Contrary to recent years, the snow is melting, the temps are rising, so as we approach the start of the 2019 NH Outdoor Track and Field season, it actually feels like spring! Nothing else defines spring more us here at NHTF.com than outdoor track! Division 2 promises to be one heck-a-va battle for top team honors for both girls and boys. The NHIAA and UNH are gearing up as all Divisional Championships and Meet of Champions to be held at UNH! Can you say stadium with a scoreboard for live results and video??!! The track and field athletes of NH deserve this! This preview includes the top returnees for each event based on the 2018 Division Meets only, excluding relays along with some thoughts and observations! Enjoy!
Similar to indoors, the D2 girls team competition looks to be bit of a Seacoast affair with a team west of I-93 hoping to crash the party while many event groups look to stay extremely competitive (as always)!
Without a doubt, this group of events was one of the more intriguing and competitive set last year. Although Sanborn’s Kristina Allard has transferred and Milford’s Viankah Williams continues to unfortunately battle hamstring issues, neither was in the 100 final last year. In fact, only 1 senior made it to the final, so we still have defending champ Hanover’s Ella Maclean (who won as a freshman last year!), and the indoor queen of D2 sprinting, Oyster River’s Devan McClain set to compete for supremacy as they did this past February. Right now, the nod of favorite would have to go to the Bobcat, McClain, as she looked dominant in both the Dash and 300 meters at the D2 Indoor Championships. Matter of fact, it looks like both the 100 and 200 could be populated by mostly Oyster River and Hanover, as Ella Maclean’s teammate Zoe Onyango emerged this past winter while Oyster River boasts their juggernaut sprinting corps. In addition to McClain, look to Amelia Concannon and Laurel Gordon in the 200. Freshman standout, Pelham’s Gwenyth Dahlinger should not be overlooked either as she is among the top returners in both the 100 and 200. Come May, also look for Milford’s Williams, who continues to valiantly battle her hamstring issues to return and make her presence known.
Some things change and some things stay the same. As the top returner in both the 400 and 800, as well as the reigning indoor 600 meter state champ, West’s Corinne Robitaille is certainly the queen of NH D2 middle distance! The fact she pulled off one of the toughest doubles with a first and a second in the 800 and 400 respectively last year demonstrates her strength. Challenging Robitaille in the 400 should be St. Thomas’s Maggie Marsh, Milford’s Williams, and the ever improving Jennifer Nadig (Oyster River). Of these three, multiple state champion Williams has the highest ceiling if healthy. In the 800, the second returnee is Souhegan’s Marissa Romano, who also is on the comeback trail from injury. She took a fatigued Robitaille to the wire last year. Coe-Brown duo Abigail O’Connor and Sophie Laird are the next top returners. Beware of Lady Bobcats as possible darkhorses in the 800 as well (see Lily Doody and company).
D2 distance girls boast the fastest and the deepest in the state of NH. Pretty bold statement backed up by stats. Not only does this group have multi-state champions Julia Robitaille and Lauren Robinson, but we all have enjoyed watching MV freshman Sophia Reynolds dominate as a freshman in cross country and indoor track. By the way, anyone notice her All-American performance in the 5000 at Indoor Nationals? 17:55! Don’t forget the show Reynolds and Robinson put on in the 3k indoors! Look for the same this coming outdoor season. Although Julia Robitaille took the indoor season off, expect her to return in a big, healthy way this spring for a last hurrah of sorts.
In addition to these three, D2 has depth in the likes of Con-Val’s senior duo of Clare Veverka and Rachel Hurley, Souhegan’s Arielle Zlotnick and Chloe Trudel, as well as Coe-Brown’s Addison Cox. All have fine resumes, filled with all-state/division performances, and will be looking for opportunities to crack the top three of Robitaille, Reynolds and Robinson.
As confirmed by her indoor state title in the Highs, St. Thomas senior Adrienne Bevins has solidified her mantle as tops in the 100m High Hurdles. Challenging her will be athletes from the hurdle-rich schools of Portsmouth and Oyster River. In the Highs look for OR’s Evelyn Fischer and Portsmouth’s Livia Koznick. Don’t be surprised if Koznick’s teammates Sarah Morin and April Weeks also make waves in the Highs and Intermediate Hurdles especially since the senior Morin is the top returner in the 300s. OR’s Fischer should also be a top contender here as well.
Portsmouth’s multi-talented defending state D2 champ Sarah Morin leads the returnees in the pole vault by a full 10″ over Hanover’s Anna Stafford. Windham’s Taylor Sawyer and Oyster River’s Corinne Quaglieri lead a crowded High Jump field as the top returners, but with Sanborn’s Hannah Ehlers and Portsmouth’s Olivia Cray both clearing 5’2″ this past indoor season, there certainly is no clear cut favorite. Add in those athletes who cleared 5’0″ this past winter in Milford’s Leslie McGrath, Sanborn’s Kaylen LaChappelle, and Plymouth’s Julia Ahern and we have a full-fledged party! Remember how quirky these events can be, so do not be surprised if things materialize differently.
