By Mike Smith, Mascenic Regional High School
Over the past 10 weeks of the season, lots of new names have rose to the top of the Division 3 pile, along with names expected to contend from the moment the 2016 Division 3 meet ended. This has made predicting the outcome of both the team championship and the individual events quite challenging. Here’s some of the primary contests that appear to be shaping up.
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In both the 100 and 200 the top names are Dominique Biron of Bow and Claire Russell of Monadnock. Tapped as the top returners, it would seem both athletes have a pretty full plate, not only in the sprint events, but in the hurdles (both) and high jump (Biron) as well. Biron is qualified in 6 individual events (both short sprints, both hurdles, LJ and HJ) and the Falcons are one of the top seeds in the 4×100 relay as well. Look for the Drew sisters from Conant, Holly Olson of PCA and Madison Parrott of Fall Mountain to establish themselves in these events as well.
In the 400, the Gilford Golden Eagles have three athletes in the top six qualifying positions in Lauren Dean, Natalie Fraser and Brianna Fraser. Imagine that, their 4 x 400 relay is seeded with a six second advantage over the rest of the division.
Rebeca Velie of Moultonborough returns to defend her title in the 800 (top seed) and will be chased by the White Mountains duo of Peyton Giles and Hallie Chancey. Assuming Velie focuses on the 800, she should be considered the favorite, as Giles is also the second seed in the 1600.
Leading the rankings in the 1600 is Sammy Molinari of Campbell, in an event where the top 4 are within five seconds of each other, and half the seed times are from the MV invite, over a month ago. Looks like there should be some fireworks in this one.
In the 3200, Alice Riley of Belmont has nearly a 25 second advantage over Joelle LaFreniere of Monadnock and Caitlyn Callinan of Campbell. Riley just pulled off the distance double at the Wilderness League championships and will likely be a factor in those races.
As mentioned above, if she chooses, Biron is the top seed in the HJ and third in LJ. As returning champ in HJ, she has a 5 inch advantage over Mercediez Diaz of Campbell, Marion Lovett of Stevens, and is the second seed in long.
In the Triple, Inter-Lakes has two jumpers that lead the rest of the field by more than a foot in Emma Wheeler and Kaitlyn Gable.
In pole vault, Taylor Banish of Conant has a foot advantage over her closest competitor.
Lydia Randall of Monadnock has qualified as the #1 seed in the discus, #2 seed in shot and #5 in the javelin. Sadie Bushway of White Mountains is the top seed in the shot and #5 in the disc. Marina Baer of Gilford is the top seed in javelin, with a 36-foot advantage over second place qualifier Sarah Shannon of Moultonborough. A dark horse pick in the throwing events might be Shanyce Wungkana of White Mountains who is listed in all three disciplines as well.
Always hard to judge as some athletes may pull out to score in individual events, the top seeds are Gilford in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 and White Mountains in the 4 x 800 and a five second advantage over Belmont.
It appears the fate of the team competition rests on the shoulders of Monadnock’s Claire Russell and Bow’s Dominque Biron. Both girls will be leaned on heavily to score points, and considering they will be in a number of head to head battles, whoever is having the better day could determine the outcome of the meet. In the event that a team other than the Huskies or the Falcons are to win, expect White Mountains to be in the mix.
Last year, Nick Fleury was just that, a flurry of speed and dominance winning the 100, 200 and 400. This year, in his absence, it looked as if the door was open for Tyler Sands of Conant to step in, but fate is strange and Sands has stepped away from the sport this season. A number of athletes have stepped forward to fill the void, with a couple names showing up in all three of the sprint events. The most interesting name entered is Dakota Joe of Newmarket, second in the 100 and 200. Scott Hinds of Winnisquam is the top seed in the 400, just a 5/100ths of a lead over Brian Bushnell of Bow, who is the #1 seed in the 200. Sheldon Farnsworth of Mascoma Valley leads the 100.
With the big fish in Cam Daly and Dom Repucci moving onto the college ranks (Brown and Dartmouth respectively,) the extra space in the distance pond has allowed a strong group of contenders to emerge. Looking to make their mark in the distance events includes Jeffrey Allen of Campbell ( #1 in the 1600, #2 in the 3200,) James Elmour of Monadnock (#2 in the 800 and #3 in the 1600,) Dawson Adams of Monadnock (#1 in the 3200,) Jake Movsessian of Mascenic (#4 in the 3200), Nick Randos (#3 in the 1600 and #5 in the 800), Ian Daly of Inter-Lakes (#1 in the 800,) and Tyler McLaughlin of Moultonborough (#3 in the 3200, #2 1600.) Each of these races should be shoot outs.
Belmont’s hurdling duo of Eli Allman (110s) and Ian Remenar (300) sit in the top spots of their respective best discipline while also holding down a spot in the others as well (6th and 9th, respectively.) Challenges in these events should come from Grant Croft, Mark Maraska, Levi Bassingthwaite and Hudson Ingoldsby.
One of the events that “jumps” out at you when looking at the seedings is pole vault, where Kearsarge has four of the ten entries with Grant Croft edging Drew Schriewer of Inter-Lakes by 6 inches at 12-6. There’s tie in high jump between Prospect Mountain’s Hudson Ingoldsby and Kevin McGrath of Hopkinton at 6-2. Trevor Gomes of Campbell (20-9.25) has only 1.25 inch advantage over Sheldon Farnsworth of Mascoma while Ethan Swett of Stevens leads in triple jump over Gomes.
Joey Fodor of Franklin is the top seed in the javelin by more than ten feet and looks to be the most solid bet in the throws. Fodor is listed in both the shot put (4th) and disc (15th), but those events also have their own favorites. Peter Thibault of Newport leads disc by almost 10 ft and the trio of Leo Ntourntourekas of Newfound, Parker Smith of Stevens and Shawn Deflorio of Inter-Lakes all have throws over 44 feet.
Inter-Lakes has the top seed in the 4 x 800 while Bow has the top seed in the 4 x 100 and Belmont leads the 4×400 with all races seeming tight. Like always it will come down to which athletes actually run the relay as they adjust rosters to meet the efforts in individual events.
With the absence due to graduation of Daly and Repucci from the distance ranks, and Zack Astle and Troy Davis of Kearsarge in the field events, the door has opened for the Belmont Red Raiders to step in and take the title. Kearsarge and Inter-Lakes can make it hard if they can pick up points here and there. This should be a close one and may come down to whichever team is on that day.