Oyster River Boys, Portsmouth Girls Claim D2 Titles!
NHTFCA’s Division 2 All-State Team
Results Courtesy of LancerTiming
By Mike Smith
In the D2 Girls meet preview, we mentioned that Oyster River would be looking to repeat but would have to hold off a Clipper crew from Portsmouth, that on paper, looked to be the favorite. And while the meet looked close on paper, once the running action began, Portsmouth wasted no time hoping out to an early lead putting the pressure on the Bobcats to step up their game. We’ll go through the meet as it unfolded.
Portsmouth’s Elly McLaughlin got the scoring going for the Clippers finishing 5th in the shot put, scoring 2 points towards the Portsmouth haul. Showcasing the event was Mady Buchalski of St. Thomas, tossing the cannonball 38-7.25 inches, more than 3 feet better than Epping’s Alexis Kailey and a foot better than her winning toss of last year. Milford’s Robyn Krafft would start the Spartan’s scoring with third.
Milford would look to make inroads into the scoring in the high jump, where Leslie MacGrath would finish in fourth, with all four of the top competitors reaching the 5-0 mark. Windham’s Hannah Monahan, who entered the event as the seventh seed would come away with the win on countbacks, reaching the 5-0 height with less misses at earlier heights. Campbell’s Tori Allen would settle into the second spot, with Sanborn’s Kaylen LaChapelle finishing third.
The 4×800 would get things going on the track. Souhegan was the favorite on paper, but teams often elect to run a different combination of athletes than the team they used to qualify, looking for individuals to pick up points in other places. This worked into Merrimack Valley’s hands as they used the combination of Emma Yorks, Cassidy Considine, Samantha Kimball and Sophia Reynolds to turn the table on Souhegan and take the win (10:06.01) to the Sabers fourth place finish. Portsmouth would sneak in to snag second and 8 points to add to their point totals from the first two field events. Milford would garner 6 points for third, making a bid for team recognition as well.
Hurdle and Dash prelims were next and would prove pivotal in both Oyster River’s and Portsmouth’s bid for the team championship. With 13 of the 32 entries in the two races, whichever team was standing atop the leaderboard when the dust settled would be in control. Portsmouth put three on into the final, with April Weeks the fastest of all qualifiers in 8.89, but teammates Sarah Morin and Zosia Kobylinski garnering the last two qualifying spots in the final, but if they stayed there these would be the two nonscoring positions. Oyster River was looking better, with two through to the final, with Evelyn Fischer and Ella Stasko in the second and third qualifying spots. We’d have to wait and see.
In the dash Hanover’s Ella MacLean would lead all qualifiers into the final with a very quick 7.45 followed close by Portsmouth’s Maddie Ricard. OR would get three through to the final, with Jennifer Nadig, Shealee Dulin and Charlotte Cousins grabbing the 4th, 7th and 8ths spots.
But before these finals, the girls 3000 meters would be run. Souhegan’s Chloe Trudel was the heavy favorite. In the early going Trudel would begin to build up a lead over the field, towing last year’s winner Sophia Reynolds of MV with her creating separation. But Reyonlds was back after her anchor leg in the 4×8 and it wouldn’t be long and Trudel was on cruise control at the front bringing home the win in 10:26.57. Reynolds would hold onto second with Campbell’s Cassie Hemming able to withstand some last lap contact and finish third.
In the long jump, last year’s winner Renee Wilson of Milford showed why she was the returning champ as she added 8 inches onto last year’s performance, jumping 17-6.75 to outdistance Hanover’s Zoe Onyango by over a foot. Portsmouth’s Brynn Dooley (3rd) and Dani Vigueras (6th) would add to the point total putting Portsmouth and Milford in a tight race going into the hurdle and dash finals.
