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By Nate Leveille
It’s that time of year again. The championship season has arrived and while it might look a little different than years past with both boys and girls on separate nights, the competition should be just as good as it’s always been with a time schedule that will allow athletes to double and triple. As of right now the projected weather for Thursday looks great. The seeding meeting was conducted last night and all projections have taken scratches into consideration.
The Nashua South duo of Madeline Stevens and Soraya Ross have been lightning the track on fire this season. They are the top two seeds in the 100 and the 2-3 seeds in the 200. Their competition will come from Taryn Naftali of Bedford and Grace Kunysz of Exeter. Keep an eye on Harriet Barber of Manchester Central, who is the top seed in the 200.
Sheridan McGadden of Bedford has been the top seed all season long in the High Hurdles. Jordan Wheaten of Pinkerton and April Weeks of Portsmouth have been coming on strong and should give her some competition for the first time all season. In the 300 hurdles 2019 MOC Champ Sydney Lavelle of Exeter is the favorite followed by Weeks, McGadden, and Olivia Mazerolle of Nashua North.
The 400m saw a number of scratches. Top seed Kylee Quinlan of Winnacunnet remains the top seed followed by Ashlyn Smith of Dover and Lily Jenkins of Portsmouth. Its hard to know who will be fresh and who will already have run the 4×800, making for a very close and competitive race. The same can be said for the girls 800 ,which features many girls either doubling or tripling back. Quinlan the top seed will be coming off the 400. She is followed by Whitney Vailant of Concord, who has looked unbeatable at times with her punishing kick. Watch out for Carly Rinko of Bedford, Hannah Shepard of Keene, and Nadia Zhecheva of South who might not have a race on their legs prior to the 800.
Fiona Doherty of BG is the top seed in the 1600 followed by Adele Alexander of Merrimack and Dantia Braccio of Nashua North. Those three will look to separate themselves from the pack. Abby Goulas of Concord and Mary-Kate Finn of BG will be lurking. Finn and Alexander will double back in the 3200m as the top two seeds. They are joined by a number of “fresh” athletes including Morgane Orcutt and Katherine Kennedy of Concord and Alison Mcfarland and Anna Madden of Exeter. Watch out for Cali Coffin of Nashua South who has the veteran experience to pull off the upset.
The 4×800 is always a difficult relay to predict. If Concord and Bedford run their A squad they could make a run at 9:30 and should be well ahead of the rest. Dover, Exeter, and BG also have the ability to go sub 10. Seven of the 8 teams in the 4×100 are separated by 1.1 seconds, making this a swing event in the meet. Exeter enters with the top time followed by South, Bedford and Portsmouth. Nashua North and Merrimack will look to post a fast time in the first heat and push for a top finish. The team title may come down to the last event on the track, the 4×400. Exeter is the top seed at 4:07 followed by three teams at 4:11 including Nashua South, BG and Nashua North. Watch out for the Bedford girls in the first heat.
Nashua North has dominated the throwing events this season. Aliana Mercado and Madelyn Novak are the top two seeds in the Javelin. They may be challenged by Samantha Franks and Kayla Franks both from Pinkerton. In the shot Victoria Conrad of North looks to continue her dominance in the event. She is followed by Bella Colizzi of Salem and then two of her North teammates in Novak and Natalie Burgess. The discus has been taken by storm by sophomore sensation Briana Danis of Pinkerton. She is followed by Morgan Kelley of Winnacunnet and Samantha Vorster of Exeter.
Kailey Dillon of Merrimack is the top seed in the Long Jump followed by Lavelle of Exeter and Grace Jones of BG. In the triple jump, Autumn Agri of Exeter is the top seed by more than a foot over Tara McGadden of Bedford and Ayva Mullen of Concord. In the high jump Mazerolle of North is the overwhelming favorite with a 5” advantage over 2 seed Audrey Murrin of BG. In the pole vault Sophie Hagymas of Londonderry has come on late as the 1 seed and only girl over 10 feet. She is followed by Erin Eastwood of Exeter and McGadden of Bedford.
It appears to be a two team race for the girls championship. After scratches, the scores of the top five would be Exeter 84, North 84, BG 59, Bedford 51 and South 49. That of course is following straight seeds. A panel of NH Track & Field staff and coaches was polled and 5 picked Exeter and 5 Picked Nashua North. Nashua North is projected to score a massive 46 points in the throwing events. They have solid relays and Braccia on the track. Exeter is projected to score big points in the relays and jumps with the rest of their points sprinkled throughout the track events. If Exeter and North should struggle Bedford, BG, and Nashua South all have the entries and fire power to get in the mix. Bedford specifically has a number of girls that would win multiple events. Nashua South behind dominant sprinting could finish 1-2 in both the 100 and 200. It should be an exciting night of competition. Best of luck to all those competing.
