Preseason previews are always difficult. With many of the qualifying spots from last year vacated due to graduation and a host of newcomers that have yet to show what they can do on the track or the field, it’s tough to predict with much accuracy what to expect 12 weeks from now.
So we will highlight the returnees from last year and try to illuminate who are the athletes to watch and which events should produce some spectacular performances. Hope you enjoy our ‘What to Watch For’ take on the upcoming season.
What to Watch For 2016
D1 Girls Preview
Ever since moving up to Division 1 in 2013, Bedford High School has won the Division 1 State title. Scanning their returning athletes, they are once again a strong favorite to win their 4th consecutive title. Add into the mixture the addition of Virginia transfer Leya Salis, who scored 18 individual points at indoor Division 1’s, and the Bulldogs become rather overwhelming.
A bit overshadowed by Bedford’s run, are the Londonderry Lancers. They have been 2nd each of the past 3 years, and look to be heading the pack of teams vying for the runner-up plaque. Led by junior sprinter/jumper Yorgelis Ortiz, who is the top returnee in the 100, 200, and Long Jump, the Lady Lancers have also always had the depth to score big in relays. Look to them to continue their string of runner-up plaques. Timberlane, Bishop Guertin, Pinkerton and Exeter seem to be the teams most likely to challenge Londonderry for a podium finish.
- Can anyone dethrone Londonderry’s Yorgelis Ortiz? She is the defending champ in the 100, 200, and Long Jump.
- Pinkerton’s Nicole Alves placed 4th in both the 100 and 200 last year as a freshman. They seem to be more in her comfort level than the indoor events of the 55 and 300.
- BG’s Chloe Conway and Bedford’s Leya Salis will score between 10 and 20 points each.
- Will anyone give Jackie Gaughan a run in the 3200? She dominated the indoor 3k in a blazing 10:06, breaking the D1 record in the process.
- How many points will Bedford score in the High Jump? Annually, the Bulldogs seem to have a grip on this event.
- In turn, how many points will Londonderry score in the Pole Vault? They have the top 2 returning athletes.
- Look for Bedford to score 30+ points in the 3 throwing events led by junior Shanna Scribner.
- Exeter’s Melanie Lamar is the only returning champion (Discus) in the throws.
D1 Boys Preview
After their dominating performance this past indoor season, the question going into this 2016 outdoor season is can anyone challenge Pinkerton for the team title? Yes, indoors is heavy with middle and long distance events, but the Astros can score bunches of points in the 400 and up, thanks to their dominating distance crew. Sprinkle in some points in the sprints and relays, the Astros have the ingredients for a title run and quite possibly their best team in school history.
However, if Pinkerton has an Achilles heel, it may be in the throws, where other teams are very strong. Looking to challenge for the team title could be Timberlane. The Owls have the best all-around thrower in senior Kyle Faucher and one of the best distance kids in Liam Kimball. Whenever a team has a potential to score between 40 and 50 points with 2 athletes, they have to be considered contenders. Memorial, Alvirne, Nashua North and Nashua South all are a part of a pack which can contend for a podium finish.
- Who will be king of the sprint events this spring? Between Memorial’s Davin Cross, Concord’s Angel Feliz, North’s Edward Vargas and Pinkerton’s Kaycee Scheibert and Jadyn Ruimwijk, all have had success and finished on the podium, but no one has remained consistently at the top.
- Londonderry’s Trevor Guay is the defending champ in the 300 hurdles with the high hurdles being wide open.
- How many points will the Pinkerton distance crew score? The Astros need to score bunches in all distance events to have a shot.
- Which event(s) will Liam Kimball run? He has the potential to win both the 1600 and 3200.
- Can North’s Jordan Buckmire sweep Long and Triple? The defending Long Jump champion is also the top returner in the Triple.
- Bishop Guertin has the top returners in both the High Jump and Pole Vault in Nick Lorden and Tom Lampogana respectively.
- Will Timberlane’s Kyle Faucher pull off the Triple Crown as the defending champ in the Shot and Javelin and top returner in the Discus?