Truly with springs on her feet, LaChapelle happens to be the defending champ in the Triple Jump and she happened to place 2nd behind fellow sophomore Milford’s Renee Wilson in the Long Jump this past winter. Challenging her in the Triple will be Portsmouth’s Koznick and MV’s Theresa Irving.
Come the end of the season look for defending champ in Milford’s Williams to be competing right alongside her teammate Wilson and LaChappelle with a slew of others nipping at their heels in the Long Jump. Don’t overlook Kingswood Caitlin Carpenter and Souhegan’s Hannah Rowe.
In the Shot Put, St. Thomas’s Mady Buchalski took home the indoor state title in a relatively comfortable fashion as she dominated the D2 landscape the entire season. However, second place was Portsmouth’s Abbey Laurence, who did beat Buchalski at last year’s D2 state championships. In the Discus throw, the top returner is Milford’s Robyn Krafft with a full 10 foot cushion over Hollis-Brookline’s Lily Jackson. Top returner in the Javelin is Plymouth’s Samantha Meier, but don’t be surprised id MV’s Asia Grace Hanson is right with her!
Obviously tough to predict; however, safe sense sees Oyster River at the top of the 4×100 and 4×400 relays if they load each of those up! Look for Portsmouth, Souhegan and Milford to challenge them in either the relay. Souhegan and Coe-Brown seem to always have a showdown in the 4×800 regardless of who they choose to comprise their teams, but also look for Oyster River and possibly Con-Val to contend as well.
Anyone notice how diverse Portsmouth athletes are in the jumps, hurdles, and sprints? If one pays attention, Coach Lyford and the Clipper coaching staff has the same names sprinkled throughout these events, some of the most technical in track and field. This is a tribute to the coaching at Portsmouth and he has done this for a little while. As stated in the introduction to this post, the team competition will most certainly have a Seacoast flavor as Portsmouth, by virtue of their incredible depth and adaptability, are the defending champs while Oyster River claimed their first indoor title this past February. Expect more of the same as Portsmouth will attempt to amass the points via a slew of top 6 places to counteract the Bobcat bombs of individual titles they have the potential to acquire in a myriad of events. Obviously the Bobcats will rely on their sprinting corp led by McClain, but if they can continue to develop points elsewhere, they may have just enough to sweep the titles this year.
Consistently crashing this party in the last couple years is the star-laden Milford team. The healthy senior duo of Lauren Robinson (Alabama Birmingham bound) and Viankah Williams (Stony Brook bound) could total over 40-50 points. Coupled with the likes of Renee Wilson, the Lady Spartans could be legit contenders!
The Division 2 Boy’s landscape looks very competitive and filled with great match-ups both individually and team-wise. Let’s look at the individual events first, then we’ll examine the team competition.
As with many of the categories in this article, the sprint projections look very similar to the Indoor Track results. In both the 100 and 200, Hanover’s Kyle Doucette and Windham’s Matthew Garafano look like the top of the class. Garafano battled injuries all Indoor season, but if healthy could challenge Doucette’s quest for a 100/200 double win to bookend the 55/300 double he earned this winter at the State Meet. Doucette’s teammate Deveon Martin came up big in the 55 dash Indoors so look for good things in both sprint events for him this Spring season. Also watch for Portsmouth’s Trevor Chapman, Milford’s Victor Garcia, and Chris Caputo of Kennett to be a factor in the sprints.
In the 400, Portsmouth’s Ryan Prinz is fresh off of a 600 title and is the top returnee. He also has 800 capacity as well so watch for him to be a top performer in both events all season. A very closely bunched group of returnees in the 400 also includes Hollis/Brookline’s Jordin Stone, Goffstown’s Sean Leahy and Windham’s Quin Cerami. Keep an eye on Con-Val’s Del Bonsu-Arane who has run in the 51s. And will we see Milford’s Garcia and/or Caputo from Kennett move up to the 400 after good 300 performances this Indoor season?
The 800 looks juicy as well with Hanover’s Colm Seigne and Con-Val’s Evan Coyne joining Prinz as the projected top dogs. All three had excellent Indoor seasons as all three placed 1st or 2nd in an individual mid-distance event at States. It would surprise no one if Oyster River had a runner or two in the mix, and definitely watch for Coe-Brown’s Porter Heigis to challenge for a top position.
Cody Davis of Lebanon and Caleb Korthals of Milford are the top two returners in the 1600 and they are also the top two performers in the Indoor 1500 this year at States of those who do Spring Track in D2. With the departures of OR’s Myles Carrico to baseball and Campbell’s Jeffery Allen to D3, the 1600 is a race seeking a standout performer and Davis and Korthals are both worthy of consideration. Very close on paper are Sanborn’s Dylan Khalil, Oyster River’s Owen Fleischer, and Gavyn Lewis of Coe-Brown. Don’t overlook 1000 meter D2 indoor runner up Dawson Dubois (Coe-Brown), who is beginning to show some range across middle and long distance events. Known more for longer distances but always dangerous in the 1600 too are Oyster River’s Andy O’Brien and Merrimack Valley’s David Reynolds.
