It’s here! After a regular season, which saw all of NH struggle to break free from the confines and challenges of winter, New Hampshire Track and Field athletes collectively posted performances to create a wave of anticipation. Competitive parity is a term which comes to mind when considering Division 2. Between both genders, the team competition is tight while there are several showdowns which will be exciting to witness.
Defending Division 2 Champion Portsmouth, did not win a single individual event last year on their way to claiming the 2017 rings. They were one of several teams which on paper were separated by a handful of points. Well take a look at what the paper exhibits! We are in for a similar battle based on final declarations! We said they were building a program. Sanborn, with a nicely balanced attack across sprints, jumps and throws has a slim advantage over Milford. The Lady Spartans have a balance of their own in the sprints, jumps, and distance events. They have a few point advantage over Portsmouth which once again has sprinkled potential points across multiple categories of events. If any one of these teams blink, look for perennial contenders Souhegan or Oyster River to contend as well! When things are this tight, one has to consider other variables like weather. With the forecast being in the 80s, which team does it truly favor?
The girls sprints, which has state champions sprinkled through all three events, seems like showdown city. New kid on the block, Sanborn’s Kristina Allard is the top seed in both the 100 and 200 while being the second seed in the 400. She is looking up at West’s Corinne Robitaille, who is also the fourth seed in the 200 and top seed again in the 800 (talk about range!). But one also has to consider names like Oyster River’s Devan McClain (Indoor 55 champ) in the 100 and especially Milford’s Viankah Williams, who is the 2 seed in the 200 and the 6th seed in the 400. Don’t forget, Williams dominated D2 sprints in 2016 as a freshmen. She has been battling hamstring issues ever since, but comes into the 2018 meet also as the top seed in the Long Jump.
Regarding the Long Jump, looks like Williams will be facing Allard, as the Sanborn freshman is the number 2 seed. Pelham’s Mia Herrling is the top seed and heavy favorite in the High Jump, while Windham’s Scarlett Souter has 5.5 inches on Herrling’s teammate Callie Lindsey in the Triple. Look for big things from team Portsmouth in the pole vault as Sarah Morin is the top seed at 9’7″ with the Lady Clippers occupying four of the ten slots.
In the hurdles, Portsmouth’s Acadia Momm-White is the top seed in a very competitive High Hurdles with St. Thomas’s Adreinne Bevins, MV’s Kaitlyn Covell and Portsmouth’s Georgia Dickinson all seeded in the top 4. Souhegan’s Elise Lambert comes in as the top seed in the 300 Hurdles at 47.88. She will be looking to hold off Portsmouth’s Morin, Covell, and OR’s Evelyn Fischer, as all come in with seed times under 49 seconds!
Corinne Robitaille is the top seed in the 800. Doubling back on short rest, expect Souhegan duo Jane Leighton and Marissa Romano to press the issue. Look for nd Coe-Brown’s Abigail O’Connor, who recently won the Seacoast 800, to make her presence felt as well.
In the 1600, Milford duo Lauren Robinson and Rebecca Durham occupy the top 2 seeds, while MV sophomore Emma York, and West’s Julia Robitaille hold the three and four slots. This is quite the interesting race to consider, as both Durham and Robitaille, stalwarts in D2 distance racing the past few years, have had abbreviated springs. Both could very well be rounding into form at the right time, but one cannot discount Robinson who has been steadily building while having a breakthrough performance last week in Londonderry.
Both Durham and Robinson will be coming back for the 3200 and both are looking to track down Con-Val’s Clare Veverka who is the top seed at 11:08.73. This could be one of the most competitive races of the day as everyone will surely have at least one race under their belt.
Talk about competition. We may very well have saved the best for last. As it has been the last few years, seniors Leb’s Kath Merchant, Coe-Brown’s Kathleen Collins, Sanborn’s Meg Sheehan will assuredly put on a show. Merchant, who always saves her best for the championship season, will be looking to win all three again, but Collins has been throwing some absolute bombs in the Discus, and Sheehan is always a consistent threat.
Last year, Trinity walked away with the D2 title on the basically off the strength of a handful stars. On paper this year, Portsmouth is the polar opposite as they come in favored off the strength of spreading their points across all events. They have the potential to score in 14 or more events doing most of their damage in the field events, possibly scoring hug chunks in the High Jump, Pole Vault and Hurdles. Indoor team champ, Windham comes within 10 points on paper of Portsmouth. A solid team all around, they are attempting to sweep the 2018 track titles as Trinity did last year. And despite graduation hitting their program hard, 2017 runner-up Coe-Brown seems to be lurking in third on paper. A few swings here and there, and the Bears could see themselves in the mix.
Highlighting the sprints will be Trinity’s Stephen Duckett, who simply has been slamming down some incredible performances we don’t always see in NH. Duckett is the top seed in both the 200 and 400 with times of 21.93 and 49.73 respectively. Expect this to drop as the competition increases over the next couple weeks. Hanover’s Kyle Doucette is the top seed in the 100 at 11.14, but expect Windham’s Matthew Garafano to make it close. Doucette comes back as the second seed in the 200.
Both hurdle events see Coe-Brown’s Orion Clachar as the top seed, but the story here could be Portsmouth as Will Fahey leads Ryan Gonzales, Andrew Kelly, Andrew Weeks and Brian O’Malley to what could be a landslide of points across both events for the Clippers.
Windham’s Spenser Sawyer is the top seed in both the 1600 and 800 at 4:25.90 and 1:55.90 respectively. Look for the return of a healthy Cameron Starr (Pelham) to give him all he can handle in the 1600, while Kingswood’s Wyatt Pooler is the second seed in the 800 at 1:59.44. Merrimack Valley’s David Reynolds will be entering the 3200 fresh as the event’s number 1 seed at 9:42.70. Once again, Starr is the two seed, with Division 2 XC Champ Evan Tanguay (Coe-Brown) the third seed. Don’t count these two out of contention in this event either. Both are seasoned veterans that know how to race, especially the second half of events.
With five athletes entered at 6’0″ in the high jump, it is anyone’s event. Two teams, Plymouth (Charlie Carpenter and Sam Ebner) and Portsmouth (hurdlers Fahey and Kelly). Portsmouth also has sophomore Chris Mood and senior Cam Duncan as the top seeds in the Pole Vault and Long Jump respectively. As Duncan comes back as the 5th seed in the Triple, the jumps are where Portsmouth could very well win the team title. Speaking of Triple Jump Plymouth’s Ebner is the top seed with Sanborn’s Kashief Bogannam, Oyster River’s Sidonio LaBelle-Brown, and West’s Jaymeson Maheux all are over 40′ this year.
The throws should be the Marcus Roper show, at least in the Shot and Discus as the Lebanon senior is the top seed. The javelin sees Plymouth sophomore Cale Swanson as the top seed, but look to CBNA’s Clachar and Con-Val’s Sam Boggis to challenge as well.
Good luck to all!!! See you Saturday!