Ben Fleming of Pinkerton has been the best sprinter all season long. He will look to become the latest 100-200 double winner for the Astros. He will have plenty of company in the 100 with a trio of North runners in contention including Connor Dunning, Curtis Harris-Lopez, and Isaac Smith. Nashua North has 5 of the 12 entries in the 100. In the 200, Fleming is the favorite followed by Dunning, Michael Schoff of Portsmouth and Aidan McDonald of Salem.
The 110 High Hurdles should be one of the closer races of the night with 6 guys separated by less than a second. Top seed is Patrick McDonald of Bedford followed by Patrick D’Entremont of Winnacunnet and Michael Poulin of Exeter. In the 300 Hurdles is Poulin of Exeter as the one seed followed by Rory Olson of Nashua South and D’Entremont of Winnacunnet.
Many of the same names occupied the top spots in the 400 and 800 meters. Matthew Griffin of Londonderry opted for the 800m opening the door for the boys 400. The top seed in the 400 is Patrick Valhouli of Winnacunnet followed by Nate Fletcher of Portsmouth and Sean Clegg of Londonderry. All three boys are separated by less than a second. In the 800, Griffin has the top time of 1:53.35. He is followed by 2 seed Stephen Connolly of Pinkerton and Brayden Kearns of Concord. The 800 in D1 is absolutely loaded, look out for the fresh legs of Jeremiah Payeur of Dover and Ryan Fischer of Merrimack.
Eben Bragg of Concord has looked nearly untouchable this season as some of the best distance runners D2 has to offer have thrown every different race tactic at him all season long. He remained unbeaten in the 1600 with his punishing kick. If there is anyone that can kick with Bragg it might be Torin Kindopp of Keene who is the 2 seed. Depending on the race, it could be a wild last lap with a bunch of runners in the picture. In the 3200, Bragg has a 27 second cushion on 2 seed Nate Fondakowski of BG. These two races are extremely important for Concord to score as many team points as possible.
Concord and Pinkerton are the top two seeds in the 4×800. Both could run under 8 minutes if they load it up, but my guess is there may be a more conservative approach in which case that could open the door for a team like Keene. In the 4×400, all 8 entries are separated by only 3 seconds making this anyone’s race. Concord is the one seed and Keene is the two seed. Watch out for a Londonderry team that can roll out two guys with the ability to fun 50 flat. In the 4×100, Nashua North and Pinkerton are the top two seeds. This could be a pivotal swing event in terms of team points.
In their first season back in D1 Portsmouth is asserting their dominance in the Javelin throw. They have the top two seeds in Jake Haley and Nate Fletcher. They are followed by a pair of North teammates in Lucas Cunningham and Thomas Mason. In the shot Jason Compoh of Nashua South has a 6 ft advantage over the field. The race for second is wide open though. In the discus Daniel Powers of Pinkerton has a 19 foot advantage of the field. Chandler Sutton of Spaulding is the two seed in both the shot and the discus.
Picking up the event only a couple weeks ago, Andrew Kullman of Londonderry is the top seed in the high jump with a clearance of 6’3”. There are a number of boys over 6 feet this season making for a compelling event. Michael Dettore of Exeter has been locked in this season with the top seeds in the long jump (21’7”) and triple jump (41’3.5”). Derek Taylor of Concord will look to challenge Dettore in the Triple jump along with Dennis Kotee of Memorial. Ryan Dane of Pinkerton is the two seed in the LJ followed by Braiden Burns of Winnacunnet. In the pole vault Samuel Epstein of Merrimack is the one seed followed by William Pagliarulo of Bedford. Don’t count out Kylan Delage of Winnacunnet on his home pit.
The boys meet should be a hotly contested race for the team title. Coming into the seeding meeting it seemed to be a three horse race between Concord, Nashua North, and Pinkerton. After the scratches were made it appears that Concord has the slight edge on paper with an expected point total of 80 Points to Nashua North’s 71 and Pinkerton’s 73. Pinkerton has some big point scorers and will need to win events to stay in contention. Nashua North will use its strength in the sprints and field events to score their points. Concord will need a big showing from their distance squad in order to bring home the team title. Portsmouth and Exeter will look to round out the top 5 on paper.