Keene, Kingswood, and Winnacunnet could pull off the upset win. The 4×400 Is the Pinkerton Academy show. There are other schools like Inter-Lakes, Bedford, Belmont and Winnacunnet capable of running under 3:30, which should push the Astros to an even faster winning time.
D3 Kevin Mcgrath of Hopkinton and Jack Parker of White Mountains look to show the large school boys how to high jump. They come in as the 1-2 seeds at 6’6” and 6’4” respectively. In the pole vault Scott Rathbun of Keene is the top seed and favorite by more than a foot. If he brings his “A” game he can make a run at 15 feet. The overwhelming favorite in the long jump is Lucien Mumphini of Bedford. He has the top seed in the event with a distance of 21’ 9”. Mumphini will also compete in the triple jump where he is the 2 seed behind D1 champ Dinebari Adumene of Memorial.
The throws will feature some D1 vs. D2 head-to-head battles. Marcus Roper of Lebanon is the one seed in the shot, but Patrick Hagearty of Londonderry is peaking at the right time. Both boys will be looking to eclipse the 50 foot mark. In the discus, Hagearty is the 1 seed based on the bomb he threw in his 6th attempt to win D1’s. Pete Thibault of Newport is the two seed, but don’t sleep on Jeremiah Swett of Exeter. Swett was leading D1’s until the last throw of the competition. This discus should be fun to watch. Joey Fodor of Berlin is not the favorite in the javelin, but he did put a solid string of throws together and is a very consistent thrower that will challenge the favorite John King of Pinkerton. Stanko’s state record of 200’ 9” is not out of reach for these two.
The combination of division 1-2-3 on the girls side creates some awesome matchups this weekend. Starting out on the sprints, we can see how Crismeily Borg of Nashua South matches up with Kristina Allard of Sanborn. New Hampshire hasn’t seen a freshmen step onto the big stage like Allard since Milford’s Viankah Williams 2 years ago. The 200 will have another D1 vs D2 battle as Grace Devanny of Concord and Williams of Milford battle it out in the 200 meter run. Both these girls have been at the front of the class since they entered high school. Williams once looked like a sure thing to demolish every sprinting record in the state before suffering hamstring issues. She looked healthy and fast last week defeating Allard in the 200.
Devanny will start things out in the 400 meter run fresh off her 56.80. Allard might be able to get out in front and push her to an even faster time, but Devanny looked so strong down the home stretch last week. Anna Cioffredi’s state record is 55.59.
Anna Harmon of Raymond will continue her fantastic season in the 800 Meters. She has been running in a class all by herself this season. If she gets challenged it will come from Corinne Robitaille of West or Caroline Fischer of BG. Julia Robitaille of West will be competing in the 1600m and it could be a repeat of the D2 1600m in where she pulled away from Lauren Robinson and Rebecca Durham of Milford for the win. Watch out for Cali Coffin of South. Coffin held back last week running multiple events for team points. This week that won’t be the case and she could get in the mix with these 4 girls all with the potential to go sub 5. The last distance race, the 3200 meters, will be the last time Jackie Gaughan of Exeter runs on New Hampshire soil. Fresh off her crazy triple at D1’s she will focus on her bread and butter. If feeling good, there’s no telling how fast Jackie can run. Could she be the first girl from New England to go under 10 minutes?!? Spectators may never see another distance runner like Jackie in our lifetime so we should enjoy this.
The hurdles will be void of Ellie Johnston of Exeter because of her prom but will still include some intriguing D2 vs D1 battles. D2 champ Acadia Momm-White of Portsmouth and D1 runner-up Sydney Lewis of Nashua South will battle it out in the 100 meter hurdles and D2 Champ Elise Lambert of Souhegan and D1 runner-up Katya Rojco of Salem in the 300 hurdles.
The relays are pretty wide open. Can Londonderry nail perfect handoffs and go sub 50 again for the win? Will Oyster River show Bedford and Londonderry the D2 schools rule the 4×100 relay and repeat their MOC win of last year? In the 4×400 relay, 8 schools are separated by less than 4 seconds. My girls think I’m crazy for practicing 4×400 handoffs so much, but this could be the deciding factor. Bedford and Pinkerton are the top two seeds, but Memorial, Oyster River, Souhegan and Portsmouth are right there. The winner could come from the second heat if Exeter or Milford can get out in front and run alone. In the 4×800, D1 champ BG is the favorite with Pinkerton right behind them. Souhegan has been a monster in this event over the past few years. They cruised to the D2 win and might have more in the tank for this week.
The throws will basically be a repeat of D2 plus Sarah Williams of Dover. This has to be the strongest D2 has ever been in the
throws or any division for that matter. Four of the top five seeds in the shot are all from D2 led by one seed Kath Merchant of Lebanon and two seed Kathleen Collins of Coe-Brown. Collin’s is the one seed in the discus with a huge mark of 148’3”. She is followed by two seed Megan Sheehan of Sanborn and three seed Merchant. In the Javelin, Merchant is again the 1 seed, but the two seed, only a 9th grader, is Jasmine Peterson of Newfound! Look out for Amelia Graves of Pinkerton. Last year Merchant nearly pulled off the triple win in the throws coming up an inch short in the javelin. This year may be more challenging for her as she should be tested in all three events.
In the long jump, Williams of Milford and Allard of Sanborn will battle it out again like they did last week. Both girls have the ability to go over 18 feet and both could score at New Englands. Alana Choate of Nashua North is the top seed in the triple jump. The seasoned jumper is the only girl over 36 feet on the season. Scarlett Souter of Windham is the two seed followed by Julia Zhang of Nashua South. In the high jump, Mia Herrling of Pelham is the one seed over Lewis of South. Last year these two went to a jump off with Lewis getting the win. Suzie Moore of Londonderry finished runner-up last year in the pole vault. She will look for her first MOC title as the 1 seed. Sarah Morin of Portsmouth and Skylar Bomba of Alvirne could challenge her for the top spot.
Good luck to all athletes as we will be crowning individual/relay state champs as well as determine qualifiers for next week’s New Englands on New Hampshire soil at UNH for the first time since 2001. A very special year indeed! We will be livestreaming as well tomorrow, so if you cannot make it to Merrimack, check it out!