By Mike Smith
A beautiful day presented the Wilderness participants with the nicest weather this spring for putting on the final touches to their events going into the Divisional Championships. With upwards of 25 schools, hundreds of athletes, and NHIAA certified officials for each of the field events, the meet really had the feel of a pre-Divisional championship. And with the meet’s efficiency, it really took on the feel of a big championship meet. The strong performances of the athletes didn’t hurt either.
As part of the Wilderness committee, a Division 3 Spring Track committee member, an NHIAA official, NHT&F staff member and the announcer for the meet, I get to see all the action up close and personal, but from a different perspective than most of the fans of track and field. Arriving before at 7am to help get things ready, and leaving at 2pm once everything was wrapped up, I was able to witness and participate in probably the most efficient championship track and field meet in the state. With field events beginning at 9am, and the first event on the track at 9:45, competition was wrapped up by 1:30pm, including the team awards ceremony. Truly the hallmark of a championship style meet and hats off to the Belmont crew for shouldering the hard work.
Considering my observations might be from a slightly different perspective, I think I’ll recap the meet a bit differently as well. Everyone can read the results so I want to highlight the things I saw.
Athletes of the Meet
While the meet doesn’t officially recognize the top performers of the meet, I picked these based on what I saw in the competition. Emma Wheeler of InterLakes was by far the performer of the meet in both genders. Her team came in third with 59 points with 40 of them coming from her wins in the Triple Jump, Long Jump, Pole Vault and High Jump. Not much more an individual can do to help their team. On the boys’ side, I’d have to say Zach Ennis of Belmont was the top dog, winning the 1600 and 800 and anchoring the winning 4×400 to help his team secure second in the team standings. I should probably recognize White Mountains Jack Parker and Kennett’s Chris Caputo as well, with Parker taking firsts in High Jump and Pole Vault to help his team come in fourth and Caputo with firsts in the 200 and Long Jump and seconds in Triple Jump and the 4×400 to help his team come in third.
Performance of the meet
Mya Dube has stamped herself as one of the top distance runners in the state and will be tough to beat next year in her final year as a high schooler. She certainly made a statement in the 1600, running a 4:56.19 solo effort, which would have placed her seventh in the boys race. She also came back to anchor the winning 4×400 relay to cap her work for the day. For those who don’t realize it, we’re seeing something special here in this young lady.
Plymouth and White Mountains are putting together some very good girls squads. Plymouth won the meet yesterday, 91 to 64 over White Mountains. Plymouth did it on the backs of sprinters Tara Smoker (1st-100,200), Katherine Luehrs (2nd-100,200, 3rd-LJ), Julia Ahern (2nd-HJ), Samantha Meier (1st-Jav) and the winning 4×100 team and the third place 4×400 and 4×800 teams. Similarly, White Mountains spread the points around with superstar hurdler Taima Ronish winning both hurdle events, Blayne Lachance winning the 800, Leah Dutkewych (4th-1600) and a fifth in the 4×400 relay.
Newfound can throw shot put. Ashlee Dukette (34-11.5), Oceanne Skoog (33-7) and Paulina Huckins (31-7.5, and what a great name for a shot putter!) went 1-2-3 with their teammate on the men’s side, Mason Dalphonse winning with a 46-11.75 throw (so close!) along with winning the discus (123-8.)
Portsmouth Christian girls can relay. The smallest school in D3 can put up big times in the 4×800 meter relay, winning in 10:29.23,by more than 23 seconds. With the same basic team of the Kjendahl sisters, Liza Corso and Emily Vaccaro that threatened the D3 record last year, we’ll see how this all plays out next week.
boys distance continues to rise. Mascenic came into the 4×800 event with a eight second cushion by seedings, ran 12 seconds faster and were shadowed by Winnisquam over the entire race. The combination of the Mann brothers, Matt Griffin and Dylan Robert (the man with two first names!) pushed last year’s D3 champs throughout this one. They just might have what it takes to win D3s next week.
The Kearsarge guys are quietly good. With only two wins on the day with Ben Corbyn in the 110 hurdles and their 4×100 team, they easily dismantled the rest of the field by more than 20 points. They must be the favorite moving onto D3 championship weekend.
There’s probably something in there that I missed, while I was all over the place on Saturday. I can’t see everything that’s going on. But I can say this was an excellent pre-Divisional race as the weather, meet management, the coaching staffs and the competitors all came together for an excellent day of track and field.