Oyster River Girls, Portsmouth Boys Make It a Seacoast Sweep!
Claim D2 Titles!
Results Courtesy of LancerTiming
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By Mike Smith
In the preview, we alluded to the fact that the Oyster River Bobcats were in the best position to capitalize on last year’s graduation class, with Portsmouth and Milford chasing, and that proved to be the case. OR had a substantial lead on paper, but that’s why we run the races and don’t leave it up to speculation. In the end, it would come down to the last event, where OR would have to have a poor race and Portsmouth would have to capitalize on it. In the end that would not be the case, where OR would edge out Portsmouth 1:50.26 to 1:50.51 for the relay and their first team title since 1977! Milford would wind up the clear third, mostly on the back of a heroic effort by Lauren Robinson. Let’s review the meet in the way the events played out.
With the hour difference in starting times, the field events enjoyed a spotlight it deserves! Hannah Ehlers of Sanborn would win the high jump over Portsmouth’s Olivia Cray on countbacks at 5-2. Ehlers was the top seed coming in with a 5-3; however, Cray had only a season’s best of 4-10. She not only scored a huge PR, but a valuable 8 points towards the team chase. Milford’s Leslie MacGrath earned 6 points towards her team’s efforts for third. Milford’s Renee Wilson would win the long jump with 16-10.5, over Sanborn’s Kaylen LaChapelle’s leap of 16-8.75. Portsmouth would pick up a point with Dani Vigueras’s sixth place jump.
St Thomas Aquinas Mady Buchalski would win the shot put with the state’s best throw of 37-9.5. Portsmouth would pick up valuable points with second and fifth place finishes by Abbe Laurence and Holly Gavin, getting an early lead over OR to combat the coming points in the sprints to happen later.
Oyster River was the top seed going into the 4×800, but once the gun sounded, Coe-Brown firmly established themselves at the front with all others taking up chase. After one circuit of the track, OR’s lead off leg was at the very back of the pack and it looked as like they would be out of the scoring in their first opportunity. But over the ensuing 15 laps they would fight their way back in. Running slowest to fastest, they crept back to the front where they waged a battle with Coe-Brown coming down the stretch with CB winning this one 10:03.81 to 10:05.57. Portsmouth would pick up valuable team points in third with Portsmouth Christian’s Liza Corso working her way from seventh to fourth in the final leg.
Next up for a final was the 3000, where wunderkind MV’s Sophia Reynolds was set to take on Milford’s Lauren Robinson in the first of their two matchups. With Reynolds, the favorite, going right to the front at 9:20 pace, Robinson and Souhegan’s Chloe Trudel attached themselves to her shoulder, hanging on for the ride. The pace would slacken around 1000 meters in but the damage had been inflicted. Chasers were falling off the back, with Trudel finally succumbing to the early pace with only Robinson hanging on. Reynolds made a move with a couple laps left, looking to shake Robinson, and while it looked like she might have done it a couple times, Robinson gamely hung on and in the last lap challenged for the lead. Reynolds would have enough to hang on, winning in 10:07.82 to Robinson’s 10:08.03. Trudel would be third.
In the 55 Hurdles, OR’s Evelyn Fischer had the fastest seed time going in, however it was St. Thomas Aquinas Adrienne Bevins coming through big in 8.96 to Fischer’s 9.06. And while Fischer would earn valuable team points with 8, behind her Portsmouth’s Sarah Morin and April Weeks would combine for 8 points of their own with third and fifth places in the final.
The 55 Dash looked to be a great opportunity for Oyster River to put the meet away, with the top two seeds in the field plus another athlete ranked in the top six. Devan McClain was the top seed and the top performer in this one, commandingly taking the field in 7.34. She would be followed by Hanover’s Ella Maclean in 7.56, with Portsmouth’s Maddie Ricard holding on for third and six points towards their cause. OR would also gain points from Laurel Gordon in fourth.
The 1000 had seen some attrition at the seeding meeting, with some of the top seeds electing to run other events but those entered came to play. ConVal’s Rachel Hurley let everyone know at the gun that if they were going to win, they were going to have to get by her and she was dead set on not letting that happen. Hurley got out to an early lead with Milford’s Robinson working her way onto her shoulder a couple laps in. Robinson would lurk there on her shoulder waiting for her opportunity to pounce. But Hurley kept her foot on the gas, leaving no room for error and would go on to win this one 3:05.09 to Robinson’s 3:07.25. OR would pick up more points from Olivia Lenk in third and Madison Hoppler in sixth, with Portsmouth’s Ellen Baker scoring in fifth.
To this point, we hadn’t seen Manchester West’s Corinne Robataille. Last year she teamed up with her sister and two other teammates to make a run at the team title, but she was all in to keep the 600 title in the family. She was a three second top seed on the field, and even though she had company through two laps, she put the hammer down on the last lap, winning by 3.5 seconds. Behind her, Portsmouth was earning important team points from Morin and Grace Ripperger in second and fourth. OR’s Lily Doody would earn a point towards the cause, and it was becoming apparent at this point in the meet that it was coming down to OR and Portsmouth for the team title, with Portsmouth leading at this point.