With the hurdles and the dash back on the track, the meet would get into high gear and you could feel the momentum building. Weeks looked to be challenged by Fischer and Stasko, but by the first hurdle Weeks was out to the early lead and Fischer was having trouble finding her footing. Weeks would win in 8.94 adding 10 more points, followed by Stasko. Pulling through in the clutch would be Morin and Zobylinski, nabbing 3rd and 4th, for a Portsmouth event total of 20 to OR’s 8. The Clippers were rolling and they knew it.
The 1000 meters was next and to say it was tactical was an understatement. OR’s Lily Doody was the top entry with Brianna Malone of Portsmouth’s Christian the second seed. Initially, these two and the field were content to jog the opening laps, seeing who would make the first move. With two laps to go, Malone, sick of the bumping and grinding that left everyone in the field within two seconds of each other, turned on the burners and quickly separated herself from her pursuers. She would win in 3:10.41 with Coe Brown’s Abigail O’Connor the best of the rest. Doody would finish third with Portsmouth’s Grace Ripperger in fourth. Olivia Lenk would add to OR’s totals with Doody, 7 in total, but with Portsmouth in the lead and Ripperger getting 4 points as well in this event OR would have to win every battle from here on out.
And Portsmouth’s Sarah Morin would have something to say about that. Hanover’s Christine Aman who was a scoring threat over any distance from 300 to 3000 elected to run just the 600 and expectations were she’d rip from the front. But getting the jump on her on the first lap, Morin ran with abandon, leading from gun to tape, running 1:40.22, with Bow’s Kristina Pizza right on her tail. Aman would move up into third but Portsmouth was making a statement and it was a strong one.
Both OR and Portsmouth had entries in the 300 with OR’s Jennifer Nadig the top seed to be challenged by Portsmouth’s Paige Betournay. However with three heats and no finals and a field determined to upset the apple cart, neither would find that top spot. Out of the second heat, Gilford’s Natalie Fraser would win in 43.30, beating Nadig by 6/100th of a second. Zoe Onyango and Ella MaClean of Hanover were making inroads on OR’s second place standing, scoring 10 points for third and fourth.
Two of NH’s top distance stars chose to focus on the 1500, setting the stage for a two person duel sure to be a hot race. PCA’s Liza Corso was the top seed ahead of last year’s champion Mya Dube of Kearsarge. Corso went right to the front and started grinding out laps, Dube and Trudel slotted right in behind her but as the laps wore on, Trudel with the effort of the 3000 still in her legs wouldn’t be able to hold on. With a lap to go, Dube having positioned herself right off Corso’s shoulder, struck going to the front and what seemed to be a coronation run. But Corso wasn’t through and the two battled all the way to the tape, with Dube prevailing in 4:46.01 to Corso’s 4:46.57. Trudel would hold on for third.
With the team championship well in hand, one might think that Portsmouth might let off the gas but once you’re rolling there’s no reason to. Portsmouth would put the emphasis on the win by winning the 4×400, finishing with 600 champ Morin, running 4:13.40 to OR’s 4:17.70. This battle would become super important as third went to Hanover, who were within spitting distance of stealing the runner up prize.
Oyster River would take care of business in the 4×200 by finishing fourth to Hanover’s 8th place. Pelham would out do Portsmouth for 4×200 braggin rights, with Dahlinger outracing Ricard to finish in 1:50.43. Milford would finish in third.
Portsmouth would end the day with a commanding lead, almost doubling up on the rest of the field, 79 points to OR’s 40 points. With just 4 kids competing, Hanover would be back one half point with 39.5, Milford fourth with 34 points and Merrimack Valley would round out the top five with 24.5 points.
By Jim MacKenzie
The 2020 Boy’s Division 2 Championship was a four team see-saw battle between defending champion Portsmouth, this year’s favorite Oyster River, Windham and Coe-Brown with each team leading at some juncture of the day.
