By Mike Smith
Last year Monadnock swept the boys and girls team titles. And while they often “find a way” to get it done, the sweep will be tougher than ever for the Huskies. With the graduation of their top point-getters and some true studs (James Elmour, Eddie OBrien, Levi Bastingwaithe, Claire Russell and Lydia Randall) either team getting to the top of the heap will be difficult. It would seem that Belmont and Campbell will battle it out on the men’s side and White Mountain Lady Spartans are in the driver’s seat, with the Conant Orioles and InterLakes battling for a shot, but you don’t want to sleep on the Falcons of Bow.
200 Madison Parrott, Fall Mt 200 Hunter Dupuis, Belmont
400 Lauren Dean, Gilford 800 Ian Daly, InterLakes
800 Rebecca Velie, Moultonborough 1600 Jeffrey Allen, Campbell
1600 Mya Dube, Kearsarge HJ Kevin McGrath, Hopkinton
3200 Alice Riley, Belmont LJ Trevor Gomes
300H Dominique Biron, Bow JAV Joey Fodor, Berlin
PV Ava Mitchell, Fall Mt
HJ Dominique Biron, Bow
LJ Dominique Biron, Bow
TJ Emma Wheeler
Interestingly, our top sprinters from last year’s D3 champs do not participate in indoor track. Madison Parrott of Fall Mountain and Dominque Biron of Bow, returning champs in the 200 and 300 hurdles should dominate the field in their events. Of course people are born sprinters, so we could be surprised by someone who is trying the sport for the first time or an upstart freshman.
Lauren Dean and Natalie Fraser of Gilford ran away from the field last year in the 400 and there is no reason to think they won’t do it again. Portsmouth Christian’s Delaney Kjendahl has had a strong indoor season and should be among the mix as well. Rebeca Velie of Moultonborough is the 2x defending champ in the 800 and likely has the upper hand over her rivals from last year. However, rumor has it Anna Harmon of Raymond, who has yet to compete in outdoor but is the top 1000 meter runner in the state from indoor, is doing spring track. Harmon is a threat from the 200 to the 3200 and if the rumor is true it will be interesting to see which events she settles into.
Last year, Kearsarge’s Mya Dube stepped forward to take control of D3 distance running, winning the 1600 in a commanding style. In the year since, she dominated cross country winning the D3 title and making it to New Englands. In an abbreviated indoor season, she was consistently the top D3 distance girl and there would be no reason to think anything would change for this season. Expect her to be joined by stalwarts Alice Riley of Belmont and Peyton Gyles and Leah Dutkewych of White Mountain, and Caitlyn Callinan and Cassie Hemming of Campbell. Again, if the rumor is true of Harmon coming to outdoor, look for the status quo to be unbalanced.
Dominque Biron of Bow, should she choose, should rule the roost in the hurdle events. Biron, a threat in the sprints and jumps elected not to contest the short hurdles against Monadnock’s Claire Russell and went for points in the LJ and HJ. If she chooses both hurdles, watch out. Emma Wheeler of InterLakes, Taima Ronish of White Mountains and Sana Syed of Belmont are names to watch as well.
Biron once again has a firm handle on the jumping events, winning both the long jump and high jump by a lot. Other contenders include Abigail and Haylie Drew of Conant, and Wheeler of InterLakes in the long jump, and Merceidiz Diaz and Tori Allen of Campbell in the high jump. Triple jump was won by Wheeler of InterLakes with teammate Kaitlyn Gable and Prospect Mountain’s Gracie Hardie not far behind. Last year Fall Mountain’s Ava Mitchell won pole vault in a questionable uniform ruling, vaulting 9-0. What wasn’t in question was the 6 inch difference between her and runnerup Taylor Banish of Conant. Expect these two to battle along with Bow’s Laura Hoeker.
Nine of the top ten shot putters graduated last year, leaving #3 Sadie Bushway of White Mountains a five foot favorite over last year’s #11 finisher and teammate Grace Gensamer. Gensamer leads everyone in the discus by more than 17 feet. Taylor Banish of Conant is the top returner in javelin, with just over a foot on Moultonborough’s Sarah Shannon.
Brian Bushnell of Bow and Hunter Dupuis of Belmont are the top seeds returning in the 100 and 200. Dupuis seems to have had the better winter, finishing second in the D2 Indoor championships in the 300. We’ll have to wait and see where these two turn their attention this spring. Alex Kalpakgian of Kearsarge, Trevor Gomes of Campbell, and River Mathieu and Marc Forgione of Belmont are names to watch as well.
With 2nd through 6th graduating in the 800, InterLakes Ian Daly would seem to have the upperhand but over this past winter season Belmont’s Nick Randos and Campbell’s Luke Hogan made big strides by moving down (Randos) and moving up (Hogan.) Ricky Pinney of Bow is the top returner in the 400 with Mascoma Valley’s Owen Schneider and Moultonborough’s Jack Fogarty right behind.