However the 300 was OR’s best event on paper, which turned out to be true on the track as well. Led by McClain again, OR would score in the top three spots with Amelia Concannon and Jennifer Nadig in second and third. (42.33, 43.07 and 43.43). Milford would pick up some needed points from sixth placer Wilson.
The 1500 saw ten of the twelve entrants doubling or tripling back, with the top two seeds having already run the 3000 and Robinson adding the 1000 in as well. With the pedestrian pace from the gun, ConVal’s Clare Ververka waited half a lap before jumping into the lead to get things going. Once the race was on, Robinson, Reynolds, Sanborn’s Avery Scully and Mya Dube slotted right in behind Ververka gapping the rest of the field. With three laps to go, the fresh Dube made a solid move to the front, with Reynolds and Robinson giving chase. Dube would wisely keep applying pressure. Every time Robinson and Reynolds would cover the break, Dube would crank it up again until the last lap when she was all in, running away from the field, winning in 4:49.12. Reynolds would be next in 4:52.23, nipping Robinson at the line. Quietly working her way through the field over the second half was PCA’s Liza Corso sneaking into fourth. Ververka was rewarded with a fifth place for her work up front.
Oyster River was the top seed in all the relays, but Coach Ricciardi had to do some last minute reshuffling to ensure the 4×200 win. Portsmouth took advantage to win the 4×400 relay with a dominant 4:14.10. Milford split Portsmouth and OR, finishing second in 4:19.19, with OR coming in third in 4:20.62.
And as mentioned back at the beginning, OR went out and put the exclamation on the meet, winning the 4×200, 1:50.26 over Portsmouth’s 1:50.51, to win the event and the meet. Congratulations to all athletes and coaches!
By Mike Lyford
This was always going to be a close meet. On paper it looked like three schools had a chance to win the title. And that’s why we run the meet! Hanover, Portsmouth and Oyster River all seemed to have enough firepower to pull off a championship win and from the start, it with a see-saw battle all day long.
The field events started the day off and they did not disappoint. All season the shot put was a little weak compared to an average season, but the competition heated up quickly. Owen Snively of Sanborn had a monster day with a big PR 46’5.25” throw to unseat the season-long top seed Jonathan Thorn of Coe-Brown, who also had a good day with a 45’4” 3rd place effort. Cody Stevens of Windham kept the pressure on everyone as well, throwing his own PR 45’7.75” good for second place.
As surprising as the shot put outcome was, the long jump was shockingly close to following the seeds. The top 3 places went exactly as seeded with Kennett’s Chris Caputo (20’10”), Victor Garcia of Milford (20’9”) and Sean Leahy of Goffstown (20’6”) going 1-2-3 respectively. The performances were extremely close and made for a suspenseful jumping session.
In the high jump, only seven jumpers cleared opening height, and it quickly became a two man event. Portsmouth’s Andrew Kelly topped out at 6’0” while Sidonio LaBelle-Brown of Oyster River took the event with a 6’2” clearance. Goffstown’s Joseph Lambert and Merrimack Valley’s Camden Donovan both cleared 5’10” to place third and fourth respectively.
Scores at the conclusion of the field events:
The 4×800 provided a nice change of pace for spectators and was a very competitive race. The top three seeds were ranked less than a second apart and the race was tight. There were also team title implications involved. After a few hard fought legs Oyster River’s Myles Carrico pulled away from Coe-Brown’s Porter Heigis to get a win for the Bobcats in 8:24.60 to the Bear’s 2nd place 8:28.66. Hanover was not far behind with Colm Seigne running conservatively to grab an important 3rd place in 8:34.38. Hollis/Brookline and Souhegan finished neck and neck for 4th and 5th respectively while Portsmouth rounded out the top 6 scrapping their way to 1 point.
The 55 Hurdle trials had a lot of talent packed into each heat. Portsmouth’s Will Fahey ran a blistering 7.79 to top the qualifiers but Pelham’s John Elie (8.05), Mason Martell of Newport (8.22), Andrew Kelley (8.30) and Chris Mood (8.34) both of Portsmouth as well as Windham’s Alesandro Jacobellis (8.39) all ran very well and set up for an exciting finals.
The 55 Dash trial times were led by Kyle Doucette of Hanover (6.71), Cam Burns of Windham (6.78) and JJ Kennedy of Hollis/Brookline (6.80), but the remaining 5 competitors were mere hundredths behind and would certainly push the top seeds in the finals.