Incidentally the boys from the White Mountains jumped out to the early lead however. And I do mean jump. Kevin Schanlaber put his name in the history books with a new Division 2 State record jump of 21-10.75 breaking the record held by Lebanon’s Nils Scheie set in 2010. Dylan Foss of Pelham finished 2nd 20-11.75, Windham’s Curtis Shattuck 3rd 20:07 and Portsmouth’s Andrew Kelly got his big day started with a 4th place finish with a jump of 20-06. Coe-Brown’s Anders Larson placed 5th 20-02 and JJ Kennedy of Hollis/Brookline was 6th 19-11.25
Coe-Brown briefly took the lead in the team competition by winning the 4×800 in convincing fashion. Coe-Brown ran a solid 8:20.92 to win this event. Bow ran well to place 2nd in 8:24.07 and Hanover surprised top ranked Oyster River by placing 3rd in 8:26.36 the Bobcats finished 4th in 8:31.50. Conant was 5th in 8:32.83 and Portsmouth placed 6th 8:32.89.
Last year at this time Thor Griffith of Portsmouth was busy proving himself to be the best heavyweight wrestler in the state. This year with an outstanding throw of 49-10, he easily won the shot put competition by over three feet, putting Portsmouth in the team lead after three events. Milford’s Emmanuel Ughu placed second with a throw of 46-04. Campbell’s Joshua Hoffman throw of 44-09.25 placed third and Andrew Abirachad of Windham was 4th 43-11.50. Pembroke’s James Dupuis 5th 40-06.25 and Sanborn’s Zach Cardoso 6th 40-05.75.
2019 high jump runner-up Andrew Kelly turned the tables and helped Portsmouth increase their team lead by jumping 6’2″ to win the high jump competition over last year’s champion Oyster River’s Sidonio LaBelle-Brown. Brown jumped 6’0″ to place second just better than White Mountain’s Jack Parker 3rd 6’0″ and Pelham’s Dylan Foss 6’0″. Sanborn’s Max Lussier placed 5th and Hanover’s Ian Solberg placed 6th.
Coe-Brown’s Luke Tkaczyk and Aidan Cox led throughout most of the 3000 meters, but top seed Oyster River’s Andy O’Brien just patiently stayed in third. Poised and ready with under two laps to go O’Brien slammed down a hammering kick. O’Brien finished first with a time of 9:03.02, Coe-Brown took the next three places woth Tkaczyk (2nd 9:05.31), Cox (3rd 9:06.25) and Carter Sylvester (4th 9:13.21). Con-Val’s Harrison Kim placed 5th in 9:13.62 and Oyster River’s Dillon Labonte scored 6th in 9:15.03. By picking up 18 points, Coe-Brown was back in the team competition lead. Coe-Brown 30 Portsmouth 25 and Oyster River 23.
John Elie of Pelham placed second last year. But this year was a different story. Elie posted a very solid 7.73 to win the Hurdles just ahead of Newport’s Mason Martell (7.87). The Portsmouth pair of Andrew Kelly (3rd 8:01) and Chris Mood (4th 8.23) would put Portsmouth back in front for the team lead competition. Chase Adams of Hollis/Brookline placed 5th (8.24) and Windham’s Alesandro Jacobellis was 6th (8.38). Portsmouth 35 Coe-Brown 30 Oyster River 23.
Windham’s team strength is speed. Braeden Manti is fast. After a false start by West freshman phenom Edwen Rodriguez and a scratch from defending champion Kyle Doucette in both the 55 and 300 meter. Manti went to work posting a devilish 6.66 to win the 55 meter dash over Merrimack Valley’s Seth Baylus (6.69). Michaek Curtin of Hollis Brookline was third in 6.76 and long jump champ Kevin Schanlaber of White Mountains was fourth. Newport’s Jagger Lovely finished fifth in 6.90 and Windham’s Andrew Abirached was 6th in 6.91. After 7 events Portsmouth 35 Coe Brown 30 Oyster River 23 Windham 22.