- If anyone can improve to unseat Faucher, it very could be Central’s Jacob Stanko in the Discus or Javelin.
D2 Girls Preview
A newspaper headline might read, “Can Coe-Brown win without Hannah Parker?” While the Bears have won cross-country and indoor track titles without her, it remains to be seen if they can capture one on a 400 meter track. However, the better headline would read, “Can Coe-Brown win without the Class of 2015?” Coe-Brown was a lot more than just Hannah Parker from 2012-2015, the class accounted for 50% of their scoring in the Division II meet last year which the Bears won 151-66 over Pelham. Their average point total during that span was 138.5 points and average margin of victory was just over 60 points. Mathematically it should be obvious that the difference wasn’t just one athlete, but a total team effort.
The likeliest team to displace Coe-Brown has to be Milford. The Spartans are coming off of an indoor championship that saw scoring in all but three events; which truly is the key to winning a championship, not simply having one star athlete. Milford brings lots of sprinting and jumping talent into the spring season which is yet another recipe for success in outdoor track that has been repeated often. Also showcasing a complete track and field team this past winter was Oyster River. Whenever a team has the best sprinter, Dominique Twombly, and distance runner, Maegan Doody, in a Division, they always are contenders. If the Bobcats can support these 2, they will also be tough to beat. Other teams looking to crash the party include Lebanon and Souhegan.
- Can anyone beat Oyster River’s Dominique Twombly? Since her freshman season in the 100 and 200 she has not been beaten on NH soil.
- Will Twombly or Lebanon’s Corrine Kennedy challenge the 200 state record? The mark has stood since 1971, and stands at a remarkable 24.44, which is really a hand-timed 24.2!!
- Will Kennedy lower her state record in the 300 hurdles? How many points will the ever-versatile senior score?
- Coe-Brown once again stands tall with Liz Danis and Alli Pratt leading a very strong contingent for the Bears.
- Will Oyster River’s Maegan Doody challenge any state records this year? She’s running as fast as ever.
- Souhegan has been developing a strong distance crew the last couple years, is this the season they combine to score bunches of points?
- With Nicole McMorrow, Olivia Regeau, and others, Milford could cement a title here by scoring in all four jumping events.
- With Xiana Twombley and others, Oyster River may have the second best jumping crew in the state. Could they off-set some of Milford’s points here?
- Does Skyler Goss have anyone who can beat her? She no-heighted as a freshman but has won everything since then.
- The Merchant sisters of Lebanon are making noise this year finishing 1 and 2 indoors. Are they poised to take over the top of the ladder in Division II?
- The Class of 2018 is a strong class with the Merchants and Coe-Brown’s Kathleen Collins, will the sophomores do as well this year as last?
Boys D2 Preview
Portsmouth looks to be firmly in control of their destiny again this year. Despite losing a few key performers from last year’s squad, the development of Eddie Carroll as one of the elite athletes in Division II, brings them back to the front of the pack. Oyster River had a very strong showing indoors (only 2 points from tying Portsmouth) behind Patrick O’Brien and their distance squad, but as many can tell you, there’s such a difference between the indoor and outdoor from a team perspective. Distance-only teams can do very well indoor (8 of 13 events can be considered mid-distance or distance races), but to win outdoors you need sprinters and field events, bottom-line. Souhegan has, like the phoenix, resurrected itself from the ashes of departing distance demi-god Eli Moskowitz with sprinters and jumpers. They were a mere 14 points out of first place during the indoor season. They should definitely be considered to be one of the top teams in Division II outdoors, where they can put their strengths to greater use.
- Souhegan’s Sebastian Eaton and Matthew Blood are the best 1-2 combo in the state, regardless of Division, look for them to figure prominently at the state meet.
- Trinity also has a great combo with Saikou Bah and Tim Zepf. While Trinity may not have the team depth of Souhegan, in those events they stack up well.
- Oyster River wields considerable power in these events. Patrick O’Brien’s lineage is beginning to show itself. He has beaten everyone who is anyone at the state level in the distance events.