The 3000 went largely according to the seeding as David Reynolds of Merrimack Valley dominated the field laying down a easy-looking 9:00.38. Oyster River’s Andy O’Brien (9:18.20) surged past Mascenic’s Landen Vaillancourt (9:18.27) for a crowd pleasing close finish. Coe-Brown’s Wyatt Mackey and Luke Tkaczyk both jumped into the scoring ranks with 4th and 5th place finishes. Trinity’s Danny Donovan closed out the scoring places in 6th.
In the 55 Hurdle finals, team implications reared up again with a potentially big scoring opportunity for Portsmouth. After a heartbreaking false start from Newport’s Mason Martell, the race was off and Fahey of Portsmouth blasted a 7.69 for the win, closely followed by an incredible 7.89 from Pelham’s Elie. Portsmouth’s Kelley (8.22) and Mood (8.35) both of Portsmouth grabbed 3rd and 4th securing a 20-point event for the Clippers and made the team race very interesting.
Speaking of interesting, the 55 Dash finals provided more team intrigue as Doucette of Hanover (6.68) easily bested the field to earn 10 points and his teammate Deveon Martin (6.88) added a huge 4 points to Hanover’s total as well. Kennedy of Hollis/Brookline (6.78) and Windham’s Burns (6.80) were 2nd and 3rd respectively. Trevor Chapman of Portsmouth (6.89) grabbed a 5th place for 2 points.
While the 1000 did not affect any team standings much at the top (besides catapulting Coe-Brown into the mix!), it was an excellent race won by top seed Evan Coyne of Con-Val (2:42.79). Coe-Brown’s Dawson Dubois (2:44.69), Trinity’s Alex Cermak (2:44.90), Sanborn’s Owen Stocker (2:45.35) and Harry Ryan of Monadnock (2:45.57) finished in that order and made for a close race.
The 600 was primed to be a big turning point for the team competition. Seigne of Hanover and Ryan Prinz of Portsmouth were not only being counted on by their teams for important points, this was also a rematch of the top 2 finishers from last year’s race! Seigne took the race last year but Prinz cruised to a victory this time over Seigne 1:24.81 to 1:25.40. This race was incredible to watch as all the top six finishers each ran a full 2 seconds faster than their seed time. Jordin Stone of Hollis/Brookline (1:25.60), Porter Heigis of Coe-Brown (1:25.63), Christian Oglesby of Merrimack Valley (1:26.50) and Portsmouth’s Jacob Grant (1:26.90) all placed 3rd-6th in that order and all put on a show.
The 300 was put away early by a determined Doucette (36.12) to score a big 10 points for Hanover. Sean Leahy of Goffstown (37.36), Victor Garcia of Milford (37.63), John Thibault of Trinity (37.80), Merrimack Valley’s Dylan Lessard (37.93), and Chris Caputo of Kennett (37.94) all raced hard and were only separated by a few tenths of a second. Great finish for this race with so many close calls. This really closed the gap in the team race setting up an inevitable match-up in the relays.
In the 1500 Oyster River’s Carrico set the tone early and handily took the win in 4:08.55, surprising no one! Jeffrey Allen of Campbell (4:13.42) gave Carrico a race early, but fell back a touch towards the end. Cody Davis of Lebanon (4:15.07) and Caleb Korthals of Milford (4:16.80) put on a good showing as well for 3rd and 4th respectively.
Relay Time! This meet was going to be decided by athletes on their 2nd, 3rd and 4th events of the day. The 4×400 again was again a matchup of the top 2 relay seeds, Hanover and Portsmouth along with 4th seed Oyster River, who all just happened to be the three most likely teams to get the team title. After the first leg, Hanover had the lead, but Portsmouth clawed their way back in to pass and never looked back winning the event in 3:37.77, a full 10 seconds faster than their seed time! Hanover ran well also to take 2nd in 3:40.71, a seasonal best as well. Pelham (3:42.42), Merrimack Valley (3:43.75), Oyster River (3:44.66), and Campbell (3:45.60) finished in that order to round out the top 6 places.
It’s never over until it’s over, and with Coe-Brown and Oyster River now out of the team title hunt it was down to Portsmouth and Hanover to match up in the final event of the day, the 4×200. Except that it wasn’t exactly a match up with Portsmouth as a 5 seed in a slower heat and Hanover as a 3 seed running in the final section of the day. Portsmouth would have to race, then wait to see their fate. Hanover would get to see what they would need to do.
Before continuing with the team aspect we’d like to acknowledge the top teams (and risk a spoiler). After a tough Windham DQ, Trinity was crowned the 4×200 champ in a time of 1:38.80. Hollis/Brookline (1:39.40) and Newport (1:39.63) were 2nd and 3rd respectively with excellent races.
In Portsmouth’s heat the Clipper’s magic ran out and after a few miscues ended up last in their heat and likely to score zero points in the event. Hanover’s tank was empty as well however and did not earn any points either.
Portsmouth stayed on top by 6 points and celebrated the win. Both teams pushed each other to their limits and congratulations to both plaque recipients!
Great job by all teams, coaches and officials. See you next year!