By Nate Leveille
Friday marks the 2019 Division 1 Championships at the University of New Hampshire. Lancertiming will be on hand, the video board will be broadcasting the meet, and newhampshiretrackandfield.com will be on hand making the spectating atmosphere the best in New England. Many teams, coaches, and individuals stepped up to make this meet happen at UNH and with their effort this could be the beginning of a new tradition for the championships meets.
Jack McSweeney of Exeter and Conor Seleny of Pinkerton are the top two seeds in the 100. They faced off once during the regular season with McSweeney getting a very close win at the Merrimack invite. Paul Marchand of Nashua South and indoor 55m Champ Adam Thornton of Merrimack are all capable of challenging for the 100 meter title. In the 200, Seleny is the top seed and I believe undefeated on the season in that event. He will get a challenge from Bedford star Zach Verow and Justin Cassidy of Londonderry. McSweeney is lurking as the 5 seed. The 110 high hurdles has been the Adam Spencer show all season long. The Astros senior is the top seed by a half a second of Nasir Perry of Nashua North. The 300 Hurdles could be one of the best races of the night as Seleny and Spencer square off against top seed Adrian Sutton of Spaulding. All three are separated by .08 seconds and all are under 40 seconds.
In the 400, the top seed is indoor 300 Meter Champ Verow of Bedford. He should have plenty of company with Davante Mckoy-Sophes of Alvirne and Dante Radigonda of Exeter both coming in under 51 seconds. It’s possible all three boys will go under 50 seconds with the right conditions.
In the distance events Jake Winslow of Exeter is attempting the triple. He is the top seed in all three events, but will have plenty of company in all three. In the mile, many boys opted for other events or the 4×800, but there is still plenty of talent to challenge Winslow in 2 seed Aidan Kindopp of Keene and three seed Joe Curran of Nashua North.
The 800 meters is one of the more loaded fields this year with 8 boys seeded under 2 minutes despite the terrible weather conditions all season. Jack Taylor of Winnacunnet is the two seed and Zach Plaza of Pinkerton the 3 seed. In the 3200, Forest MacKenzie of Concord is the two seed but might be the favorite depending if he runs the 4×800 or not. Forest ran a blistering 9:19 at the Loucks Games in New York. He will have company in Winslow, teammate Eli Boesch Dining, and Joe Gagnon of Pinkerton.
The 4×800 relay is always one of the more challenging events to figure out. On paper Winnacunnet, Keene, and Pinkerton could all make a run at 8 minutes. If those three teams load it up, the Division 1 record of 7:57 could be in trouble.
The 4×400 could be the clash of Pinkerton and Exeter that determines the meet. Both come in with seed times or 3:28, both have tons of depth at 400m, and both relays will have kids that will have run multiple races on that relay, which could open the door for both Nashua South and Nashua North. The 4×100 has been Pinkerton’s event all year. They ran a blistering time at the Penn Relays early in the season and never looked back. Two seed Merrimack and three seed Exeter have been coming on strong. One good or bad handoff could determine this race.
In the throws, Ryan Hagearty of Londonderry is the top seeded thrower in both the disc and the shot. Ryan Whitney of Exeter is the two seed in both and Jared Dyer of Merrimack is the three seed in both. All three boys are capable of winning each event but if Hagearty is on, he is the favorite. In the Javelin, Jacob Pacheco of BG is the top seeded thrower with a 20 foot buffer over the two seed. He will have a little jog back and forth from Pole Vault where is is also the top seed over Ryan Lane of Spaulding. Lucien Mumpini of Bedford is the defending champ and top seed in the boys long jump. The two seed is Marchand of south. Ethan Holt of BG is the top seeded high jumper followed by two seed Alex Opsahl of Keene. In the triple jump Jaron Harrell of Pinkerton is the top seed followed by Xavier Provost of Nashua North.