- Nick Brown of Kennett had a great indoor season winning the 1000 at the state meet going away, literally. His confidence should be very high going into the outdoor season.
- Eddie Carroll of Portsmouth is probably the best multi-event athlete in the division. He could win two or more events this year, giving Portsmouth the field event boost that they will need.
- Peter Forster of Souhegan is right behind Carroll when overall field strength is considered. He could be the reason Souhegan jumps to the top of the division (pun definitely intended).
- Pelham’s Dom Branco is the defending champion in both the shot put and discus. With Zack Astle being in Division III in the spring, look for him to be very strong again this year.
- Marcus Roper of Lebanon was just a freshman last year but qualified in all three events, taking third in the shot put! With another year of growth and development look for his stock to be on the rise this season.
Girls Division 3
First and foremost, can anyone stop the machine that is Monadnock? In 2012, Monadnock lost to White Mountains, 93 to 85. Since then Monadnock has been on the winning end of those contests, taking the team championship in 2013 from White Mountains, 84 to 73. However the Huskies were not done, taking the team competition to the next level the last two years, beating Hopkinton in 2014, 99 to 63, 50% better than the Hawks, and then decimating everyone in 2015, 157 to 64.5 over Fall Mountain. If Fall Mountain and third place Bow had teamed up and shared their points they still would have been nearly 30 points shy of the win. Without losing many to graduation, Monadnock should be in the driver’s seat this year as well.
- Can White Mountain’s Alexis Curtis repeat in both hurdles and set 2 more divisional records?
- Can former champ Winnisquam’s Jaila Remillard challenge Curtis?
- How many points will Monadnock garner in the jumps? With a stable of returning jumpers, Skyler Cooke, Alexis Cooke and Desmond Kelly, the Huskies could total close to 30 points between the Long, Triple, and Pole Vault.
- What will Monadnock’s Kayla Blair do at the D3 meet? She is only 2 seconds from the current D3 800 meter record of 2:20.94 by Marrisa Peterson of Alton, but will she race the 1600 prior for team points?
- How good will Belmont’s Alice Riley be??? Coached by Scott Clark, the freshman was the top D3 competitor at the indoor state championships in the 3000 and placed 3rd at the D3 XC Championships in the fall. Her 3k time of 11:09 is better than any of the top competitors.
- Can Monadnock’s Lydia Randall sweep the Shot and the Discus. She is the top returner for the Shot and 2nd for the Discus.
Boys Division 3
Inter-Lakes won last year’s contest by three points over Kearsarge, 74 to 71. While Inter-Lakes still looks to be dominant this year, with Cam Daly as one of the state’s top distance guys, Kearsarge has probably a better upside as Daly has maxed out his points for the most part thereby leaving the door open for Kearsarge to improve across the disciplines and pick up some more points. These teams basically had a twenty point advantage over third place Monadnock (52) and should ride atop the Division 3 field.
- Hopkinton’s Nick Fleury is the defending 100 meter champ but is also the top returner in the 400.
- Gilford’s Jacob Baer and Monadnock’s Levi Bassingthwaite should do battle in both hurdles with Baer being the top returner in the Highs and Bassingthwaite the top returner in the Intermediates
- Could Bassingthwaite pull off the Triple Crown as he is ranked 2nd coming into the season in the 200 as well.
- Cam Daly (Inter-Lakes) and Dom Repucci (Hopkinton) are both the class of D3. Could we see some epic battles at the 1600 and 3200??
- Will Dom step down come end of the season and race Cam at the 1600 inD3s? Will Cam be able to give Dom a run in the 3200?
- Can Campbell’s Sam Munnelly follow in big brother’s footsteps and win the 800?
- As defending champ in the shot and discus, and runner-up in the javelin, can Kearsarge’s Zach Astle pull off the sweep across all throwing events?
- What new heights will Kearsarge’s Troy Davis soar to given his 6’8” winning leap in 2015?
- Favored in the 100 and 400, Hopkinton’s Nick Fleury could pull off the Triple Crown with a victory also in the Long Jump where he is more than 2 feet better than the rest of the returning field.