By Tim Cox
Is this exciting! The snow is just about gone, the birds are a-chirping, and the sun is relatively warm (when it is out!). The 2019 season is finally here and wow, do we have a lot to be excited about as a statewide track and field community. We are fresh off the 2018 season which culminated with NH hosting the New England Championships for the first time in 18 years resulting in rave reviews. Pulling off this event took the collaboration of several groups from the NHIAA Outdoor Track and Field Committee to the New England Council, obviously UNH to NH State Officials to LancerTiming to the NHTFCA, several high schools, and many other individuals! The Granite State truly pulled together to produce the most successful Outdoor Track and Field New England Championships ever. That’s right NH, the event broke attendance records due to our collective love of sport and love of supporting the ever-hard working student-athletes who represent our state is such fine fashion. Simply stated, you all motivate the adults to work extra hard to facilitate your peak experiences. We at NHTF.com truly believe together we all set the standard of how it should be done! Congrats and thank you ALL!
Now even better news to highlight! Buoyed by the success of New Englands as well as other state championships being held at UNH, the NHIAA has scheduled all 2019 Division meets as well as the Meet of Champions at UNH. Of course this will take collaboration among the aforementioned groups; however, the effort will be all the more worth it because it will properly showcase even more NH Track and Field athletes. The prevailing thought last June, as we all enjoyed watching our student-athletes compete in a Division 1 stadium and facility decked out with a giant scoreboard, was how cool it would be to hold state championships there. The NHIAA has done their part! Now it is time to do our part as a community for what is optimal for the kids.
Considering “our part”, “our turn”…it truly is time. Time for others to continue to step forward to receive the baton if-you-will. Leaders of our sport in our state have laid a granite-strong foundation, some over the span of 40+ years, 90+ seasons. Of course when thinking of these names, Larry Martin is the top of the list. For those who may not know the name, while he may not have “started it all”, well he did start the Winter Track League and the XC Middle School Championships, Larry has greatly enhanced everything NH Cross Country/Track and Field. He is the reason we have an indoor track league and Middle School Championships. He has spear-headed all three sports for 40 years and he founded the NHCC Newsletter, a “baton” he handed off to us in 2013. Everything he has ever done was meant to give the kids of NH more opportunities. That has been his guiding philosophy coupled with an incredible sense of fairness.
While it seems at times he did this alone, he is the first to thank those who brought NH XC and TF to the forefront. Names like Rich Nagy and Rick Berryman, who founded Lancer Timing (Londonderry Lancers), the first fully automatic timing company in NH dedicated to high school track and field meets, and then grew to be the standard. Names like Ed Daniels, who throwers and their coaches look to for leadership and clarification. Names like Bob Mullen, Andy Gamble and Stan Lyford, who founded and cultivated the NHTFCA to become the true supporter of coaches indirectly and directly having a large positive impact for kids. Coaching names like John Goegel, Jeff Johnson, Joe Scascitelli, Sue Johnson, Mike Clark, Jim Eakin, John Snell, Lou Korcoulis, John Eastman, Art Demers, Eileen and Bernie Livingston, among many others who have dedicated their professional (and in some cases private lives) to the kids in their communities and NH. Official names like Al Halpern, Bob Brown, Nancy Eastman, Bob Gidari, as well as NH’s “voice” Tom McGrath, among many others, who have worked tirelessly to ensure a fair playing field is enjoyed by all, not because they primarily care about the rulebook, but because they enjoy working with kids.
Well, “younger” generation of coaches, officials, fans, alumni, when you have the opportunity, please thank all the leaders of our sport. Then please realize, it is our turn to assume those roles. It is our responsibility now to ensure the student-athletes of NH Track and Field/Cross Country are provided with the quality opportunities they have enjoyed over the past 40 years. The above-mentioned names, among others, have more than done their part. Their hard work not only is the blueprint, but a gift of motivation to receive the baton and even pick up the pace!
How? Actively look for opportunities to participate, to lend a hand. This year, a coach/community needs to look no further than the Division Championships and Meet of Champions. Being held at UNH is incredible, yes, but it also presents a challenge we can all contribute to meet. Without a host high school providing the necessary volunteers to fulfill roles not assumed by officials, an opportunity exists for any NH high school to provide a handful of volunteers to ensure the events run smoothly. After all, a smoothly run event is what’s best for the kids. Isn’t this what it should be all about and what should guide the sport as it has for decades?
Good luck to all!! Enjoy the 2019 season!
Note: Those who want to offer volunteers for the Division Meets and/or Meet of Champions please contact those listed below! Thanks!
Division III: Mike Smith
Division II: Tim Cox
Division I: Amy Sanborn
Meet of Champions: Nate Leveille