By Nate Leveille
It’s always hard to believe how quick this preview comes up. This year brings a whole lot of change to New Hampshire Track and Field because for the first time, all three divisional championships will be held at UNH. Division 1 will continue to hold down the Friday night spot for this year. I can only imagine the energy and excitement that meet will have under the lights with the scoreboard.
Boy’s Division 1
Most of the top sprinters from division one graduated last year. In fact every boy that made the 100 meter final graduated. This indoor season the sprints were wide open and Adam Thornton of Merrimack stepped in and took control. Thornton was the 55 meter champ indoors followed by Jack McSweeney of Exeter. Interestingly enough they both played baseball last spring, but the early word is they will will both be participating in spring track. Zach Verow of Bedford and Conor Seleny of Pinkerton are the top returning sprinters in the 200m, while Kalique Bagley of Londonderry and Avery Battle of Pinkerton are the top returners in the 100 meter dash. It will be interesting to see how the sprints shape up come May. There are a lot of points up for grabs in these events.
Long Sprints/ Middle Distance
You never know where different 300m, 600m, and 1000m individuals will land in the outdoor events. Some go up, some go down. The top two returners in the 400 meters are Dante Radigonda of Exeter and Verow of Bedford. Verow won the 300m indoors while Radigonda won the 600 meters indoors, so it looks like those two are set for a big clash in the 400m. Aidan Kenny of Bedford and Davante Mckoy-Sophes of Alvirne are the other top returners in the 400 meters. All four of those boys could go under 50 seconds in the right race with the right conditions.
In the 800 meters the top returning athlete is Jake Winslow of Exeter, who just split a 1:53 anchoring the Blue Hawks’ All-American SMR. If he is challenged, it will come from Aidan Kindopp of Keene who is coming off a monster indoor season, Jack Taylor of Winnacunnet or Ryan Devine of Concord.
Unlike indoors, the mile comes before the 3200m outdoors, so the mile should be the clash of WInslow of Exeter and Joseph Curran of Nashua North. Winslow is the defending champ and fresh off his 4:16.73 PR at indoor nationals. Curran had a breakout winter season and established himself as one of the best distance runners in the state while winning the 3000 in a blistering time or 8:46. Other top returners in the mile are William Heenan of Londonderry and teammates Forest Mackenzie and Aidan O’Hern of Concord.
Mackenzie is the top returner in the 3200 after finishing second last year by 1 second. Forest’s main competition in the 3200 should be Curran of North, Joe Gagnon of Pinkerton, Eli Boesch Dining of Concord, and Colin Donnelly of Winnacunnet.
The hurdlers in the state finally got their wish this year with the high school graduation of Billy Powers :). I expect the same key players from the 55 Meter Hurdles indoors to factor in the 110 outdoors. The 110 High Hurdles figures to be a 4 way race between Conor Seleny of Pinkerton, Adam Spencer of Pinkerton, Adrian Sutton of Spaulding and Manolo Feliz of Concord. In the 300 Hurdles, the top returning athlete is Spencer of Pinkerton. He should be challenged by Seleny, Sutton, and Ryan Kenny of Memorial. Pinkerton will look to amass some important team points in the hurdles.
The top returning high jumper is Jake Langevin of Exeter. The other top returners are indoor high jump champ Matt Small from Pinkerton, Spencer of Pinkerton, Tim Trasatti of Timberlane, and Ethan Holt of BG.
In the Long Jump, the top returner is defending champ Lucian Mumpini of Bedford. He was upset in the indoor long jump but will look to rebound in both horizontal jumps this spring. In the long jump he should be challenged by sophomore Ryan Dane from Pinkerton (indoor champ), and Paul Marchand of Nashua South.
In the Triple Jump, the top returner is Jaron Harrell of Pinkerton. He should be on the lookout for Xavier Provost of Nashua North, and the return of state record holder Triston Delicema also of Nashua North. In the Pole Vault, the top returning boys are Slade Laszewski of Winnacunnet and Thomas Gerton of Memorial.
The throwing events start with Patrick Hagearty of Londonderry. He swept the Discus and Shot Put last year, solidifying himself as the clear favorite in both heading into the spring. He won the shot put indoors by almost 6 feet! Other top returning boys in the shot are Ryan Whitney of Exeter and Jared Dyer of Merrimack.
Hagearty was challenged by Jeremiah Swett of Exeter last year. Swett has moved on to PEA, so the top returning athletes in the disc are Nick Spargo of Alvirne and James Phennicie of Winnacunnet. Adam Thornton of Merrimack is the top returning javelin thrower followed by Jacob Pacheco of BG and and Jackson Wiley of Bedford.