The boys team race has found a way of being competitive in the past years aside from last year. Pinkerton Academy ran away with the team title last year, but graduated a number of point scorers. This year figured to be a rebuilding year for the Astro’s, but all they did was reload with tons of talent spread out over many events. They won a closely contested indoor title followed by Nashua North and Exeter. These same teams will be challenging for the outdoor title. According to the seeds, I have Pinkerton with around 100 points and with a little cushion over Exeter. Exeter’s title hopes rest on solid relays and a few monstrous individual performances. North and Merrimack can get in the mix if either team has some things go wrong.
The 100 meter dash opened up with some scratches, but leading the way should be freshman sensation Autumn Aronofsky of Salem and Lauren Noble of Spaulding. Both have had excellent seasons and it should come right down to the wire. In the 200, Grace Devanny of Concord is the clear favorite followed by Amelia Graves of Pinkerton. The 100 meter hurdles top seed is Katya Rojco of Salem followed by Sydney Lewis of Nashua South. The Hurdles is a very deep field with one hit hurdle could mean the difference between 1st or 5th.
Amelia Graves of Pinkerton dropped down from the 400m this year and is the top seed in the 300 hurdles. She is followed by freshman Sydney Lavelle of Exeter and Rojco of Salem. In the 400 meters state record holder Devanny should cruise. She is followed by Sarah Padellaro of Timberlane.
The distance events are the BG invitational. Fiona Doherty of BG is the top seed in the 800 meters in a very loaded and competitive field that also features two seed Silvia Caddell of Salem and Macy Graves of Pinkerton. In the 1600, the favorite and top seed is Caroline Fischer of BG Followed by Mikayla Randall of Keene. After that the 3-4 seeds are Doherty and Caroline Towle of BG. The 1600 could be massive team points for BG. In the 3200, Fischer will be back to work trying the triple or quad of her own if she’s in a relay. She is the top seed followed by Meghan Cross of Pinkerton.
The 4×800 relay is a tricky one. Keene and Winnacunnet don’t figure to be in the team race, but both could potentially run very fast relays. BG can win this relay if they want to or can try to rest some of their girls doubling or tripling in the open races. Then there’s teams like Bedford, Exeter and Salem which all need team points in this relay. In the 4×100, Pinkerton is the top seed followed by Bedford and Merrimack. Six teams are separated by less than a second.
The 4×400 shouldn’t disappoint. Winnacunnet has dominated the event this season and comes in with the 1 seed. Salem was the Merrimack Invitational champ and Exeter, Pinkerton, and South can all run sub 4:10s. Much like the boys race, this relay could determine the meet.
Sydney Lewis of South finds herself in a familiar situation as the 1 seed in the high jump. After her are 5 girls that have cleared 5’ 2”. The Pole Vault as been dominated by Londonderry this year. Suzie Moore of Londonderry is the top seed followed by Skyler Bomba of Alvirne. In the long jump, Rojco of Salem is the top seed followed by indoor champ Camille Sweet of Exeter. Julia Zheng is the top seed in the triple jump followed by Brook Clooney of Spaulding. The Discus has huge team ramifications for Exeter. They occupy the top two seeds in Jordan Heiser and Samantha Vorster. Nashua North occupies the top two seeds in the shot put in Victoria Conrad and Kathryn Lynn. It’s Pinkerton’s turn in the javelin as Graves is the 1 seed followed by Aliana Mercado of Nashua North. Pinkerton holds 3 of the top 6 seeds in the event.
Last year Exeter High School and Nashua South battled to the very end with Exeter winning the Division 1 Meet with a score of 109 points to Nashua Souths 103. This year is a very different story. It may be the first team to 70 points that wins the state meet and as many as 5 teams could get in the mix. Pinkerton would appear to have the edge on paper. They come in with an expected point total around 75 points. With the points being so spread out this year, a team like BG, that can score massive points in the distance events could shock the state much like they did indoors. Salem has some major point scorers on the track and solid relays. Exeter scores points all over the place and will use its depth. Nashua South has excellent relays and Lewis to carry them. Bedford has a good core of hurdlers, jumpers, and sprinters with excellent relays. The girls meet with be won by the team that has the best meet on Friday night.
Good luck to everyone competing!