Courtesy of LancerTiming!
Last year, Souhegan edged Milford by 2 points to claim the 2018 title coming down to the final 4×400 relay to settle things. Expect more of the same in terms of how close this year’s Division meet will be among the top 2 to 4 teams. Also expect it to come down to the final events to decide things. As with any start to a season, there are a handful of teams with realistic shots to contend. There is also the welcoming of new talent among athletes!
One of the closest races last year was the 55 meter dash as Oyster River’s Devan McClain literally outleaned West’s Corinne Robitaille. With both back, expect more of the same sprinkled with Lebanon junior Claudia Simione, Souhegan senior Hannah Rowe and Pelham freshman Gwenyth Dahlinger. Don’t rule out Hanover using Ella Maclean here, or if Conant’s Abigail Drew competes, she can also make some waves in the Dash.
In the 300, expect Oyster River to flex its muscle and display its depth. While Corinne Robitaille (West) is the returning champ, expect Oyster River’s Amelia Concannon and McClain along with Hanover’s Maclean and Anna Stafford to comprise a loaded field by season’s end. Hanover actually rivals the OR’s depth as they also have Peiper Thomas returning as well.
The 600 and the 1000 will certainly have another Robitaille involved as Julia is the defending 600 meter champ. Last year’s surprise, won’t be a surprise this year as Newmarket’s Camryn Young is the next best returner. Expect Coe-Brown’s Sophie Laird, PCA’s Delaney Kjendal, Hanover’s Christine Aman, and Pelham’s Kylie Harrington and Paige Hurst to contend for points as well.
In the 1k, Souhegan’s Marissa Romano is top returner with Con-Val’s Rachel Hurley seemingly hot on her heels. Last year Milford’s Lauren Robinson included this event as part of her yeoman’s triple as she also competed in the 3k and 1500. No telling if she will compete in this one in 2019. Look for Coe-Brown’s Ella Malone, the next best returner coming off a very strong XC season to contend here as well.
One might think with the graduation of Rebecca Durham and Jane Leighton, the distance events (3000 and 1500) would be less competitive, but they would be wrong as a couple XC state champions will join the fray! Look for newcomers Merrimack Valley’s freshman Sophia Reynolds (D2 & MOC XC Champ) and Keasarge junior Mya Dube (D3 XC State Champ) to certainly become one of the favorites in either the 1500 or 3000, or both!!! Obviously West’s Julia Robitaille who set the D2 3k record last year and Milford’s Robinson will have something to say about this. Throw in the likes of PCA’s Liza Corso, Con-Val’s Clare Veverka, Souhegan’s Arielle Zlotnick, CBNA’s Addison Cox, Belmont’s Alice Riley, and Sanborn’s Avery Scully (among a slew of others) and it can be argued Division 2 is the most competitive in the distance events.
While it is a bit challenging to look at these events, it seems every year the same schools produce the best relays. Further, the team title competition could definitely be decided by these! Teams like Milford, Oyster River, Souhegan, and Portsmouth seem to be the strongest at the present time. Looking at the 4×200, Milford may be the slight favorite as they return all their legs from their 2018 team which placed third. Defending champ Souhegan returns three of their four legs as does runner-up Portsmouth. Do not count out Hanover as they have quietly developed quite the sprint squad.
In the 4×400, defending champs Oyster River returns their entire squad and are considered heavy favorites, but if Milford has a healthy Viankah Williams, they could certainly close the gap. Don’t count out Portsmouth as they have a knack of finding legs to compose all of their relays.
Souhegan and Coe-Brown seem to always assemble great 3200 meter relays. Look for the same to occur in 2019. However, do not count out Portsmouth (again) and the rising talent of Oyster River as they return their entire squad from 2018.
The jumps are highlighted by Milford’s Williams in the Long. Supported by Renee Wilson as the next best returner, look for Milford to score a bunch of points here. Of course the usual suspects of Rowe (Souhegan) and Daniela Vigueras (Portsmouth) could also contend. A couple surprises could be seen in Sanborn’s Kaylen LaChappelle and Conant’s Abigail Drew if they compete.
It is not very often that the High Jump has a sophomore as top returner but that is exactly what Campbell has in Tori Allen. Challenging Allen should be Sanborn’s Amanda McVey and Hannah Ehlers as well as Merrimack Valley’s Theresa Irving.
The past few years, names like Merchant, Sheehan and Collins have dominated this event. With those 3 graduated, look to Mady Buchalski (St. Thomas) to claim the title. If healthy, Portsmouth’s Abbe Laurence could give Sheehan competition as she tossed the shot 36’8″ this past spring. Also, Sanborn’s Becca Olsen, Milford’s Robyn Krafft and Portsmouth’s Holly Galvin should contend for points.
As referred to at the beginning of this post, four teams seem to be in the mix this preseason as Milford, Oyster River, Souhegan and West all look poised to score 50 points or more. At this moment, it looks as if Milford and Oyster River are the most complete teams as they have the ability to score in the most events while Souhegan and West seem to not have as much depth and have a slightly lower ceiling.
Considering Milford v. Oyster River, both teams have major upsides. On the one hand, Milford has Williams, who if healthy will not be regulated to just the Long Jump while Oyster River not only has a stable of young talent who we expect to make an impact, but look for their distance core to make some noise as they continue to make strides. Souhegan seems to always be in the mix in recent years and they have enough to continue to do so. The sentimental favorite could very well be Manchester West as they try to assemble a supporting cast to aid in the Robitaille sisters’ quest to bring home a team title.