Cross Country and Indoor Track showed Division 2 that Merrimack Valley’s David Reynolds has been peerless in the longer races and there is no evidence to suggest the 3200 this outdoor season will be any different. His most likely challenger looks to be O’Brien of Oyster River who has been putting together very good performances as his career matures. Pushing the pace and keeping things honest will be Trinity’s Danny Donovan as well as the Coe-Brown duo Luke Tkaczyk and Wyatt Mackey.
The 110 Hurdles will have a similar look to the Indoor 55 hurdle list, most of the names are the same. Portsmouth’s Will Fahey is the top returnee and after posting blistering times Indoors, there’s no reason to doubt his potential. Pelham’s John Elie looks like he could really push into the top echelon after showing dramatic improvement from last year to this year. Fahey’s teammate Andrew Kelley has also made a big leap into the top tier of hurdlers as has his teammate Chris Mood. Portsmouth placed 1-3-4 in the Indoor State meet and they will be looking for similar production Outdoors. Keep an eye out for emerging talent Jackson Bomba of Windham as well.
The 300 Hurdles look wide open and could be a big swing event with title implications. Elie is the top seed and if his sprint hurdle progression is any indicator, he could be a dramatic favorite. Coe-Brown’s Aidan Ahern and Portsmouth Mac Whitworth should both be in the mix as well.
The High Jump looks to be a fun event as Oyster River’s Sidonio Labelle-Brown has blossomed into an excellent jumper in big spots. Andrew Kelley of Portsmouth has made the “leap” as well and the two were head and shoulders above the field Indoors.
In the Long Jump, four of the returnees were the top four performers at the Indoor State Meet and were all within a few inches of one another. Kennett’s Caputo, Milford’s Garcia, Goffstown’s Leahy and Joey Diaz of Hollis/Brookline should be jockeying for top spot. Watch for OR’s Labelle-Brown also; he has been improving in this event.
The Triple Jump returns names we’ve been mentioning all throughout this piece in Labelle-Brown, Caputo and Leahy as projected top performers, as well as Jaymeson Maheux of Manchester West.
The pole vault might be one of the more exciting events to watch as Coe-Brown boasts 3 of the top 6 returners with Jonathon Thorn, Sam Patteson, and Cody Tanguay, Top returner Tyler Troy, unfortunately is out for the season with a knee injury. Chris Mood of Portsmouth was right at the top of the rankings with Troy last season. Do not count out Will Tanski of Lebanon to upset the status quo.
In the Shot Put, Owen Snively of Sanborn is the top returnee on paper and did a lot to make sure that sticks with a massive PR of 46’5.25” at the Indoor State meet for the surprise win. John Thorn of Coe Brown (see pole vault!) threw well this Indoor season as well and looks to be right at the top in the rankings as he uncorked a 47’00.25″ toss at indoor New Englands. Portsmouth’s Thor Griffith took the winter track season off to become the D2 heavyweight champ in wrestling and looks be a factor in the shot as well.
The Discus community looks like it has some work to do to catch up with Emmanuel Ughu from Milford as he has the best returning performance by 8 feet. Coe-Brown’s Thorn will challenge for that top spot as well as will Rian Russo from Kingswood. Look for Griffith of Portsmouth to make a figurative and literal impact here as well.
The Javelin has Cale Swanson of Plymouth sitting atop the returnees by over 13 feet. Con-Val’s Sean Boggis, Portsmouth’s Kevin Gum and Nate Edwards as well as Zach Cardoso of Sanborn are all capable of big throws and anyone listed here could take away the title. As could a complete newcomer; that’s how unpredictable this event is!
Extremely hard to predict in the preseason but here are some sweeping general statements. In the 4×100 look for Windham, Plymouth, Hanover, Hollis/Brookline and West to have good teams. The 4×400 looks very wide open with Hanover, Windham, Kennett, Portsmouth, and Merrimack Valley all in the mix. The 4×800 should be populated with classically distance heavy teams like Coe-Brown, Oyster River, Hanover, and Kingswood, as well as notoriously tough racing teams like Merrimack Valley and Hollis/Brookline.
On paper there seem to be a handful of teams that could take home a title. Coe-Brown and Portsmouth both look like they have the kind of firepower needed to win the D2 Championship and are similarly minded “complete” teams. Coe-Brown has distance, throws, pole vault and relays as strengths and can find ways to manufacture small amounts of points in other events. Portsmouth relies on hurdles, pole vault, throws and mid distance as well as relays to score points in large batches. With a lot of common strengths it should be a fascinating match-up, and these two teams look like the most likely to be able to win it all. Not to be counted out or slept on however is Hanover. With big points possible in the sprints, mid-distance and relays, this team came in 2nd Indoors and looked impressive. Oyster River could be a dark horse here with potential big jumps and distance points.
Good luck and good health to all teams this season!