By Mike Smith
100 Abigail Drew Conant 400 Thomas Howlett Prospect Mt
200 Hayley Drew Conant 1600 Jeffrey Allen Campbell
1600 Mya Dube Kearsarge PV Jack Parker White Mts
3200 Mya Dube Kearsarge TJ Owen Billin InterLakes
100H Taima Ronish White Mts
300H Tori Allen Campbell
HJ Tori Allen Campbell
LJ Abigail Drew Conant
TJ Emma Wheeler InterLakes
SP Gabby Isabelle Winnisquam
JT Jasmine Peterson Newfound
Previewing the upcoming season based off events that happened almost a year ago is tough. Last year, I said to watch Bow’s Dominque Biron and Fall Mountains Madison Parrott. As it turns out neither of them competed in Division 3. Biron transferred to Cushing Academy to play hockey and Parrott graduated even though she was listed as a junior. So without holding a crystal ball to make predictions, below is the best we can figure for the upcoming season thus far.
Conant’s Drew sisters should have the run of the table in the sprints, as both the top returners with Abby in the 100 and Hayley in the 200 as defending champions. Anyone looking to become the champ will have to wrestle the mantle from them. The Drew sisters however have a somewhat unconventional path to track and field; playing hockey during the winter season, so we’ll have to see how long it takes them to get back in the swing of things. Expect challenges from Winnisquam’s “everything girl” Gabby Isabelle and the Fraser sisters and Laurel Gingrich of Gilford.
With Anna Harmon of Raymond and Rebecca Velie of Moultonborough gone, there’s opportunity for someone to step out of the shade and into the sunlight. Expect some battles between the Kjendal sisters of PCA and the Stockwell sisters of Hopkinton in the mid D events. Other names to watch are Kearsarge’s Avril Prak and Newmarket’s Camryn Young. Expect someone to move up or down in distance and make an impact.
Mya Dube of Kearsarge won both the 1600 and 3200 last year and since that time has only gone on to win D3 cross country, place fifth at MOCs, 14th at NE’s, then win the D2 1500 title for indoor before finishing 7th in the mile at NEs. Any path to victory goes through Dube. Also having solid cross country campaigns were PCA’s Liza Corso and Belmont’s Alice Riley, expect them to be in the mix. With a lot of young guns coming up through the ranks, don’t be surprised that a bunch of new names populate the top six come end of May.
The hurdles look to be a battle royale as the top six returners list in both the 100 and 300 hurdles sees four repeat names. Taima Ronish of White Mountains and Tori Allen lead each of the events as returning champions with Belmont’s Sana Syed in the #2 slot in both events. Emma Wheeler is the other name on both lists, with Emma Ramsey of Gilford, Sarah Dubois of Moultonborough and Kyla Eigabroadt of Fall Mountain also finding themselves in the top six returners in the hurdle events.
Tori Allen of Campbell is the top returner in high jump with 4’10”. Let’s hope her return to competition has her prepared in time. Jaycee Murray and Kaidi Bedell of White Mountains are next on the list, with Monadnock’s Sydney Eccleston coming off a solid indoor season. Haylie Drew of Conant has a one foot advantage over her competitors in pole vault and is considered the one to beat in that event. Her sister, Abigail is the returning champion in the long jump with nearly a 4 inch advantage over Winnisquam’s multi-eventer Gabby Isabelle. Look for Newport’s Selena Coronis and the versatile Emma Wheeler of Inter-Lakes as well. Wheeler is the returning champion in triple jump, with a half foot advantage over Moultonborough’s freshman Dubois. Greta Achenbach and Ronish both have jumps better than 32 feet and should be in the mix.
Winnisquam’s Isabelle is back again as the defending champ in the shot put, last year throwing only ¼ inch better than Newfound’s Oceanne Skoog. White Mountain’s Sadie Bushway has also broken the 32 foot barrier and could be a factor. Bushway is the top returner in the discus, almost ten feet ahead of the next best in Emma Poussell of Epping. Jasmin Peterson is the returning champion in the javelin by more than 15 feet and certainly is in the driver’s seat there. Mollie Durand of InterLakes is the next best with a throw of over 100 feet at last year’s championships.
The Gilford 4×100 and 4×400 are the returning champs with 75% of their relay teams intact. Very dominant in the 4×400, they should be in the driver’s seat there. Challenged by Moultonborough last year in the 4×100, who return everyone, Gilford will certainly be pressed. PCA missed out on the 4×800 D3 record by a mere 0.9 seconds, and if they choose to go after it, I can see Corso willing it to happen. If so, they might finish even more than the 40 seconds they were ahead of the second place team last year. Hopkinton could put together a team to go after it too based on the strength of the cross country season. Also, look for Newmarket, if they choose, to move up into the top three.
The team race projections based off last year’s championships have White Mountains winning with 54 points, Winnisquam second with 48, Kearsarge third with 46 points, InterLakes fourth with 45 points and Conant fifth with 40 points. White Mountains does a good job getting points from a variety of events where Winnisquam’s hopes rest heavily on Gabby Isabelle’s powerful shoulders. In the projection, Isabelle accounts for 34 of the 48 projected points. While Kearsarge looks solidly in third, most of their points are coming from Mya Dube (20) so she’s maxed out unless she competes in another event. InterLakes is a bit more well rounded, but will need a strong day from Emma Wheeler to get it done. Conant, a team determined to move up the rankings will need support for the Drew sisters if they look to contend for a top three spot.
