Meet Program – Courtesy of Lancer Timing
NHIAA Division Championship Meet Hub
By Nate Leveille
A couple of things jumped out at me as this season unfolded. The first is the need for an indoor season in New Hampshire. It is very clear the athletes and teams that found a way to have an indoor season have had a huge advantage over their competition this spring, and rightfully so they put in the hard work and are reaping the benefits. The second thing is the number of people that care about the sport of track and field in New Hampshire and just how fortunate athletes are to have NewHampshireTrackandField.com, Lancer Timing, Officials, and many more that are making this spring experience so enjoyable. To remain unbiased the meet was scored based on seeding alone. There’s no way to know what individuals will be on what relay and how each event will shake out. Straight seeds never pan out, that’s why we have the state meet, but this will give us an indication of where the teams stack up on “projected points.”
At the beginning of the season It was clear that some teams returned a lot of talent. Last year’s champ, Nashua North, brought back many point scorers and appeared in the driver’s seat for a repeat performance. Then Pinkerton Academy entered the conversation with two absolute superstars in Briana Danis and Jordan Wheaton. Pinkerton is the favorite on paper with a projected 88 points, North and Exeter are both projected for 80, and Concord is projected for 73. After those schools, there is a pretty big gap. Exeter has Sydney Lavelle, solid relays, and points scattered in other events. Concord looks to score in the relays, pole vault, and a boatload in the triple jump. Pinkerton has their two stars and athletes in just about every event that can score. North is backed by two of the top throwers in the state and a superstar freshmen sprinter. I think it will take 85 points to win the meet with all 4 teams in the running.
Girls to Watch:
Sydney Lavelle (Exeter) and Jordan Wheaten (Pinkerton): these two almost mirror images of each other. They each are the top seed in one of the hurdle races while the other is the two seed. Lavelle is the top long jump seed 18’8”, Wheaton is the top HJ seed 5’6” and then they both run on one of the top relays in the state. It will be a lot of fun to watch these two battle it out in the hurdles and compete in their field events. Both could play a part in around 38 team points.
Briana Danis (Pinkerton): She separated herself from the rest of the throwers in the field this year by adding the top Shot mark (39’5.75”) to her top discus seed (135’2”).
Natalie Burgess & Madelyn Novak (North): Both throwers from North will look for a repeat of last year when they dominated the throws. Danis might be out of reach if she is on her game but a 2-3 effort in both shot and disc coupled with Novak’s top seed in the Javelin will go a long way in the team scores.
Ayva Mullen (Concord): Concord needs Ayva to have a big day in the jumps. She is the top seed and defending champ in the triple jump and the 5 seed in the long jump.
Erin Eastwood (Exeter): The defending all-state champ in the pole vault has her sights set on a D1 title and the 11’0” mark.
Soraya Ross (Nashua South): Soraya won the 200 a year ago and is the top seed in both the 100 and 200 this year. She has a different gear that no one has been able to match. I can’t see anyone getting the best of her but Alexis Best (Merrimack) might have a shot as the two seed.
Fiona Doherty (Bishop Guertin): Top seed in the 800 and 1600 meter runs. Dantia Braccio (Nashua North) will challenge her in both events along with Fiona Lee (Bedford).
Harriet Barber (Manchester Central) Has made the “jump” this year with a blistering 58.06 seed time in the 400 more than a second and a half over the two seed. She also is a factor in the 200.
Mary-Kate Finn (BG) is the top seed in the 3200m. She is not currently entered in any other individual events so she may be Fresh for this race unless running the 4×800.
Relays, Relays Relays!!! The 4×800 relay is anyone’s guess. Alvirne ran a dominant time last week, but you never know who teams are willing to spend in that relay for points. South hasn’t lost a 4×100 all season they enter as the favorites with Pinkerton right on their heels. Exeter has long dominated the 4×400 they enter as the top seed with Pinkerton, Concord, and North right there (Imagine if this meet comes down to the 4×400).
The team race was going to be pretty wide open entering the season. Nashua North won the meet a year ago but graduated many point scorers. In my season preview, I noted that Nashua North was still the favorite followed by Pinkerton Academy and Portsmouth. This still holds true as Nashua North is projected to score 67 points, all but 5 of those points are in the field events! Londonderry and Portsmouth are projected to score 65 points followed by Concord 57 and Pinkerton 54. The boy’s meet is going to be stressfully close as any of these 5 teams could win.
North’s advantage is their points in the throws, which are points you can typically count on. Londonderry is led by Clegg who will be attempting a very challenging 400-800 double coupled with a couple of relays. They will go as far as he goes. Pinkerton can rely on the depth as they are projected to score in 10 events with the top sprinter in the state. Concord will need to rely on their distance runners the same way they did a few years ago when they had their title run. They are currently projected for 38 distance points. Portsmouth, in just their second season in D1, has a real shot to steal this thing. They need a monster meet out of Nate Fletcher (great first name) solid relays and timely points in other events. They are projected to score in every event aside from jumps and distance. The first team to 70 wins it on the boy’s side.
Boys to Watch
Aidan Mcdonald (Salem): He’s to top seed in the 200 and the 3 seed in the 100. Could play spoiler to the other teams in the title hunt. He will also give Jacob Spezzaferri (Pinkerton) top 100 seed all he can handle in the 100. Spezzaferri looks prime to dip below 11 seconds for the first time this season.
Sean Clegg (Londonderry) 400-800 double. If he’s running for points he can semi cruise through the 400 where he has almost a 2-second advantage and save energy for the 800 where he will have a huge challenge from top seed Torin Kindopp of (Keene).
Nate Fletcher (Portsmouth): Nate has a challenging double of his own as the top seed in the 300h and the two seed in the 200. He is aided by multiple heats of the 800, but Portsmouth will need him to come up big.
Tyler Sheedy (Dover): It’s no secret that Sheedy is eyeing the D1 record in the 3200 (9:15.36). He’s probably going to have to go at it alone as most of the boys behind him with have doubled and tripled for team points.
Sam Hilts and John Murphy (Concord): 1-3 seeds in the 1600 (Kindopp the 2 seed). Nearly all the guys in this race will be trying to save energy. This race could have the feel of an Olympic final where no one wants to take the lead and do the work. Concord needs monster meets out of Hilts and Murphy two of the top distance runners in the state.
Christopher Chong (Bedford) is the top seed in the 110 high hurdles he leads 5 boys in under 16 seconds.
Sami Witta (South) has been the top high jumper all season with a seed of 6’4”.
Samuel Epstein (Merrimack) is the top seed in the pole vault at 14’0” he is the defending all-state champ from a year ago.
David Jacques (Salem) is the top seed in the long jump, but Michael Dettore (Exeter) is the defending champ and back after being out for a few weeks.
Jack Sullivan (Nashua North) is the top seed in the Triple jump, 4 seed in the LJ, and 3 seed in the HJ. He has a lot of jumps ahead of him.
Toby Brown & Jack Washam (North) are 1-2 in the shot. Washam is the 1 seed and Brown is the 3 seed in the discus will look to secure major and important points for North.
The most unpredictable event of the season has been the boys Jav led by Aiden Kelley of Manchester Central. This event is wide open with seeds 2-8 separated by 8 feet.
Relays: Concord has a comfortable edge in the 4×800 but who do they want to use? Pinkerton has dominated the 4×100 all year and has a slight edge over Portsmouth. Portsmouth likewise has dominated the 4×400 all season, but will be tested by Alvirne and defending MOC champ Keene.
Good Luck to all coaches and competitors. As with last year, NHTF.com will be livestreaming the event from our homepage!