Expect a battle at the top between Campbell’s Jeffrey Allen and Moultonborough’s Tyler McLaughlin, the top returning two in both the 1600 and 3200. Other top returners include DJ Turner, Sam Call of White Mountain, and Logan Thibault and Dakota Somero of Mascenic. D3’s #2 finisher from cross country was freshman Landen Vaillancourt, who ran indoor and was the top D3 finisher in the 1500.
The top two returners in both hurdle events are Fiston Kapongo of Portsmouth Christian and Ian Remenar of Belmont. Kapongo would seem to have the upper hand in the 110s and Remenar in the 300s. Also keep your eyes on Newport’s Mason Martell, who made the D2 indoor championships this winter.
Kevin McGrath of Hopkinton is the returning champion in the HJ, having cleared 6-0 last spring, but Ben Corbyn of Kearsarge won the D2 indoor championships with the same height. Take your pick! Trevor Gomes of Campbell leads all long jumpers by a foot and won the long jump at the D2 indoor championships. Davis Jollimore and Eli Dupigny of InterLakes will be looking to dethrone Gomes. Adam Sojka of Belmont won the triple jump over Gomes by 3+ inches and Owen Billin of InterLakes and Ryan Boggio of Hinsdale just over 5 inches so there should be a battle there. John Cunningham of Kearsarge looks to keep the Kearsarge supremacy in pole vaulting alive as the top seed, looking to pick up where Kearsarge’s Grant Croft left off. Stuart Latham of Fall Mountain and Jack Parker of White Mountains will look to knock Kearsarge and Cunningham off that pedestal.
Peter Thibault of Newport returns as the top seed in both the shot put and discus, with a more than 3 foot advantage in shot and a 15 foot advantage in discus. Joey Fodor of Berlin is the returning champ in javelin and stands to be the early season favorite, but keep your eye on Campbell’s Nathan Bazzocchi and Spenser Snell, who tied each other at the championships and will be able to use the competitive nature of sport to spur them on to greater throws.
Things to Watch:
With so many athletes in Division 3 not participating in indoor track, and their performances almost a year old, it can be hard to truly evaluate going into the season. Ten of the 16 returning champions don’t even compete during the indoor season. But sometimes you get a feeling, call it a hunch, about what “could” happen. Here are some of the thoughts I have regarding things to watch.
Dominique Biron. First of all, Biron holds two D3 records in the high jump and long jump. Could she get another one in the 300 hurdles perhaps? Also, the state meet was won last year with 79 points spread out over numerous athletes for Monadnock. Biron scored 36 of the 59 points Bow had. Could Bow win the title on the back of one athlete?
Madision Parrott. Parrott doesn’t turn up in the results prior to last season, so her growth potential is unknown. She was runner-up in the 100, won the 200, took fourth in pole vault and anchored the third place Fall Mountain 4×100 team. All this in one season of track? She is obviously a gamer and who knows what 2018 will have in store for her competition.
Gilford girls sprint squad. Last year the Gilford Golden Eagles 4×100 team won, beating the previous year’s time and ending up just off the D3 record.
They did so with 3 freshmen and a junior. With the entire crew back, the D3 record could be in jeopardy. Gilford also won the 4×400 relay by 5 seconds, and guess what? The entire team is back as well but the record is likely intact. Hopkinton went 4:06.04 in 2010 and that is 10 seconds faster than Gilford’s winning time of last year.
While hard to tell, the team battle on the guys’ side between Campbell and Belmont should be an interesting one. Campbell has two of the top three jav throwers along with some good mid distance guys, jumpers and of course, Jeffrey Allen. Belmont has a strong sprint/hurdle/jumps crew with a bunch of guys spread out in various distances. It’s likely to come down to who ever can pick up the greatest variety of points in all the various disciplines they have entries which will make it exciting right down to the wire.
Two interesting points here in the boys distance events. First is the absence of Jeffrey Allen this winter for indoor track. Hopefully he isn’t injured and was just looking to change things up. If he was injured, hopefully he’s back on track and will be ready to get things going when the spring season gets here. Like we saw with Cam Starr this winter, winning the D2 1500 meter crown as only the 11th qualifier. Allen’s talent doesn’t go away, so it would be foolish to count him out.
Secondly is the potential strength of the Mascenic boys program as it relates to distance. In 2007, the Vikings finished 4th overall, with all their points coming in the 1600, 3200 and 4×800 relay. Things have changed in ten plus years that have past. But looking down the return list in the distance events, Mascenic has the most returnees in both the 1600 and 3200. Add in the fact they were led this past fall by two freshmen, Vaillancourt and Josh Movsessian, they could occupy almost a third of the 1600 or 3200 field. While it’s unlikely any one of them can challenge Allen or McLaughlin (however Vaillancourt did beat McLaughlin at D3 cross), if they were to falter, Mascenic would seem to be in the best position to capitalize on it.