With Hunter Dupuis graduated, opportunity exists in the sprint events. Top returners Gavyn Magistro of Kearsarge and Eli Dupigny of InterLakes (100,200) will have their hands full with Nas Davis of Berlin, Hunter Hinxman of Winnisquam and Sienna Shanelaris of InterLakes. Also look out for Newport’s Mason Martell if he chooses to take on the flat races as he’s the #2 high hurdler from indoor.
Thomas Howlett of Prospect Mountain is the returning champion in the 400 and was dominant in his win last year. However, his indoor campaign wasn’t without some snags, so we’ll have to see whether he’s on track to dominate once again this year. Harry Ryan of Monadnock, John Thibault of Trinity and Nolan Gagnon of Belmont will look to challenge. Ian Daly was last year’s dominant 800 meter runner but has now matriculated to UNH. Campbell’s Jeffrey Allen is the top returner and if he decides to run this event he is the front runner to win the title. Mascenic’s Dakota Somero is the next on the list, but with Lebanon and Trinity joining D3 expect a challenge at the top by Cody Davis and Alex Cermak. Allen’s team mate Luke Gomes, DQ’d but first in the 1000 this winter in indoor could prove to factor into the scoring as well.
Jeffrey Allen is back in the distance writeup as the two-time winner of the 1600. Last year electing to skip the 3200 for the 800, Allen is a treat in whatever event he chooses. However, Mascenic’s Landen Vaillancourt looks to be assuming the D3 distance throne Allen has occupied for the last few years and is looking to make his name this year in the 3200. It will be interesting to see these two race, and whether come the end of May, we see them challenging each other over the 1600 and 3200. Belmont’s Zach Ennis took a big step forward last year and look for him to be in the mix at 1600 along with Lebanon’s Davis. Trinity’s Danny Donovan, Fall Mountain’s George Gowdy, Mascenic’s Logan Thibault, Connor Traffie and Robert McLain and Kearsarge’s Trevor Pauling, Ben Boulton and Ed Stockwell should bulk out the 3200 ranks.
Don’t underestimate Mason Martell of Newport, mentioned earlier, at least in the 110 Hurdles. Other names to watch are Martell’s teammate Jagger Lovely, Kearsarge’s Ben Corbyn, Newfound’s Matt Libby and Raymond’s Nick Brazeau.
Jack Parker of White Mountains leads both the high jump and is the returning champ in the pole vault, with Newfound’s Reid Wilkins and Kearsarge’s Ben Corbyn chasing in him high jump. Parker’s biggest challenge in pole vault will likely newcomer to D3 in Lebanon’s Will Tanski. InterLake’s Eli Dupigny is the top returner in long jump by ten inches over Gilford’s Korey Weston. Teammate Owen Billin of InterLakes is the top seed and returning champion in the triple jump, leading White Mountain’s Kevin Schanlaber by over a foot.
Wilton’s Samuel Bailey leads all returners in both the shot and the disc. He is three feet clear of the field in the shot and seven feet in the disc. Newfound’s Mason Alphonse has a throw over 42 feet in the shot while Campbell’s Joshua Hoffman has a throw over 122 feet in discus. Gilford’s Weston leads the field in the javelin with a throw over 151 feet, more than 15 feet better than Bailey, White Mountain’s Zeke Pribbernow and Moultonborough’s Mark MacDonald.
Belmont won the 4×100 last year, capping off a strong senior campaign by Hunter Dupuis. Trinity won the 4×200 this winter and might be in the driver’s seat on this one, with Newport (2nd last year) chasing. InterLakes won the 4×400 last year with Ian Daly, as Belmont placed second and Campbell third. Campbell was the top D3 team at D2 indoors and could be the team to beat. The 4×800 can be difficult to predict based on what the team’s individuals might choose for events. Mascenic won last year, but could easily be challenged by Trinity, Lebanon or Campbell if any of these teams chose to double down.
On paper, White Mountains has a commanding lead over InterLakes, 54 to 36, but that’s dependent on big time performances from a handful of individuals. InterLakes is more well balanced, but chased closely by Newport. Kearsarge and Campbell are in the running as well, with just 4 points between what InterLakes is projected to take (36) and Campbell (32.) It will be interesting to see if Kearsarge can squeeze some more points out of their distance squad and if Campbell presses their super stud Allen into quadrupling up to try to make up those extra points, but your top three should come from these five schools.
Lebanon and Trinity drop down to D3 while Bow moves up to D2. The change in divisional status is mostly recognized in what is not happening in the boys competition rather than what is. On paper, Bow looked to contend for the boys title this year, ranked only three points behind White Mountains on the prediction. With them gone, it really opens up an opportunity for teams behind White Mountains as the Spartans were already maxing individuals out in points in some events. Lebanon and Trinity will lend some heft to the distance races as well, but the top of the girls rankings will likely hold pretty well.
Sisterhood: The Drew sisters of Conant, the Kjendal sisters of Portsmouth Christian, Fraser sisters of Gilford and the Stockwell sisters of Hopkinton. What could be better than competing at the SCs with your sibling?
Mya Dube/Liza Corso battles where ever they turn up. Two of the most courageous athletes I’ve seen in a long while, when these two athletes paths cross it should be good.
Jeffrey Allen/Landen Vaillancourt battles where ever they turn up. Vaillancourt took a big step up during last cross country season and Allen has been at the top of the D3 ranks since he was a ninth grader, like the Dube/Corso battles, when these two race it should be interesting as well.
Is there anything Tori Allen or Gabby Isabelle can’t do? Isabelle is projected to earn 34 of her teams 48 points and Tori Allen is good for 20 of her teams 36 points. These two are two iron women of the sport.