Very hard to predict relays before the season starts. That being said, with the blistering 4×200 time Pinkerton posted indoors, they would appear to be the favorites in the 4×100. Keene is the team to beat in the 4×800 and may make a run at the 8 minute mark. Exeter and Pinkerton should have a clash in the 4×400.
With the addition of extra field events and track events, outdoors has been a numbers game the last few years. Pinkerton and Nashua North have dominated the team championships in recent years. The two finished 1-2 indoors followed by Exeter. All three teams have some serious big point scorers. It may come down to which of those three teams can secure the most 3rd-6th places in events. On paper, Pinkerton looked to be vulnerable this spring, but they reloaded this winter and should be considered the favorites heading into the start of the outdoor season.
Grace Devanny of Concord has dominated the girls sprints since she came on the scene as a freshmen. This year should be no different as I’m sure she will be the favorite in the 100m, 200m, and 400m. Teammate Sarah Waite of Concord is the top returner in the 100 along with Sydney Lewis of Nashua South. Don’t be surprised if 9th grader Autumn Aronofsky of Salem gets in the mix as well after her stellar indoor season. In the 200, the top returners are Devanny, Sarah Padellaro of Timberlane, and Amelia Graves of Pinkerton. Others that could surprise in that event are Ella Fraser of Exeter and Lauren Noble of Spaulding, both of which ran excellent 300’s indoors.
Long Sprint/ MId DIstance
In the 400, Devanny is the 3 time champ and will be looking for the 4-peat. Other top returning girls in the 400 include Amelia Graves of Pinkerton, Padellaro of Timberlane, and Dominique Milinazzo of Alvirne. The top returning girls in the 800 are defending champ Caroline Fischer of BG, Hannah Swain of Nashua South, and Macy Graves of Pinkerton.
The distance events indoors were the Caroline Towle of BG show. She dominated both the 3000m and 1500m. Cali Coffin of Nashua South should be back and healthy this spring and she is the top returning runner in both the 1600m and 3200m. Others that could factor in are Mikayla Randall of Keene, Fischer of BG, Violet Sullivan of Exeter, and Meghan Cross of Pinkerton. Most of those girls will double in either the 1600m and 800m or 1600m and 3200m.
The top two returning girls in the 100 hurdles are Lewis of Nashua South and Camille Sweet of Exeter. They finished 2-3 a year ago and both had excellent indoor hurdling seasons. Other girls that could factor into the mix are Camilla McAleer of Exeter, Brianna Coco of Bedford, and Skylar Bomba of Alvirne. The top returner in the 300 hurdles is Katya Rojco of Salem followed by Coco of Bedford, Sydney Ward of Exeter, and Jordyn Choat of Nashua North.
Sydney Lewis has dominated the High Jump the past few years. She had a real challenge this indoor season in freshmen Olivia Mazerolle of Nashua North. Other top returning girls include Emily Lesburt of Pinkerton and Katelyn McDonnell of Memorial. Last year Elizabeth Flynn of Bedford took home the long jump crown. This winter Sweet of Exeter took home the title. Other girls that could factor into the Long Jump are Sydney Ward of Exeter,
Lyla Cousins of Keene, and Julia Zhang of Nashua South. In the Triple Jump Zhang of South is the top returner followed by Ward of Exeter, and Kelsey Pierce of Exeter. In the pole vault Suzie Moore of Londonderry and Bomba of Alvirne are the top returning girls.
Victoria Conrad of Nashua North is the top returning shot putter followed by Meredeth Basta of BG, and Adrianna Buccieri of Pinkerton. Indoor champ Kathryn Lynn of Nashua North should also factor in the mix. In the discus the top returning girl is Jordan Heiser of Exeter followed by Samantha Vorster of Exeter and Morgan Kelley of Winnacunnet. Hailey Fontaine of Timberlane is the top returning javelin thrower followed by Samantha Franks of Pinkerton and Heiser of Exeter.
Exeter and Bedford would be the favorites in the 4×100 based on the indoor 4×200, but Coach Johnson and the Londonderry girls are the defending champs and will be ready to defend that crown. The 4×400 has been a clash between Bedford and Pinkerton the last couple years, but look out for Exeter and Salem to challenge. The 4×800 was dominated by BG and Pinkerton last year. They might be challenged by defending indoor champ Keene this spring.
Bishop Guertin was able to win the indoor title with 12 girls. They have some big time point scorers in the distance events between Towle and Fischer. Based on returning point scorers, it looks like it may be a repeat battle of last spring between Exeter and South. Exeter graduated their big point scorers, but they have the depth to contend. This could be Nashua South’s year led by Sydney Lewis and Cali Coffin. They have what it takes to score the points necessary to win the meet. Pinkerton is another team that could factor in the mix for a team title as well.
Best of luck to everyone!