Oyster River’s Myles Carrico and Owen Fleischer wasted no time going straight to the front of the 1000 meters. They were all business. They came in and got the job done grabbing 18 points for their team by seizing first and second place with Carrico running 2:37.44 and Fleischer closing hard on his teammate with a finishing time of 2:38.54. Windham’s Rohan Rai placed third in 2:40.91. Coe-Brown’s Dawson Dubois 4th (2:42.54) and Wyatt Mackey 5th (2:42.79) scrapped up some points for their cause. Campbell’s Tyler Scopelites finished 6th in 2:42.96. After 8 events Oyster River took the lead in the team competition. Oyster River 41 Coe Brown 36 Portsmouth 35 Windham 28.
Porter Heigis is simply the workhorse of the Coe-Brown Black Bear team. The overwhelming favorite in the boys 600 meter run. Heigis did not disappoint running 1:26.27 to win this event by over two seconds. Oyster River Trevor Sassaman perhaps the unsung hero on the day for the Bobcats secured 8 team points for placing second with a time of 1:28.46 edging out Windham’s JP Wallace (3rd 1:28.86) and Monadnock’s Harry Ryan (4th 1:28.90). Winning the first section in 1:29.05 was enough for 5th place for Cameron Dufault of Pelham. Hollis/Brookline’s Aidan Maquire was 6th in 1:29.13. 9 events scored Oyster River 49 Coe Brown 46 Portsmouth 35 Windham 34.
The tenth event on the day would be a big point haul for Windham. The Jaguar’s Quinn Cerami ran a terrific 36:49 to win the 300 meter. Trinity’s John Thibault placed 2nd in 36.67 and Windham’s Landon Neal took third ahead of section 2 winner JJ Davis of Kearsarge (4th 37:43). Newmarket’s Caden Foster finished fifth in 37.61 and Lebanon’s Ben Tichner was 6th in 37.88. 10 events into the scoring with another new team leader Windham 50 Oyster River 49 Coe Brown 46 Portsmouth 35.
The next event tells the true story of the day and what competition is all about. Mascenic’s Landen Vaillancourt, a fresh and free spirited wild card sped out to the lead in the 1500 meter. Hammering at close to 4 minute mile pace for the first 600 meters, Vaillancourt and Milford’s Caleb Korthals gapped and separated themselves comfortably from the pack. Lap after lap went by and the lead held up. With two laps to go 3000 meter champ Andy O’Brien of Oyster River had fire in his eyes. O’Brien unleashed a thunderous kick for the ages blowing by the competition and capturing the 1500 meter title in 4:10.88. Korthals held on for second place 4:12.85 and Vaillancourt, out of gas but still placed third in 4:14.65. Aidan Cox took 4th 4:15.42 just ahead of Lebanon’s Cody Davis (5th 4:16.09) and Oyster River 1000 meter champion Myles Carrico (6th 4:19.51). After 11 events Oyster River 60 Windham 50 Coe Brown 50 Portsmouth 35.
Going into the 4×400 Oyster River was in the team competition lead, but had to be thinking a little about Windham. Windham was pretty much a lock for a top three finish in the final event the 4×200. So Oyster River aimed to place high in this relay to perhaps clinch the championship before the final event. Pelham got the lead and never looked back with their anchor leg of John Elie held off Oyster River’s Myles Carrico to pull out the win with a time of 3:35.46. Oyster River 2nd 3:36.79 Trinity 3rd 3:38.33 Portsmouth 4th 3:39.08 Coe-Brown 5th 3:39.40 and Windham 6th 3:43.62. With the 2nd place finish Oyster River locked up the Division 2 Championship. The battle now going into the last event was for second place. After 12 events Oyster River 68 Coe Brown 52 Windham 51 Portsmouth 39.
In the final event Newmarket and Newport looked to take it to Windham. But superior handoffs by Windham was the big difference in this race. Windham 1st 1:35.54 held on to beat fast closing Newmarket 2nd1:35.99 and Newport 3rd 1:36.02. Windham’s win secured the Division 2 runner-up plaque. Portsmouth finished fourth in 1:36.85. Pembroke was 5th 1:38.20 and Manchester West 6th 1:39.12. Final events scored Oyster River 68 Windham 61 Coe Brown 52 Portsmouth 43.