Last year Windham really put the Championship Meet away by scoring a ton of points in the 55 dash, this year looks like they have a big edge there again. Matthew Garafano and Cam Burns are the #1 and #3 returners in the dash in what could be a down year for the event. Look for Hanover’s Kyle Doucette to make a bid for top sprinter however after an excellent 2018 Spring season. Also very much in the mix in the 55 is Oyster River’s Cameron St. Onge.
The 300 seems as up for grabs as possible with only 3 qualifiers from last year’s D2 Championship returning. Of those, Sean Leahy of Goffstown looks to be the guy to beat with Deveon Martin and Juan Bautista Gallino both of Hanover not far behind.
Portsmouth looks to duplicate Windham’s 2018 dash supremacy with a flood of talented hurdlers. Will Fahey is the #1 returner and Andrew Kelly looks like a legit challenger as well after a strong outdoor hurdle season that saw the pair both score big at the 2018 Outdoor D2 championships. Joining them is much improved #6 returner Steve Weeks and newcomer Chris Mood. Alesandro Jacobellis of Windham was a surprise scorer at the 2018 Indoor D2s, and could very well disrupt Portsmouth’s plans for hurdle dominance. Merrimack Valley’s Dylan Lessard looks to be very much in the mix as well.
The 600 could be a real shootout with two heavy hitters at the top of the returnees list in Colm Seigne of Hanover and Portsmouth’s Ryan Prinz. Both had excellent showings in the Spring season and look like they have comparable raw speed. Coe-Brown’s Porter Heigis was very good in this event last year and with an impressive cross country season under his belt this year, he could be a top threat as well. Jacob Grant of Portsmouth looks to factor in as a top performer as well and Oyster River’s Trevor Sassaman who ran well as a frosh last year should definitely be in the mix.
The 1000 is another event that looks very open for business after graduating many top performers. On paper Con-Val’s Evan Coyne is the favorite by far and is a legitimate contender. However, Portsmouth’s Ryan Prinz may take on this event instead of the 600 and if that’s the case he is also capable of contending for a title. Also in that category are any number of Oyster River and Coe-Brown runners coming off tremendous cross country seasons. Even though they don’t have any top returnees from last year in this event, never count these teams out for providing talent.
It’s impossible right now for anyone to predict what events athletes end up in and with the 1500 and 3000 often sharing athletes we’ll have to go with guesswork. Landen Vaillancourt from Mascenic had a great performance as a freshman last year at D2s and is the #1 returner in the 1500. Cody Davis from Lebanon, Coe-Brown’s Wyatt Mackey, Merrimack Valley’s David Reynolds and Andy O’Brien from Oyster River are all very real threats and any one of these runners listed could take home an individual title in this event.
In the 3000, David Reynolds looks to be a prohibitive favorite, leading all returnees by 22 seconds. After an impressive cross country season there’s no reason to think he’s vulnerable. Chasing him should be a collection of Coe-Brown and Oyster River jerseys, including but not limited to Oyster River’s Owen Fleischer, Andy O’Brien, and Henry Keegan. Coe-Brown’s possibles include Luke Tkaczyk, Wyatt Mackey and will we see Dawson Dubois? Don’t count out Harrison Kim from Con-Val as a potential scorer after an impressive cross country season.
Impossible to accurately predict much here, but look for Windham to have a standout 4×200 team. Portsmouth and Oyster River traditionally have solid teams here as well and look carefully at Hanover as a real challenger.
In the 4×400, Windham seems to have the best returners on paper but Merrimack Valley always prides itself on its relay acumen. Hanover is also a team to watch here with a lot of speed and mid-distance talent.
4×800 contenders would seem to be Coe-Brown and Oyster River, both with high level talent and depth. Again though Merrimack Valley has the potential of the Reynolds twins to unleash and MV always runs tough.
The high jump is very deep with talent this season with 2018 Champ Ben Corbyn of Kearsage returning. Sidonio LaBelle-Brown of Oyster River had a great spring season and is a dangerous contender. Andrew Kelley and Will Fahey of Portsmouth are both in the mix, as is Camden Donovan of Merrimack Valley. All have similar PRs and this event could go any which way.
The Long Jump looks like a senior heavy event with 2018’s runner up Sean Leahy of Goffstown as the top returnee. Kennett’s Chris Caputo, Windham’s Tommy Emrick, Hollis-Brookline’s Joey Dias all scored last year at D2s as well and are very tightly bunched. Milford’s Victor Garcia is very much a threat to score as well.
This event is wide open as a senior heavy 2018 class graduated and left just three returnees from last year’s D2 meet. Portsmouth’s Thor Griffith looks to be the favorite as the top returnee, followed by Owen Snively of Sanborn. After these two on paper are Dylan Lessard and Tanna Vallierre both of Merrimack Valley. This event is wide open could be a great opportunity for teams to score sneaky points.
Portsmouth looks like the early pick for a championship; they have potential scorers in every event between the 55 and the 1500, and as always have an excellent field/track balance. Hurdles and jumps seem to be their strength, but they are a complete team and seem to always find ways to score in multiple events.
Oyster River could make it interesting however with a flood of distance and mid-distance talent coupled with some speed and relay depth. Windham looks to be right with Oyster River in terms of scoring potential as they are strong in the sprint events and also relays. It’s very possible a plaque could be decided by the last relay of the day, always an incredible way to finish a championship meet! Hanover has some quality performers as well and could surprise some people with a high finish.
Good luck and good health to all teams, we can’t wait to write the championship preview that makes these predictions look foolish!